Christmas opening hours and application deadlines

The office will be closed from midday on 24 December 2021 until Tuesday 04 January 2022.

As usual essential systems maintenance will take place on 29, 30 and 31 December 2021 and the office will be closed.

Child Benefit Payments will resume on Tuesday 04 January 2022.

To guarantee loans for Christmas the application and any supporting documents must be in by 14 December 2021.

The last day payments will be processed is Christmas Eve (24 December 2021) and any requests for share withdrawals or any loan agreements need to be in no later than 9 a.m. Christmas Eve to guarantee payment, any that come in after this time will be processed on 04 January 2022.

Are you ready for Christmas?

Christmas is less than a month away and many of us will be splurging on Christmas presents and preparing for Christmas get-togethers. It can get quite stressful especially if you are on a budget or working right up to Christmas Eve.

We have put some tips for you on how you can plan ahead to save all the stress that comes with getting ready for Christmas.

1. Get ahead in planning and preparing

To make sure that you don’t overspend at Christmas is to make sure that you plan properly.

Make a budget to work out how much you are willing to spend at Christmas and use lists and planners to keep track of what you are spending on. Your budget should be realistic and keep some money aside in case of emergencies.

Make lists of who you are buying presents for, a food and drinks list and everything that you are planning on doing during the Christmas break.

2. Small cuts, big savings

Once you have your budget and lists, you can shop around for deals so you can start saving.

Also, if you have a shortfall on your budget, see what you can cut out from your regular habits. For example, rather than buying lunch at work, make some at home and take it with you.

3. Save on presents

It can get quite stressful to splash out on presents. Here are some ideas on reducing the cost of Christmas presents:

  • Limit present buying

Apart from buying presents for those closest to you, re-think who you are getting a present for.

If you want to really cut costs on spending, maybe it’s worth having a discussion to put a hold on giving presents. You might be pleasantly surprised to see how many would be willing to let the gift-giving go.

  • Secret Santa with a limit of £5 or £10

If you have a big group of friends or colleagues, Secret Santa is a good way to cut down the Christmas present costs.

All of the names of the people involved are put into a hat, and each person draws out a name. You only buy for the name that you have picked, rather than having to buy for everyone.

Add in a low budget limit, say £5 or £10, and it’s a great way to keep the cost of Christmas down.

You can even use an online Secret Santa generator such as Elfster or Drawnames to make it even easier to set up a Secret Santa.

  • Make your own gifts

You can make some delicious sweet treats such as cookies, jams, curds or muffins.

If you don’t have time to make homemade treats, you can make your own gift vouchers where you can pledge to do something such as make a meal, do their laundry for them, babysit for your friends or mow their lawn.

  • Buy a combined gift

If you are buying a combined gift, you could do a hamper for the family such as a family movie night, basketful of homemade goodies or something useful that they could use as a family.

  • Get Christmas Crafty

Make your own cards and gifts. You can also get the children involved in making these.

4. Get cashback and boost your budget

There are cashback websites such as TopCashBack and Quidco that can help you add extra pounds back to your account (and Christmas budget) when you shop online through their websites.

Remember to always shop around for the best offers and check prices.

5. Save on food

Food does play an important part in any celebration and could be the biggest part of your Christmas budget.

To cut costs on Christmas food:

  • Limit food waste by only buying what you need or thinking of other recipes that you can have for leftovers.
  • Plan the menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

By meal planning, you can write out your shopping list and help you with food budgeting. This will also help you keep control of your Christmas spending.

  • Find deals on wine and bubble online

Some supermarkets start their deals in early November so keep your eyes peeled for pre-Christmas deals.

Check out wine sites to make sure that you are getting the best value for money.

  • Buy own-brand products

Quite often than not, the own-brand products are just as good (if not better) than the branded products. Therefore it’s worth trying out the cheaper alternatives and you may be pleasantly surprised.

However some products such as Christmas turkey, it’s worth spending a little extra to make sure that you have a high-quality product.

