At Leeds Credit Union, in addition to providing our members with access to affordable loans and a wide range of savings accounts, we also offer a Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) exclusive to our members.
Having a budget keeps your spending in check and makes sure that your savings are on track for the future. Budgeting can help you set long-term financial goals, keep you from overspending and help shut down risky spending habits so, to help your money go as far as possible this Christmas, here are the MABS team’s top tips for effective budgeting.
1. Begin with a Budget: Start by outlining your spending plan. Account for every penny you spend – a Leeds Credit Union savings account can help manage your earnings and spending.
2. Credit Union Account: Consider joining a credit union, such as Leeds Credit Union, which as well as getting you into the savings habit, offers multiple benefits including lower interest rates on loans and fewer fees.
3. Emergency Fund with Leeds Credit Union: Always have an emergency fund, which should ideally cover at least three months of your living expenses. A dedicated savings account with Leeds Credit Union could be an excellent place for this.
4. Repay High-Interest Debts First: Focus on paying off debts with higher interest rates first, then address lower interest rate debts. Leeds Credit Union offers some of the lowest interest rates for loans in the market from just 6.9% APR.
5. Short Term Loans from Leeds Credit Union: Leeds Credit Union offers short-term affordable loans, which are advantageous as you pay less interest overall when compared to high interest doorstep or payday lenders.
6. Use Direct Debits with Leeds Credit Union: Organise direct debits for your bills from your Leeds Credit Union account. This ensures timely payments and avoids late fees.
7. Limit Credit Card Usage, Consider Leeds Credit Union Loans: Try to only use your credit card in emergencies. Alternatively, consider taking an affordable loan from Leeds Credit Union for large unexpected expenses.
8. Regularly Review Your Leeds Credit Union Account: Frequently review your budget by monitoring your Leeds Credit Union account using online banking and the LCU App. It can help you identify the areas where you can cut back and save money.
9. Save for Goals with Leeds Credit Union: Whether it’s for a holiday, home improvements or a car, save with purpose using a Leeds Credit Union savings account.
10. Leeds Credit Union for Children’s Savings: Encourage children to start saving early. Leeds Credit Union offers youth accounts that can be used as a tool to teach children about money management.
11. Seek Professional Help from Leeds Credit Union: If managing your finances becomes overwhelming, consider scheduling an appointment with a Leeds Credit Union Money & Budgeting team member. They can provide you with invaluable support and advice.
12. Take Advantage of Leeds Credit Union’s Family Loan: If you’re receiving Child Benefit and finding it challenging to access affordable credit, consider Leeds Credit Union’s Family Loan. This loan allows you to borrow money, whilst offering manageable repayments and also helping you to save. A portion of your Child Benefit goes towards repaying the loan and the rest is put into a savings account that’s accessible after the loan is fully repaid. This provides an excellent opportunity for families to both manage their immediate financial needs and build a savings buffer for the future.
13. Debt Consolidation Loans from Leeds Credit Union: If you have multiple debts, consolidating them into a single loan from Leeds Credit Union could potentially lower your monthly payments and simplify your finances.
14. Leeds Credit Union’s Christmas Club: Put away a little bit every month in a Leeds Credit Union Christmas savings account, so you’re not hit with a huge expense at the end of the year.
Find out how Leeds Credit Union can help you.
Christmas on a budget doesn’t mean Christmas is cancelled. With small loans of £250 available to our members, joining our credit union could help make your Christmas one to remember – find out how to join here.
Taking place on October 10th, World Mental Health Day 2023 is all about raising awareness of mental health and driving positive change for the benefit of everyone.
Something most people worry about at one time or another is money and there are likely to be more of us worrying about it than usual at the moment as a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Luckily, research shows that taking small steps – like saving a small amount of money each month – can have a positive impact on both your financial wellbeing and your mental health. Here’s everything you need to know.
Financial wellbeing is all about people’s relationships with money, the control they have over their own finances and their ability to strike the right balance between having enough money to pay the bills and enough to spend on things they enjoy, both now and in the future.
Financial wellbeing goes beyond simply earning or being able to save lots of money – in fact, recent research suggests that people in the top wage bracket are less content with their lives than those with good financial wellbeing.
