How to spring clean your finances

Spring is upon us, the weather has improved and lockdown rules have started easing. Many of us take this chance to start spring cleaning. Now is also a good time to tidy up your financial affairs for a better mindset and managing your money.

1. Set your financial goals – and commit to them

After you have outlined your short-term and long-term financial goals, set a limit as to how much money you need to put aside to achieve them. One of the most effective ways is budgeting. By tracking your spending and seeing how much you are saving, you will feel that you’re in better control of your money which will boost your confidence.

2. Review your budget

As mentioned in the previous point, budgeting is an effective way to track your spendings which would eventually help you reach your financial goals.

When doing a spring clean, go back to your budget and see what you are spending on. If there is any unnecessary spending such as subscriptions that you aren’t using or contracts which have ended, you can cancel these or look for better deals.

By budgeting consistently, you will be able to reach your financial goals more easily and reduce any financial stress.

3. Review your credit score

It’s important that you check your credit score on a regular basis. Having simple errors in your record can affect your ability to get a loan in the future.

You would need to check the following details:

  • Address details are up-to-date
  • You are on the electoral roll at your address
  • Your information about any existing accounts is accurate
  • You make payments on time.

There are various ways to check your credit score including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

You can find out more about credit scores here.

4. Clear any outstanding late payments

As mentioned earlier, late payments can affect your credit score therefore now is the time to catch up and clear any late payments.

Some examples of how you can save up to settle your debts including:

Sell any unwanted items that you have either online or in a car boot sale.
Avoid spending money unnecessarily by avoid impulse buying, for example.
Sign up for our payroll deduction scheme with your employer and start putting your money aside.

You can check our money-saving tips for more ways on how to save.

5. Plan for your financial future

If you enjoy gardening, you may know that you would need to plan and begin to plant your garden for the next year in the spring. Likewise, if you are thinking about buying a car, your first home, Christmas, a special occasion or planning a holiday, you would need to take the time to create a financial plan.

You can do so by taking the advantage of one of our savings accounts to suit your needs such as the Christmas Savings Account. Also, a quick win for saving is setting some money from your salary each month through our payroll deduction scheme.

 

How to register and book the new web app

With our new web app (Lace), you’ll be able to do the following on your mobile device:

  • Get your member account balances and details in real-time, 24/7
  • Apply online for a new loan
  • Check your loan, including the last payment date
  • Request statements
  • Make a share withdrawal
  • Update your personal details.

Our web app runs on IOS (Apple), Android and Windows mobile devices. Here is how to register and bookmark the web app on your mobile device.

Registering to use the web app

  1. From your smartphone or tablet, simply tap “New app” on our website. (Clicking the same option on a PC – a desktop or laptop – will take you to our members’ area, which is better suited to larger screens).
  2. The first time you visit the web app, you will need to tap “Register”, which you’ll find at the bottom of the welcome screen.
  3. Complete the single-screen registration form and tap “Register” again.

Once your registration request has been approved (during our office hours), you’re all set up to use the new web app.

Making it easy to use

  1. Register to use.
  2. Bookmark our app to create an easy-to-use icon on your mobile device’s home screen (see the “How to” section below).
  3. When your registration has been approved, the first time you log on, you’ll need to enter your member number together with additional security information.
  4. If you select “Remember me” then, on subsequent logins you will only need to enter characters from the passcode you created at registration.

How to bookmark on IOS (Apple devices)

  1. On your device, tap this link – it will take you to our web app.
  2. At the bottom of the screen (for iPad, top left) tap the “share” icon
  3. Find and select the option, “Add to Home Screen”.
  4. When prompted, name the icon “Hertsavers CU”.
  5. In the future, to access our web app, find and tap the icon “Hertsavers CU” on your phone or iPad’s home screen.

How to bookmark on Android devices

  1. On your device, tap this link  – it will take you to our web app.
  2. Press the menu button on your phone and click on “Add bookmark.”
  3. When prompted, name the icon “Hertsavers CU” and save the bookmark in the Home folder.
  4. Tap and hold on the bookmark icon on the top right.
  5. Scroll down the list of bookmarks – press and hold “Hertsavers CU”.
  6. Select the option to “Add shortcut to home.”
  7. In the future, to access our web app, find and tap the icon “Hertsavers CU” on your phone’s home screen.

If you have any issues, please contact us.

 

Lace is now live

We are excited to announce that our new web app, Lace, is now live.

Lace will help members stay up-to-date with their account information and transfer funds on the go.

Members will be able to do the following:

  • Get their member account balances and details in real-time, 24/7
  • Apply online for a new loan
  • Check their loan, including the last payment date
  • Request statements
  • Make a share withdrawal
  • Update their personal details.

The app will be available on all mobile devices as well as desktops.