6. Advance bookings on travel

If you will be visiting your loved ones by train, it’s worth buying train tickets in advance. They are usually available around 12 weeks before the date of travel and the price is usually lowest soon after they are released.

7. Post early for Christmas

Be on the lookout for the last posting dates https://www.royalmail.com/christmas/last-posting-dates on the Royal Mail website.

By posting early, you may be able to use second class post rather than first-class stamps. This way you will be able to take advantage of slower, and cheaper parcel services.

8. Cut delivery costs

Rather than using the Post Office to send your heavy parcels, look for alternatives which may give you a better deal. For example, take a look at Hermes.

9. Prepare for next Christmas

  • Start saving early to spread the cost

You can open a Christmas Savings Account to help you start saving for next Christmas. You can withdraw your savings at the end of November of the next year. To open your Christmas Savings Account, simply email us.

  • Take advantage of end-of-sale bargains

Stock up on decorations, Christmas trees, cards, gifts and wrapping paper in the January sales.

Don’t forget to put them in a ‘Christmas box’ so that you don’t buy more later on.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report

What is a Social Impact Report?

A social impact report is used as a communication tool to measure how we, as a credit union, is performing and use it to relate to the overall change brought about to people’s lives and the environment over the past two years.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report – the results

Our research team conducted a members’ survey and face-to-face interviews.  The results contributed to our social impact report.

Some of the findings were as follows:

  • 70% of members said that they improved their savings after joining Hertsavers Credit Union
  • 44% of the respondents to the online questionnaire have responded that their finances have been affected by the pandemic
  • 50% of the members who responded to the questionnaire have claimed that Hertsavers helped them to manage their finances during the pandemic
  • 71% of the benefit are amongst people with at least one child under 18
  • 20% of lone parents with dependent children are in arrears on one or more household bills compared to 7% of couples with dependent children

When it came to having an impact on members’ health and wellbeing, here’s how Hertsavers has had a positive impact on our members’ lives, reducing financial distress and increasing the overall wellbeing:

“Hertsavers gives me peace of mind in knowing I have a safety net in case of an emergency.”

“I was able to save for the first time, I am no more worried about high-interest rates on loans compared to loans taken out in the past from other lenders. It has reduced money worries overall.”

“I was, within a short period, more in control of my finances. At the time I was a single parent of three. This stopped me from getting into debt and encouraged me to save. Although I am financially secure now, it helped me through a difficult time.”

You can read the full report on our here.

How to stay positive at work to improve productivity

According to the author, Caleb Papineau (2017), he said that statistically happy people are 31% more productive and three times more creative than unhappy people. He also said that happiness can improve the profitability of a business by 147%. Source.

What is productivity?

The dictionary defines productivity as:

“The quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services: The productivity of the group’s effort surprised everyone.”

In summary, productivity is a way to measure efficiency and has become an important topic which people want to become better at. It’s what you want to do with less time and effort and get better results.

However, it’s an attitude as well that can help determine how productive you are. To be more productive, you need to make sure that you have a positive attitude. By having a positive attitude:

  • People will want to help you more. No one likes a miserable person and they tend to stay away from them. Instead, if you are smiling and keep your head high even in difficult times, people will want to come to your aid.
  • You will stop wasting time complaining because you are putting positive enegery to improve the situation by finding solutions to make it work better.
  • You will be able to work better as a team beause positive attitude is contagious and brings people together.
  • Solves problems instead of making problems – be postive in a difficult situation and you will see how things work out in a good way
  • You will be able to make good decisions as you will have a clearer mind with a positive attitude.

Here are some ways that you can stay positive at work to help maintain a positive attitude which in turn brings about good productivity:

1. Always keep learning

By learning on the job, you will be able to keep up-to-date with your skills and learn new things to help build your CV. If you don’t get a chance to physically take a class, you can ask your co-workers or managers for job shadowing experience or secondment, where possible.