As well as being important for financial reasons, financial wellbeing is also important for our mental health. People with poor financial wellbeing often suffer from stress and anxiety, and are at an increased risk of becoming isolated. Furthermore, employees with financial concerns are more than twice as likely to suffer from reduced productivity and/or absenteeism at work than those with good financial wellbeing.
Conversely, people with good financial wellbeing are less stressed about money, which has a positive effect on their overall health and can help improve their relationships.
Establishing good financial habits is easier said than done but these tips will help you on your way:
As a credit union, we don’t have external shareholders or investors, so it’s our members who come first, not profits.
We offer a variety of savings accounts and loans to help our members improve their financial circumstances, while our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) is also available to members who meet certain criteria. To find out how we can help you increase your financial wellbeing, click here.
Not only is summertime nearly here again, National Picnic Week 2023 is too!
Taking place from June 17th – 25th, National Picnic Week 2023 encourages everyone to take all the food, drink and blankets you can carry to the nearest, nicest park to meet up with friends and family and enjoy a bite to eat in the open air.
With a huge array of suitable outdoor venues in and around Leeds, the only question is: where should you go? We have some suggestions…
Located less than half an hour from Leeds city centre, Yeadon Tarn is one of Yorkshire’s best kept secrets.
Covering approximately 46 acres of land that includes a beautiful 7.5 hectare lake filled with wildlife and dedicated picnic spots for those who prefer tables to blankets, there’s plenty of Tarn to go around, even on busy days, meaning you won’t end up picnicking on top of another family.
And once you’ve finished eating, there’s plenty to do if you fancy burning a few calories, including sailing and other water sports, a playground, a BMX track and walks aplenty. It’s also dog-friendly, so your canine companions can enjoy the fun too.
Yeadon Tarn, Yeadon, Leeds. LS19 7UR.
If you want a picnic spot next to a gorgeous river with plenty of open spaces and a dash of Yorkshire’s unbeatable history, Kirkstall Abbey is the place for you.
Set against the backdrop of the ruins of the titular abbey – a stunning 12th-century Cistercian monastery – Kirkstall Abbey not only provides the perfect setting for a riverside picnic, it also has lots of areas to explore, a cafe in case it rains, a play area for kids and access to plenty of shade for respite from the sun on hot days.
Chuck in some local tennis courts and the legendarily large beer garden at the nearby Kirkstall Bridge Inn pub and you’ve got a top picnic spot.
Kirkstall Abbey, Abbey Road, Leeds. LS5 3EH.
Desperate for a picnic but don’t fancy travelling far to find the perfect spot? Just wander over to Leeds city centre!
That’s right, tucked away near the city’s business district, Park Square has everything you need for a meal out in the open. As well as being a natural sun-trap, this expertly landscaped spot has plenty of grassy areas to set up on, numerous benches and flowers and trees that add colour and make you believe you’re a million miles away from one of the UK’s busiest metropolitan areas.
And if you need any extra supplies or want something fun to do after you’ve eaten, you’ve got Leeds just a short stroll away. What could be better?
Park Square, Leeds. LS1 2NY.
One of the largest urban parks anywhere in Europe, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Roundhay Park had actually been designed specifically for picnics.
Comprising 700 acres of incredible natural beauty, rolling parkland, floral displays, streams, secret paths, a gorge walk, two lakes woodlands and open spaces and wildlife in every direction, you could throw a picnic blanket on the ground almost anyway in Roundhay Park and find yourself surrounded by the perfect blend of greenery and tranquillity.
Just remember to set an alarm if you lie down to rest after eating – the park is so relaxing, you might just fall asleep.
Roundhay Park, Roundhay, Leeds. LS8 2ER.
The biggest location on our list by some distance, Temple Newsam’s 1,500 acres of parkland provide no shortage of both sunny spots and shaded spaces for picnickers who like landscaped grounds, natural beauty and no fewer than three lakes.
One of Yorkshire’s most popular tourist attractions, Temple Newsam also has plenty to offer once the food’s all gone, with walled gardens, woodland trails, several walks and a shop all worth a visit.
Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Selby Road, Leeds. LS15 0AE.
