Individuals and families may sometimes feel that the amount of income left after paying for essential items is ever decreasing. However, this may not mean unnecessary stress and debt. If you find that you need a loan, whatever the amount, turn to your local Credit Union, as an alternative to other sources of loans. These other sources frequently have exorbitantly high interest rates. Whatever your circumstances, we hope that by encouraging you to look at your finances honestly it will help you to highlight where your money is going and start you on the first steps of budgeting and managing your money more effectively.
Budgeting is the key. While most of us find budgeting boring it is absolutely essential – a budget is a plan of money you expect to receive and how you expect to spend it.A budget is important because it will show you:
- How much money is coming into your household
- How much money is going out
- How you can best plan your spending in the future
The Credit Union Top Golden Tips for Managing Your Money this year are:
Plan ahead: Don’t leave your budgeting until the last minute, plan ahead and identify shortfalls before they occur. This will enable you to apply for credit in good time or make cutbacks in your spending to ensure your income covers your outgoings.
Track: Keep track of your spending. Keep your receipts or take note of what you spend your money on. It will help you understand where your money is going and it might just be an eye opener.
Save: Get into the habit of saving. Try to save at least 5% of your regular income for emergencies E.g. Christmas or holidays.
Be Prudent: Shop around and look for the best deals and use comparison websites to compare products/services, ensuring that you get the best deal and value for money.
Borrowing: There are times in our lives when we run short of funds. If you have to take out a loan, be sure you only borrow what you can comfortably afford to repay. You should match the repayment term to the purpose of the loan i.e. don’t make the mistake of paying off Christmas over a number of years. Credit Unions offer attractive interest rates and flexible repayment plans for loans as well as charging no hidden fees, which is not always the case with banks.