2. Teach others what you know

From the previous point, you want to accompany others to learn something new. Why not teach others what you know? This will help you in the long run especially when you have a lot to be done where you can delegate your tasks to someone who knows how to do them. AS the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

3. Have a break

You can’t work a full eight hours without taking a break – you will burnout! You will lose focus and motivation. Take some time to go for a walk (good exercise plus boosts your mood), meditate, eat something or catch up with a colleague. You will have an instant boost to get back to work.

4. Leave work at work

If you didn’t complete a task, don’t bring it home. Make it a priority for the next morning unless it’s extremely urgent. When you get home, spend time with your family, friends, your hobbies and look after yourself.

5. Build positive relationships with your co-workers

By having a fun and comfortable environment, be friendly with your co-workers so that you feel more supported in your work duties and can also help you release stress.

6. Set goals and reward your accomplishments

By setting yourself realistic work goals, you will be motivated to do more work that is productive. When you do achieve them, you can reward yourself by having a treat (maybe buying that coffee and cake from the coffee shop) or enjoying a movie that you’ve been longing to watch. However small your accomplishment, be proud of yourself.

7. Prioritise your tasks for better productivity

Multitasking can actually hinder productivity and you may end up doing a shoddy job. By listing out all the tasks that you have to do and prioritising what needs to be done, you will be able to do stay focused and motivated. This will give you better results and perhaps recognition from your colleagues.

8. Get a side project

If you want to learn something new; enhance on what you already know or want to focus on hobbies that you can’t do at work, having a side project can help you feel more positive, happy and productive (plus you’ll have something to do at the weekend). If you are really good at it, why not make some money for extra income?

9. Stop worrying about finances

By putting some money aside every month, you will be able to ease some of the financial stress that can cause negativity and affect your mental health. You can do this by setting up a payroll deduction with our scheme. It’s simple to set up and it’s automated so you don’t have to worry about physically saving the money as it’s already done for you. You can find out more about the Hertsavers Payroll Deduction Scheme here.

Back to School money-saving tips

From a survey that was done by Idealo, 52% of parents that were surveyed said that the back-to-school season put a financial strain on their family.

Whether it’s replacing your child’s school uniform, restocking stationery supplies, getting devices to support their education or organising school trips and more, back-to-school can be difficult. Therefore we have put together some tips on how you can save money for the new school year or term.

Do a stock-take and make a list

First things first, take a look at what you already have before making a list of everything that you need to buy. For instance, check whether your child’s shoes and uniform are fitting before going out to buy them. If you need them, add them to the list. This would apply to stationery and any other items.

Do your research and set a budget

Make a budget of how much you are intending to spend on all the school items. You should do your research to see what the prices are of various items (plus see if there is a sale). Don’t just go with the first deal that you see as it may blow your budget. If you think you are going to go over your budget, make a priority list.

Affordable alternatives

Find out if there is a school uniform policy. Do you need to buy from the school shop or can you get the basics from a regular shop? Also, see if there is a second-hand shop where you can find barley-worn pieces for a bargain. Also while shopping for uniforms, look for crease-free fabrics to save you ironing on a Sunday afternoon.

Plan ahead for additional costs

For instance, find out from your child’s school if there will be any upcoming school trips and the costs involved. This way, you will be able to add it to the budget and plan for the year ahead by putting some money aside each month for the expenses.

Meal planning

Ok, this is not for the actual back-to-school season but also applies for the school year as well. Plan ahead on what you will be making that week which can also be taken for lunch the next day. This way you will be saving money by avoiding takeaways and also less stressful when you are thinking of what to make for the children when they come home from school. By getting the children involved, you will have happy children, you can shop for your need, save time and also reduce food waste.

Label your children’s items

With school uniforms, every child’s items look the same and they may come home with the wrong shoes or cardigan, for example. By labelling ALL their items, your child will be able to find their missing items quicker and you will be less stressed about replacing items that are lost, especially if they are expensive.

Encourage your children to make their school supplies last

New lunchboxes, school bags and stationery can be quite expensive especially if you have to replace them every term or start of the school year. Encourage your children to look after their items by ensuring that they bring them home from school (for starters), keeping their property clean and in good condition. This will show your children how to be responsible and also encourages the habit of saving instead of spending.