When all’s said and done, there really is no place like home so, if you’re trying to keep your outgoings to a minimum at the moment, why not cut down on travel costs this National Picnic Week and have one in your own backyard?!
With its handy location close to vital amenities like running water, toilets and indoor seating if the weather takes a turn for the worse, your garden is convenient, unlikely to be overcrowded and best of all, admission is free!
With a huge number of superb outdoor spaces available nearby, picnickers in Leeds are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to go for a sandwich in the sun. If we’ve forgotten to mention your favourite picnic destination, let us know about it on our social channels!
Lastly, remember that whatever your dream plans are for National Picnic Week, we can help make them a reality with one of our affordable loans. Find out more here.
Unless you’re a professional gardener – or an extremely committed amateur – chances are you’ve only done the bare minimum to maintain your garden over the winter months.
If that’s the case, now is the perfect time to head outside and give your garden some TLC in time for summer, so brush the cobwebs off your lawnmower and get your green space sorted out with our top gardening advice.
There’s only one place to start and that’s with a little spring cleaning. After months of rain and frost, weeding, cleaning garden furniture, mending and repainting old fencing, sweeping and washing down decking and trimming hedges should all be high on your jobs list.
Tidying up borders and any flower beds is a good idea too. Remove old blooms and prune any untidy shrubs while you’re at it – this will let you see exactly where the gaps are and allow you to plan what plants you need to fill them.
The lawn’s not going to cut itself, so it’s time to fire up the mower.
If your lawn’s been badly neglected over winter, you may need to take some steps beyond simply cutting it. Rake any dead grass off the surface to allow new grass to grow freely, then sprinkle grass seed on any bare patches. Finally, treat the grass with lawn feed to make it thicker and greener.
Even if you remembered to clean and dry your tools before you put them away last winter, they’re probably going to need cleaning and sharpening before you use them again.
Start off by cleaning everything with a firm brush, then sharpen as necessary – this guide from the RHS shows you how. You should also clean any old grass from the blades and underside of your lawnmower and make sure the cable is still in one piece.
Gardens are all about plants, flowers and colour so have a look on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and don’t be afraid to emulate what you see.
Go for a combination of colours and heights, with the taller plants at the back and smaller ones further forward. Alternatively, if you like to cook, why not create a herb garden? Not only do they look great, they smell nice too!
What do we want? Barbecues!
What don’t we want? To invite people round for a barbecue only to discover that it has bits of cooked-on sausage all over it and needs cleaning before you can use it!
Save yourself the embarrassment by cleaning your grill racks and any equipment – like tongs – using one of these simple methods today.
Take everything out of your shed and get rid of anything you don’t use or that’s broken beyond repair. While it’s still empty, give it a thorough sweep and check for any loose panels or roof damage, making repairs where necessary. Touch up any paintwork in need of some TLC while you’re at it.
As well as improving the appearance of your property, gardening offers lots of additional benefits, such as improving your mental health and providing good exercise.
At Leeds Credit Union, one of our loans can help you create the garden of your dreams. We have loans available from £250 to £25,000 – find out more here.
Saturday the 6th of May marks the Coronation of King Charles III and, to commemorate the occasion, many people are planning on organising events in their street to celebrate with their neighbours, friends and family. If you’re one of them, check out our advice on ensuring your party goes to plan.
Once you’ve decided where your party will take place, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide who to invite. This should be pretty straightforward as you’ll be expected to invite everyone on your street. If your street is on the smaller side, you can easily extend the invitations to cover one or two adjoining streets.
Try to send the invitations out as soon as possible to allow your guests time to reply and make any necessary arrangements. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a WhatsApp group for local residents; if a significant number of your neighbours don’t use WhatsApp, you can always use the more traditional method of putting up flyers or making leaflets and popping them through your neighbours’ doors.
Once you know how many people are attending, it’s time to let the council know if you’d like to put a temporary road closure in place.
Now you know which streets are taking part, it’s time to start decorating! Red, white and blue bunting is essential and can either be bought cheaply or handmade by you and your neighbours.
Other popular decorations include Union Jack coloured flags and tablecloths, and red, white and blue ribbons and balloons. If you’re having tables, bring them to life using flowers picked from local gardens and displayed in jars or vases.
