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Case Study – Helping Reduce Financial Stress
Although April is nationally recognised as Stress Awareness Month, financial stress is an issue that can affect anybody at any time. With that in mind, we were very pleased to receive some feedback from a member who we recently helped reduce their financial stress.
They emailed us to say:
“Since receiving my first loan from Leeds Credit Union, I have managed to get my finances into a much better position.
“I’ve since been accepted for a second loan and am making additional payments to pay it off as fast as I can. I am also depositing small amounts of money into my savings account so that I have something set aside for a rainy day.
“I am very grateful to everybody that works for LCU. The impact of their products and services has enabled me to become much more financially stress free so I just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to the staff there!”
There’s nothing we like better than helping our members, which is why we make sure they have easy access to our range of affordable loans, all of which are tailored to suit their individual circumstances.
With our employees also on hand to offer help and assistance, we’re proud to be helping our local community cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis and the financial stress that has come with it.
To find out more about our loans, savings accounts and other services, click here.
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Debt Advice: How You Can Get Support
As the cost of living crisis continues to increase the financial pressure facing many households in the UK, it’s never been more important to keep a close eye on your money so that you can recognise quickly if you have debt issues. If you do, it’s also important to know where to turn for help, advice and debt support.
So how can you tell if you’re at risk of getting into debt and what can you do about it? Read on to find out.
How to recognise you have debt issues
Anyone can be affected by debt, which can creep up suddenly and turn a manageable financial situation into an out of control problem that can result in sleepless nights and feelings of embarrassment and shame.
Luckily, it is possible to spot the signs of impending financial difficulties and stop them before they become a serious issue. Read the following statements and see if any apply to you. If they do, this may be an indication that you have debt issues and should seek help and advice to help you manage them.
I can’t put a figure on how much I owe
I rely on credit to cover my living costs
The amount I owe is rising
I’ve been contacted by a debt collection agency
I’m making minimum payments
There are arguments in my house about money
I sometimes hide purchases from my partner
My credit cards are near the limit
I have no savings left
I skip paying bills some months or pay them late
I’ve started to use payday loans
My debt worries interfere with my job and/or home life
I can’t sleep because I’m worry about my finances
I haven’t got any emergency savings
I don’t open my bills when they arrive
How and where to get debt advice and support
If you think you would benefit from help and advice, there are several organisations that can help.
Citizens Advice has lots of information on its website, with advice on everything from dealing with urgent debts and/or arrears to reducing your outgoings. Click here to find out more.
MoneySavingExpert also has a wealth of information re debt problems and the help that is available on its website.
Closer to home, our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS) works in partnership with Housing Leeds to help tenants who are struggling to budget their money and pay their bills. We can help you arrange affordable payment plans to cover your arrears and look at switching providers if cheaper alternatives are available. To get in touch, click here.
Take back control of your money with an LCU debt consolidation loan
A cursory glance at almost any British news outlet will give you an indication of the financial difficulties people in the UK currently face, with debt a common issue in many households. While this is naturally a cause for concern, it’s important to remember that financial help from reputable lenders is available to anyone who needs it.
At Leeds Credit Union, we don’t charge any set-up fees for our debt consolidation loans, nor do we charge any penalties for early loan repayments.
Debt consolidation loans are loans that an individual takes out to pay off their existing debts. The individual uses the money from the debt consolidation loan to pay off the people or companies to whom they are in debt, then repays the loan in monthly instalments.
Debt consolidation loans can be used to pay off different types of debt, such as credit cards, overdrafts, store cards or personal loans.
Taking out a debt consolidation loan is an effective way of taking back control of your finances as it allows you to immediately pay off all your debts and leaves you responsible for just one repayment each month.
When you have several lenders to repay each month, it can be easy to forget to make a payment, especially if the repayments are for different amounts and due on different dates. Needless to say, this makes budgeting and general money management much more difficult.
Because bigger loans often come with lower interest rates, debt consolidation loans can also lower your monthly repayment amount, reducing your outgoings. The repayments can also be spread over a period of time that is more suitable for you, which could potentially lower your monthly repayments too.
For more information or to apply for a loan, click here.
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Case Study – Help with Outstanding Debts
Many people join Leeds Credit Union (LCU) because they need help dealing with debt. Here’s the story of one of our members who used our services to ensure they and their partner never needed to deal with unscrupulous doorstep lenders again.
“I have been an LCU member for three years and my main reason for joining was for the personal loan and to look into savings accounts. My partner and I were short on cash at the time so we applied for a loan to repay outstanding debts and the following day we were accepted. I was shocked; I did not think that we would be accepted.
“Being accepted for various loans over the years has been life-saving”
“Up until joining, we had religiously been using doorstep lenders for loans, but we have stopped using them now and only use LCU for our financial needs instead. The loans are much more affordable, faster and more reliable. It is all made so easy and has reduced our monthly outgoings; I’d be lost without it.
“Being accepted for various loans over the years has been life-saving. The money has gone towards a holiday, household goods including a new fridge, cooker, sofa and bed, and it also helps if I’m short on bills and need a top-up. The customer service is always fantastic, and the staff are so polite and helpful that they feel like family. I think I now know them all by name and vice versa!
“Since joining I have never looked back. LCU has helped my partner and I out of some difficult financial situations. My mum is now also a member and no longer uses doorstep lenders either. We are all in a much better place now and would never go anywhere else so thank you!”
A positive difference
We love making a positive difference to our members by helping them reduce their monthly outgoings and pay off their loans – or credit with higher rates of interest – so it was great to read these kind words.Our affordable loans are available to all Leeds Credit Union members. For more information and to apply now 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.
Own brand perfume
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.
Staying in is the new going out
There are plenty of fun things for families to do at home that don’t cost the earth, such as:
watching Christmas films. There are always plenty to choose from on TV throughout December so take it in turns to pick one, settle in on the sofa with a few treats and get cosy.
having a scavenger hunt. Simply hide an inexpensive prize – such as some chocolate – then place some clues that will lead your family to it around the house. Perfect if it’s cold and wet outside…
…but if you get lucky and it’s snowy outside, there’s no better time to get in the garden and build a snowman or instigate a snowball fight!
playing games. Dust off your old Monopoly set if you want to get competitive; stick to charades if you’d rather keep it lighthearted.
We’re here to help
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.
On Monday, 4th December 2023, our systems will be down for scheduled maintenace from 3pm for approximately three hours.
This means head office, branches and online banking/app will not be contactable or usable.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.