You can even ask them to contribute towards the items to show them the value of money.

If you need help with the back-to-school finances, you can take advantage of our Child Benefit Loan. You can find out more here.

How to do a financial health check to improve your financial wellbeing

Did you know that 48% of adults admit that they feel stressed or overwhelmed about their financial situation at times?

Similar to a dental check-up or a medical check-up, a financial health check is important as it helps evaluate how you are managing your money.

Previously, this would be done with a financial professional however nowadays, there are several tools available online. For example the financial health check tool by the Money Advice Service.

Why should I take a financial health check?

It gives you a clear picture of where you are at with your finances.

By understanding your financial position, you will be able to find ways of improving your financial health. This in turn will help with your overall well-being.

Here is how you can conduct an effective financial check-up:

1. Identify your financial goals.

Whether these are long-term or short-term goals, creating specific goals is the first step to perform a thorough financial health check. You can use online tools to help you such as the MoneySkills App.

2. Understand where you currently are with your finances.

This means laying down all your expenses, debts and incomes to help you understand where you are and what areas of your finances need the most attention. This will then help you prioritise what you need to do. By understanding where you are with your finances and making any necessary changes can help you reach your financial goals.

3. Track how much you are spending.

This is an important exercise for your financial checkup as it means tracking what your expenses and daily transactions look like. If you haven’t already got a tracker, you can create a spending journal to see where your money is going.

This will help you see how EXACTLY you are spending your money and make you be more conscious of how much is going out from your bank account.

Tracking also helps with cutting your budget.

4. REVIEW your budget.

If you already have a budget, this is your chance to review it and make adjustments. However, if you haven’t got one, you can create one. Here is an online tool to help you.

5. Review your savings for the long term.

Make sure that you start saving for a rainy day. This will help in case there are any unplanned occurrences such as you lose your job; bills are unexpectedly high.

By setting goals of how much you will save each month can help you in case an emergency does happen. You can then use this instead of getting into debt.

One of the ways that you can start saving immediately is by setting up a payroll deduction scheme with your workplace.

6. Check your credit score.

By doing this, you will be able to know what your creditworthiness is. You can use credit score reporting websites to find out.

7. Get accountable.

Share your goals with an accountable partner or partners who are either on the same journey as you or have already accomplished what you are trying to achieve.

By doing this, you will be motivated to keep going and stay on track.

TIP: To ensure that you conduct a financial health check, set reminders on your calendar so that you can review your finances on certain dates. Also, if something in your life changes such as a change of jobs (and salary); a new debt, you would need to do a financial review. By staying on top of your money will help you with your financial well-being.

 

How to teach children develop good money habits

In a recent newsletter competition, we had asked our members “What advice would you give to your younger self?” Our winner, Leah, said, “I would tell my younger self that although having fun is the best thing to do, while you are young and able. Rainy days will always happen when you’re least expecting. A few pounds a month adds up over the year. Don’t be afraid to say you can’t afford something! Be proud that you are saving for your future and not being frivolous for today.”

This has been quite valuable advice as it makes people aware that they need to save for a rainy day and be assertive if they can’t afford something.

By teaching children at a young age about good money habits, they will always be grateful that you taught them how to be responsible with money, a valuable life lesson.

Here are some ways that you can teach them how to develop good money habits:

Be a good role model by being responsible with your own finances

Children observe and emulate what the grown-ups around them are doing. Showing your children that you have set financial goals, created a budget, made a shopping list (and sticking to it) and finding ways to save money will have an automatic positive impact on how they perceive your attitude towards money.

Go back to basics with cash

Earning pocket money is still common where children get paid for completing chores or for rewarding good behaviour.

By showing your children the value of money, they will appreciate it and make them feel grown-up.

Also, take them shopping when you go so that they can see how a shopping list works and what the receipt looks like in the end. This will show them the importance of a shopping list and budgeting.

Open a Junior Savings Account

By getting them a Junior Savings Account, you can show them how their savings are growing. This would also be a good time to start talking to them about what they would like to do with their money in terms of future planning. This will instil a good saving habit that will stay with them into adulthood.