Arguably the most important aspect of the street party is the menu, so plan what you’ll be serving in advance to make it as hassle-free as possible.
Your best bet is to ask everyone to bring a dish or jug of drink but remember to find out who’s bringing what so they don’t all bring the same thing! As the King is the star of the show, use His Majesty as the theme – things like cucumber, coronation chicken or egg and cress sandwiches, Victoria sponge cake and Pimms will all go down well.
You’ll also need to supply any necessary cutlery, plates, drinks receptacles and food storage, avoiding glass items wherever possible, as well as deciding where to position tables and chairs and ensuring you have enough to go around.
Food, drink and decorations are all important but you’ll need to make your street party entertaining if you want people to stay the course. It’s a good idea to set up a TV so everyone can watch the official celebrations live but you should also prepare some games for your guests to play, especially if children will be in attendance.
Games like skittles and bowls are easy to set up in the street, as is cricket if you have enough players and a ball soft enough not to damage any property or cars. You could also provide chalk so kids can draw their own hopscotch boards on the pavement, host a royal quiz or play a giant game of hide and seek. If you have a grassy communal area you could even arrange a tug of war!
You’ll also need to prepare a playlist for the day. Try to keep it neutral, with well known songs everyone can enjoy. Just remember not to play it at ear-splitting volume or keep it going after the kids have gone to bed.
We love a good celebration at Leeds Credit Union and we can’t wait for the Coronation parties to begin. We’d love to see the pictures of your parties so remember to share them on our social media channels!
With the holidays here, it’s time to start planning some activities to keep your kids entertained for Easter 2023.
Luckily, if you’re wanting to have fun on a budget, there are plenty of affordable things to do to keep families of all ages busy, both in and around Yorkshire and further afield. So whether your kids prefer high-octane thrills, exploring the natural world or delving into the past, read on to find out our top Easter holiday suggestions.
If it’s a fun-filled day trip you’re after, look no further.
The National Science and Media Museum boasts seven floors of interactive galleries dedicated to the history of television, cinema, photography, video games and more, as well as three cinemas, including an IMAX screen, and regular exhibitions and festivals.
With plenty to do and family events taking place at weekends and during school holidays, it’s the ideal destination for anyone with kids in tow and, best of all, entry is free!
The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. BD1 1NQ.
Built in a reclaimed china clay pit, the Eden Project consists of two huge biomes – one with a rainforest ecosystem, the other filled with Mediterranean trees and plants – and an outdoor botanical garden.
Both biomes house thousands of plant species, while the outside garden is home to native wildlife. Throw in a rainforest walkaway with a zip line and a wide range of educational and fun play areas and it’s no surprise that this is one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.
Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall. PL24 2SG.
If you’ve got kids, there’s a pretty good chance they love the Harry Potter films and, if that’s the case, there’s an even better chance they’ll get a kick out of visiting Alnwick Castle, where some of the series’ best-loved scenes were filmed – from Harry and Ron crashing a flying car into the castle’s courtyard, to the Hogwarts students first learning to fly broomsticks and Harry discovering the wonders of Quidditch.
Built following the Norman Conquest in the 11th-century, the castle is a Grade I listed building with plenty to offer in addition to its Harry Potter legacy, including an array of incredible state rooms and grounds, all of which are open to the public. Close to one million people visit the castle each year so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Alnwick Castle, Alnwick. NE66 1NQ.
For a few inexpensive nights away, these stunning locations have plenty to offer.
For those unfamiliar with the term, glamping is basically camping without all the mud. Literally meaning ‘glamorous camping’, glamp sites come with all the amenities you’d expect to find in a hotel or bed and breakfast, making it an excellent option for families with kids who want to camp outside and parents who want their own toilet.
Each glamping pod at this location in the famous Yorkshire village of Flamborough can sleep up to four people and offers a spacious bathroom, kitchen and living area, not to mention underfloor heating. Adults will love the nearby vineyard and the local area boasts plenty of activities to keep everyone happy, including nature reserves, beaches and crazy golf, as well as a good selection of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Flamborough Glamping & Vineyard, Lighthouse Road, Flamborough. YO15 1AJ.