To learn how to register to use the web app and bookmarking the app on a mobile device, get the details here.

Why can’t this web app be found in the App or Play Store?

Our new web app is an example of a new generation of apps that is different from native apps, which are traditionally found on Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.

We decided to provide a secure web app, which runs in your device’s browser. Simply bookmark it to add its icon to your smartphone desktop.

With this new web app, you will always be running the most up-to-date software so there won’t be any faff of updating or downloading the latest version.

Hertsavers Credit Union celebrates World Earth Day

World Earth Day is celebrated every year on 22 April. It’s a day dedicated to educating communities about the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.

At Hertsavers, we pledge to do our bit for the Earth by making adaptations that are more environmentally friendly.

Going paperless
We recently switched from asking our members to send their paperwork by post to requesting them to complete an online form through our new web app.

Online banking
We encourage members to sign up for online banking. This has dramatically reduced the amount of paper thus protecting our trees and the environment in the long term.

Affordable loans
We encourage people to make their home more energy-efficient and use alternative means of transport to reduce the carbon footprint. It’s never been easier to make these switches than by borrowing one of our affordable loans at fair rates. Such loans include the homeowner loan and transport loan.

We hope to continue making changes that are good for the Earth so watch this space.

Happy Earth Day!

Hertsavers Annual General Meeting 2021

We will be holding our next Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 March 2021 at 6.30 p.m. via Zoom.

The Agenda is below and the Minutes of the last AGM can be viewed here.

Agenda

1. Welcome
2. Apologies for absence and confirmation of quorum
3. Minutes and Matters Arising from the AGM on 28 March 2019
4. Board of Directors report
5. Auditors Report
6. Dividend Recommendation
7. Appointment of Auditor
8. Nomination of Directors and election to Board
9. Any Other Business

To get the meeting link, please email us and we will send it to you.


Nominations open for Directors at Hertsavers Credit Union

We are recruiting for Directors to join our board. All appointments to the Board will be approved by members at the 2021 AGM.

To apply, please email us at office@hertsavers.co.uk with the subject line “Board Director for Hertsavers Credit Union 2021”, with a cover note about why you would like to become a director and a CV with your background and experience.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Money mantras from mums to parents

As a parent, sometimes it’s difficult to get your family’s financial head above the water especially with the constant demands from children and with the rising costs of living.

For your mental wellbeing, here are some money mantras to fall back on, and which you can share with your children to prevent them from becoming anxious about money.

1. See the smaller details – that’s what matters

The cliche of seeing the bigger picture is easy to say than do especially if you are struggling to make ends meet.

Instead, think of the small, quick wins that will help you such as the small payments that you can make and the small areas that you can cut back on in your budget.

Sometimes seeing the smaller picture is more helpful.

2. I will control what I can

This mantra helps you to focus on areas that you can proactively manage and prioritise the more important things that need to be done. This is useful especially when you are budgeting.

For example, you can control how much you pay for your energy bills by shopping around for a good deal. However, you can’t control how much tax you need to pay so you can put aside a contingency fund incase your bills are higher than expected.

3. Think of the future first

It’s easy to procrastinate and say that you will do something tomorrow. However sometimes this doesn’t work as you may end up spending more on something due to high interest rates, for example.

If you can make a payment today, do it. Don’t opt for the “buy now pay later” deals. Always read the small print.

Also, don’t borrow from one credit card to pay off another.

Think of your choices. If you are struggling financially, you can always contact us and we can help you come up with a solution.

4. Let’s put it on the list

If there is something that you have been thinking of getting and you can’t afford it at the time, add it to your wishlist. When the time is right, review your wishlist and see if you still need it. Perhaps it was going to be an impulse purchase or you managed to get an alternative.

This would also apply if your child asks you to get something for them especially if it’s a trendy item. Instead of saying “No, I can’t afford that right now!” You can say “Let’s put it on the list and we can look at it at a later date.” They may forget that they had requested this and you may save up for something that they really need.

5. Let’s look for an alternative

Here are a couple of examples:

If you are on a budget and would like to do something with your children, ask them to help you make a decision “Why don’t you help dad and I come up with some fun and free activities that we can do together this weekend.”

Also, if a recipe calls for an ingredient that is pricey, look for an alternative when you go shopping.

We hope that the above money mantras help you with managing your money. If you ever need to talk to us if you are struggling financially or just need help with planning your finances, please do get in touch.

Hertsavers supports International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 08 March. It’s an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements, remember their struggles and acknowledge how they have been an inspiration in leading movements globally.

Unlike any other year, the Covid-19 crisis has greatly impacted women’s role in the community, especially in their workplaces. Many have had to take a step-down from their roles to accommodate time to their families; go from working full-time to part-time, or even leave the workforce altogether.

