Saving money might seem like an impossible dream if you are living on a tight budget, but it is an important part of managing your money effectively.
You don’t have to be saving huge amounts of money for it to make a positive impact on your finances – a little each month can add up.
Set up your budget to include putting an affordable amount of money aside each month. Don’t try to save more than you can afford and remember that something is always better than nothing.
You should think about the unexpected costs that may arise in your life and plan for these as best as you can.
If you own a car, your emergency pot of funds should be enough to help if something goes wrong. Plan ahead for your MOT and put money aside each month to pay for your road tax or car insurance. If you own your home or rent an unfurnished property you will most likely be responsible for your cooker, washing machine, fridge etc. Most homes would not be able to cope without these and an emergency fund is an ideal way to be prepared.
Insurance is an important way to be prepared for emergencies, particularly for your home. Even if you are renting a furnished property, insurance for your contents is still recommended.
Try to set a small amount of your income aside as soon as you get it. If you keep a close eye on your bank account and think you might be about to go over your balance, you can then transfer some of those savings in to your account to avoid being charged interest on your overdraft, or other charges from your bank for spending money you don’t have.
If you manage to get through the month without needing to use the money you set aside, forget about it and do the same with your next monthly income. You will soon be building a steady pot of emergency funds to be used whenever you need it.
It is always tempting to buy what you want, when you want it. However, if you don’t have the money available, using credit cards or other types of borrowing is not the solution.
Buying with money you have saved means that you don’t have to repay on a monthly basis. It also gives you time to carefully consider your purchase and/or to wait for the price to reduce.
We all know how annoying it can be to have heavy pockets full of coins. Grab a jar, old bottle or piggy bank and start saving. You'll be surprised at how quickly it can add up.
Most local supermarkets have a machine that counts your change for a small fee and turns it into vouchers to use in that supermarket.
If your budget allows, try to empty your pockets every evening and put everything except £1 and £2 coins in your change jar.
This is when debit card purchases are rounded to the nearest pound by your bank and the difference automatically gets paid into a nominated savings account (participating banks only).
A credit union is a mutual organisation. This means that it is owned by its members, who reap the benefits of the business and keep the money in the local community. Essentially, it is a community based savings and loans provider.
If you like the idea of supporting your local community rather than seeing profits passed on to a bank’s shareholders, credit unions are something you should seriously consider.
Without the pressure of making profits, many credit unions are able to provide competitive financial services to local people who may not be eligible to borrow from banks and who may have needed to resort to very expensive payday lenders.
We have a number of students who use credit unions to top up their student support. By saving a little each month, they can then access an affordable loan to help bridge the gap in the summer months when student support payments are not made. When the next year comes, that loan can then be repaid in manageable instalments.
Credit unions are just as accessible as banks and often you can join online as well as check your savings account and loan repayments.
Before borrowing any money, we would suggest you take a look at our borrowing money page. This will help you work out whether you really need to borrow and offers advice that can help you work out the best way for you to borrow money if you need to.
We work closely with Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union, based only a stone’s throw away from the Paisley Campus. However, credit unions exist in many communities and you can find yours by searching Find Your Credit Union.
There are five credit unions operating in Renfrewshire of varying sizes, offering a variety of services. My Credit Union Renfrewshire provides all the information you need to make an informed choice about joining a credit union that best suits your needs.
You can join Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union (RWCU) if you live, work or study in Renfrewshire. This is known as the common bond - something that links you to the local community and is required to be a member of many credit unions.
1st Alliance Credit Union is based in Kilwinning with various access points available across Ayrshire. Similar to most credit unions, they offer a local service to local people.
Solway Credit Union's primary aim is to ensure your financial health by encouraging you to save and borrow responsibly. Like most credit unions, they are a ‘not for profit’ organisation which is run by members for members in the local community.
Lanarkshire Credit Union operates from various locations across Lanarkshire, offering opportunities for the local community to save and borrow responsibly.