If you like the sound of a 15th century country estate that features a spa, unbelievable food and drink, luxury accommodation AND a supervised kids club, look no further.
And not only is Ellenborough Park set in a whopping 90 acres of grounds, packed with five-star amenities for adults and happy to entertain your kids with colouring competitions and scavenger hunts, it’s also one of the most wallet-friendly places to spend a few days this half term. Book a room here while you still can.
Ellenborough Park, Southam Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL52 3NJ.
When you fancy taking the kids on safari but don’t feel like flying all the way to Africa, this nature reserve in Kent could be just what you’re after.
At Port Lympne, guests can sleep under the stars in one of the reserve’s glamping pods and wake up a short – but safe – distance from the lions, bears, tigers, leopards and giraffes that roam freely among its 300 acres of land; a 4* hotel is also available for those who prefer to stay a little further away from the action.
Better yet, all profits go towards helping Port Lympne’s conservation efforts around the world, making this an exciting and ethical adventure your little ones will never forget.
However you intend to spend your Easter holiday, we can help bring your plans to life with one of our affordable loans. For more information and to find out how much you could borrow, click here.
Buying a car is a big financial decision and, for many people, it’s not feasible to purchase a new car outright. That’s where car loans come in. While some people may view loans as a burden, getting a loan for a new car can actually offer a range of benefits.
Here are some of the advantages of getting a loan for a new car:
If you don’t have enough cash to purchase the car you want, getting a loan can help you afford the car of your dreams. This means you can buy a car with all the features you want, without having to settle for something less.
One of the biggest benefits of getting a car loan is that you can spread the cost of the car over several years. This means you can pay off the car in smaller, more manageable monthly payments, rather than having to come up with a lump sum of money all at once.
If you don’t have much credit history or have a low credit score, getting a car loan can help you build your credit. As long as you make your payments on time, your credit score will improve over time.
Car loans may offer lower interest rates than other types of loans, such as credit cards or personal loans. This means you can save money on interest charges over the life of the loan.
When you get a car loan, you’ll know exactly how much your monthly payments will be for the life of the loan. This can help you budget more effectively and plan for the future.
In conclusion, getting a loan for a new car can offer a range of benefits, from allowing you to buy the car you want to helping you build credit and save money on interest charges. Of course, it’s important to remember that taking on debt is a serious financial decision, and you should only take out a car loan if you can comfortably afford the monthly payments. With careful consideration, a car loan can be a smart way to finance your new set of wheels.
At Leeds Credit Union, you can borrow between £250 and £25,000 to help you buy the car of your dreams with one of our affordable car loans. To find out more, click here.
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s time for any last-minute shoppers out there to get your thinking caps on and find your mum a little something to show your appreciation without breaking the bank.
This relaxing beauty and fragrance gift set from aromatherapy company Tisserand is guaranteed to help your mum find some inner peace after a busy weekend.
Containing two vegan-friendly bath and body oils made with a soothing blend of lavender, bergamot and patchouli, it’s the perfect gift for mums who don’t put their feet up often enough.
With their tranquil aromas and comforting glow, there’s a reason most mums love a good candle and this one is an absolute beauty.
Presented with a stylish hourglass design, this linen-scented candle has a burn time of up to 130 hours, while its wick crackles as it burns, so your mum will feel as though she’s sitting next to a real fire.
Greenfingered mums across the UK are chomping at the bit to get back into their gardens now spring is nearly here, so why not help yours make her outdoor space the best it can be with this month-by-month gardening guide?
Filled with tips and advice from gardening experts, as well as numerous illustrative images, the book will make your mum’s garden the envy of her neighbours all year round.
Mums love gin, almost without exception. It’s just one of those things.
If your mum falls into the ‘gin lover’ category, she’ll adore this cocktail glass gift set, which includes two elegant gin glasses, a recipe book, a rose gold cocktail spoon and a double-sided measuring cup. At just over £20, it’s likely to sell out fast, so get ordering!
If your mum loves a good walk, why not take her to Whitby Abbey?