Following this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, #choosetochallenge, Hertsavers Credit Union chooses to call out any gender inequalities whether it’s in the workplace, family or local community. We want to help women get back on their feet financially by encouraging them to talk about money with their family, employers, and friends. We also want them to give them the confidence to make sound decisions and express themselves in their professional and personal lives.

We want them to know that we as a credit union is here to support them when times are tough.

In addition to this, we are committed to contributing to creating a fairer society through our ethical and affordable loans such as the Child Benefits loan as well as cultivating a savings culture through changing everyone’s money habits.

We believe that individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. Together, we can help in creating a more inclusive world by calling out inequality.

We’re in! Will you #ChooseToChallenge?

Become a workplace champion

We are looking to recruit Workplace Champions in all the companies where we have Payroll Savings Schemes.

Our Champions will be the first to know about new offers and changes to our products and services. What’s more, when the referral 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. Terms and conditions apply.

We want to improve communications with our members, and we see establishing a network of Workplace Champions to do that.

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

A checklist on how to save money on your energy bills

A checklist on how to save money on your energy bills

With the recent announcement of the energy prices rising by up to £96, here is a checklist of what you can do to use energy efficiently. This will save you some money and help the environment at the same time.

1. Turn off the lights

If you are about to leave a room and there is nobody else there, turn off the lights.

2. Use energy-saving light bulbs

You can easily cut energy bills by replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones. Over it’s lifetime, you could easily cut £180 from your energy bills (which.co.uk).

3. Shut off computers and entertainment devices when not in use.

According to Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £35 a year if you switch off your devices rather than leaving them on standby.

4. Go natural

Where possible, use natural light, heat and cooling. For example, instead of using a tumble dryer, dry your laundry outside on a hot summer’s day or on a clothes rack on a cold winter’s day.

5. Make home improvements

This can be through:
Home insulation (save up to £315)
Installing a new boiler (save around £205 a year)
Cutting draughts (save approx. £20)
Install and use heating controls (save £75)

Estimated costs from which.co.uk

6. Replacing an appliance? Choose energy-efficient appliances (save £213)

Look at energy-efficient ratings to show how efficient a product is. Lab tests done by Which? show that you could save £48 on a washing machine and £69 on a fridge-freezer.

7. Make switches:

We don’t mean light switches here. We mean:

a) Switch suppliers if you haven’t done so in a while. You should always look around for better deals. You could save up to £350. (moneyexpert.com)

b) Switch to Direct Debit

By paying your energy bills through direct debit, you spread the energy costs over the year. This way you will avoid the shock of a winter bill and you could save up to £100 a year as it reduces admin costs. (moneyexpert.com)

You can get detailed information on the above tips on the following websites:

Moneyexpert.com 

Which?

 

 

Five ways to get into the habit of saving money

Some habits are easy to form and can occur automatically without you thinking about them. Some of these are nail-biting; binge-watching TV; or unhealthy eating. Unfortunately, saving money is not a natural habit. Saving money is one of those things that is “easier said than done.” However, we have a few ideas to help you get into the habit of saving money.

1. Set a goal of how much you would like to save by the end of the year. You can use SMART to make your goal.

Specific: Determine how much you would like to save by the end of the year. If you haven’t saved before, start with a small amount.

Measurable: Think about how much you need to save each month to reach your target amount.

Actions: How will you save money each month? Visit our News section to get some hints and tips on saving money, or maybe you can join the Payroll Deduction Scheme (more on this in idea 3).

Realistic: Set a target amount that you can achieve. You can’t say that you will save a million pounds if you have never saved before. If you start by saving as little as £1,200 a year, that’s more realistic. Create milestones and give yourself a little reward for reaching them. This will motivate you to continue saving.

Timely: Think about when you want to achieve your target amount – is it by the end of the year or Christmas?

2. Open a savings account
At Hertsavers, we have a wide range of savings accounts that you can open, whatever the occasion. You can find out more here.

3. Pay yourself first

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to start saving money is “paying yourself first”? You can do this by paying yourself each month through a Payroll Deduction Scheme.

This way you are automatically saving money even without thinking about it.

Find out more about our Payroll Deduction Scheme here.

4. Create a budget for how you will save money rather than spending money. This way, you will know how you would need to put aside to start saving. The Money Skills App has a good tool to help you. Learn more.

5. Are you about to buy something?

Especially if it’s an impulse purchase, simply think of it the following questions:

  • “Do I need, do I REALLY need it?”
  • “How many hours would I need to work to afford this purchase?”

Remember: Be a mindful consumer rather than a mindless one. By thinking about what you are about to spend (and if it’s worth it) is more step towards your habit of saving.

We wish you all the best with your habit of saving. Remember, you can always get in touch with us if you need help with saving your money.