The concept of spend, save, give

If you are rewarding children with pocket money, show them the concept of spend, save and give.

How the concept works

Divide the money into three portions as follows:

  1. Spend – agree with your child as to how much they will spend on something of their choice.
  2. Save – the second portion is saved for a goal that your child trying to meet or for long-term saving which you may have put into the Junior Savings Account.
  3. Give – encourage them to use of their money to help others. For example, you can give some money towards a charity of your choice or through awareness days and events that they come across such as Red Nose Day. This is a good opportunity for you to talk to them about donations.

Controlling spending

Give your child the independence to make decisions as to how they will spend their money.

You can give older children pre-paid debit cards so pocket money can be paid straight from your bank account to theirs. You can control their spending limits and see how much they are spending and what they can buy.

While you do this, you can talk to them about setting a budget and make them aware of their spending/how much is left in the account. This will teach them how to be cautious when spending and track their spendings.

Staying safe

Teach them that they need to protect their personal information as much as spending and saving.

Ensure that their identities are protected online by keeping an eye on their social media accounts and making sure that they know the dangers of sharing any personal information on any digital communication channels.

Also, let them know about scams both offline and online. For example, that they shouldn’t share passwords or account details if somebody asks them.

 

Hertsavers referral schemes

As we rely on the support of the local community to strengthen the credit union, we are on the mission to grow our credit union. Therefore, we have the following referral schemes in place. The only criteria is that your referee needs to be working or living in Hertfordshire.

Child Benefit referral scheme:

Members that refer a new member to Hertsavers for a Child Benefit Loan can now claim a £50 referral bonus for themselves and the new member, who will also receive a £50 bonus. You can find out more here.

Workplace champions

If you already have a payroll savings scheme set up at your workplace, you can become a workplace champion. If your referee takes an introductory loan of up to £2000, which is payable over three years, the Champion and their referral will both receive an additional £100 to their account. Find out more.

Why should your referee join the Hertsavers Credit Union?

1. We are a not-for-profit so your money is safe.
2. We have low interest rates therefore when you borrow a loan, you are also saving money.
3. All savings up to £85,000 per member are guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report – research

We are currently conducting a survey across all our members to understand how joining our Credit Union has impacted their lives and the overall satisfaction of our members.

What is a Social Impact Report?

A social impact report is used as a communication tool to measure how we, as a credit union, is performing and use it to relate to the overall change brought about to people’s lives and the environment over the past two years.

How will be undertaking the research?

We will be conducting a members’ survey over the next couple of months to get our members’ feedback, thoughts and stories. This will be sent out to all members who have opted in to receiving information via email. If you would like to receive a copy of the members’ survey and you aren’t on our mailing list, please contact office@hertsavers.co.uk with the subject line ‘Members Survey’. All the participants who complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw* where two lucky winners will receive £50 into their Hertsavers Savings Account. *Terms and Conditions apply.

We will also be holding virtual face-to-face interviews with some of our members as well as our payroll partners. If you would like to get involved, please register your interest here. All the participants will receive £20 into their Hertsavers Savings Account. Terms and Conditions apply. Further details will be released closer to the time.

As a thank-you, all the participants of the survey will be the first to receive the Social Impact Report.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE PRIZE DRAW

Please read the full terms and conditions below to enter the Hertsavers Credit Union Members Survey 2021 PrizeDraw.

Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

1. By entering the Prize Draw you are agreeing to these Prize Draw terms and conditions.
2. The Prize Draw is being run by Hertsavers Credit Union.

Eligibility to enter

3. The Prize Draw is open to Hertsavers Credit Union members only and entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
4. Employees and board members of Hertsavers Credit Union and its subsidiaries including Employees and board members of Credit Union Solutions (CUS), along with their families and members of their households, are not eligible to enter.
5. In entering the Prize Draw, you confirm that you are eligible to do so and eligible to claim any prize you may win.
6. A maximum of one entry per individual is permitted.
7. The Prize Draw is free to enter.