Perfect for short or long walks, Whitby offers views of the famous, Dracula-inspiring abbey, beautiful coastlines, a wide range of pubs and cafes and, of course, the chance to eat some of the best fish and chips the UK has to offer.
For mums that love the great outdoors, there aren’t many better places to visit this Mother’s Day than Brimham Rocks.
Located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty a few miles outside of Harrogate, Brimham Rocks offers a huge array of wildlife, dramatic moorland views and scenic strolls, all among an amazing collection of natural rock formations that are the ideal spot for picnickers.
Boasting a menu full of local, seasonal produce and a sensational riverfront location inside a converted mill, Brasserie Blanc is one of the best, most reasonably priced French restaurants around and a great option for Mother’s Day.
Although the menu includes French classics like souffles and escargots, along with a good selection of other dishes, Sundays are for roasts and the grass-fed roast beef with cauliflower cheese, bottomless roast potatoes and gravy is sure to put a smile on the faces of even the most hard-to-please mums. Book a table here.
If any restaurant anywhere screams ‘bring your mum here for Mother’s Day’ louder than Bettys, we’ve yet to hear it!
Famous for its Fat Rascals, afternoon teas, fish and chips, huge selection of cakes and pâtisseries, Bettys is one of Yorkshire’s most beloved chains. Your mum will love you forever if you surprise her with a trip to one of its restaurants in York or Harrogate.
At Leeds Credit Union, we can help take the hassle out of Mother’s Day with one of our small loans. For more information or to make an application, click here.
Every year at Leeds Credit Union, we conduct a survey of our members to get a better idea of their financial circumstances and spending plans for the coming months. Regrettably, this year’s survey revealed that more than one-in-two Leeds residents have seen their financial situation worsen in 2022, with 48% predicting it to get much worse in 2023.
With the cost of living crisis showing no sign of stopping, it’s highly likely that a significant number of people outside of Yorkshire are in the same boat too, so we’ve compiled our top tips for making Christmas more affordable this year. Read on to find out more.
Most perfumes are purchased in November and December so it’s no surprise that they’re among the most popular Christmas gifts.
With many big name brands selling their scents for more than £100 per bottle, finding cheaper alternatives can save you a packet.
The good news is that fragrances are technically recipes and so cannot be trademarked, meaning other perfumes can be made to smell like the more illustrious ones for a fraction of the price. Channel’s famous Coco Mademoiselle, for example, typically retails for around £120; Next’s Eau Nude, which smells almost identical, is just £14.99.
You can reduce your expenditure on presents this year by giving your nearest and dearest the greatest gift of all – you!
Homemade, practical IOU vouchers can be personalised for anyone on your ‘to buy for’ list, and could include offering to babysit, doing the school run, walking someone’s dog or doing some DIY. Best of all, they’re unlikely to cost you anything but your time.
Although all sorts of meat are popular at dinner time on Christmas day, turkey is still the bird of choice for most Brits. Most of us usually clamour to pick up a fresh turkey in the days immediately before Christmas but there is a more cost-effective option: frozen turkeys.
At £2.85 per kilo, frozen turkeys are almost exactly half the price of fresh ones and they’re likely to be tastier too, as the quality of fresh turkeys diminishes the longer they sit on supermarket shelves.
In the UK, December is unofficially smoked salmon month, with shoppers spending twice as much on the fishy favourite in the run up to Christmas as we do in any other month.
However, rather than splashing out for a side of salmon or expensive fillets, keep an eye out for salmon trimmings. Taken from the edges of a main prime cut or an incomplete piece, trimmings are every bit as tasty but can be as much as 40% cheaper.
For many of us, a festive trip to the local pantomime is as essential to Christmas time as mistletoe and mince pies. But with ticket prices on the rise, why not apply for free tickets to one of the BBC’s numerous TV and radio shows this year instead?
A comprehensive list of available tickets can be found here – just remember to visit the website regularly as they tend to get snapped up quickly.
There are plenty of fun things for families to do at home that don’t cost the earth, such as:
Most of us look forward to Christmas time but for those suffering financial hardship, December 25th can be the cause of sleepless nights. We offer affordable small loans of £250 to our members to help ensure no one needs to go into the red over the festive period – find out how to join here.