How to enter

8. Your name and contact details are required for us to notify the winners.
9. By entering the Prize Draw Hertsavers Credit Union cannot guarantee that your survey response will remain anonymous.
10. Prize Draw entries will be accepted up to Midday on 18 July 2021. Entries after that time and date will not be included in the draw.
11. To enter the Prize Draw simply complete and submit the Hertsavers Credit Union Members Survey 2021.
12. Hertsavers Credit Union will not accept responsibility if contact details provided are incomplete or inaccurate.
13. Hertsavers Credit Union holds the right to disqualify entries that demonstrate a lack of consideration to the main survey, including incomplete or incomprehensible answers.

The prize

14. The prize will be £50 in the member’s Hertsavers Savings Account.
15. Two winners will be drawn at random.
16. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be offered.
17. Hertsavers Credit Union reserve the right to substitute prizes with another prize of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to do so.
18. The decision of Hertsavers Credit Union regarding any aspect of the Prize Draw is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into about it.

Winner announcement

19. Winners will be notified after 15 September 2021 via the contact details (email or phone) provided in their Members Survey response.
20. Hertsavers Credit Union will attempt to contact the winners by email up to two times.
21. If either winner does not respond to the emails notifying them of their win within 14 days of the second email, they will lose their right to the prize, and Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to choose and notify a new winner drawn at random.

Receipt of the prize

22. Please allow 30 days for delivery of the prize into the Savings Account.

Data protection and publicity

23. You consent to any personal information you provide in entering the Prize Draw being used by Hertsavers Credit Union to administer the Prize Draw, and only for those purposes as defined within our privacy notice.
24. All entrants may apply for details of the winning participants by contacting us at office@hertsavers.co.uk.
25. The winners agree to release their first name to any other Prize Draw participants if requested via Hertsavers Credit Union.
26. An announcement of the winners’ first names will be made via Hertsavers Credit Union members eNewsletter.
27. All personal information shall be used in accordance with Hertsavers Credit Union’s Privacy Notice.

Limitation of Liability

28. Hertsavers Credit Union does not accept any liability for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrants as a result of either participating in the Prize Draw or being selected for a prize.

General
29. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to cancel the Prize Draw or amend these terms and conditions at any time, without prior notice.
30. The Prize Draw and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE VIRTUAL FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEWS

1. The interviews are being conducted by Hertsavers Credit Union for the social impact report.
2. The reward will be £20 into the member’s Hertsavers Savings Account.
3. To get the £20, the interviewee needs to be available and participate in the full interview.
4. Interviewee needs to be a current member of Hertsavers Credit Union.
5. The interviews will be conducted over Zoom, Google Meet or Teams and will be recorded for the purpose of the research only.
6. Your name and membership number is required so that we can add the token into your Hertsavers savings account.
7. The token is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be offered.
8. Please allow 14 days for delivery of the token into the Savings Account.
9. Employees and board members of Hertsavers Credit Union and its subsidiaries including Employees and board members of Credit Union Solutions (CUS), along with their families and members of their households, are not eligible to be interviewed.
10. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to substitute rewards with another reward of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to do so.
11. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to cancel the interview session and rewards or amend these terms and conditions at any time, without prior notice.
12. These terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
13. All personal information shall be used in accordance with Hertsavers Credit Union’s Privacy Notice.

 

 

 

Become a workplace champion today

Who is a Workplace Champion?

This is someone who is dedicated to improving at a certain area of within an organisation. They are highly motivated to share their enthusiasm and engage their
community.

We are looking for members, who are part of our Payroll Deduction Scheme with one of our partners, to refer our Payroll Deduction Scheme to their colleagues. By referring your colleagues, you will indirectly help them reduce their money worries and show them how to get into the habit of saving.

As a thank-you, you (the Champion) and your referee will both receive an additional £100 to their account when they take an introductory loan of up to £2000. Terms and conditions apply.

Interested members should contact graham@cus.coop providing their own contact details and their work location.

Together, we can take the money out of worry and create a more productive workplace for everyone.