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Tag Archive: #moneyhelp

  1. Budget-friendly BBQ Tips.

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    Budget-friendly BBQ Tips.

    With summer just around the corner and National Barbecue Week now underway, there’s never been a better excuse to dust off your BBQ and invite your friends and family round for a celebration.

    And the best news is that, by following our handy hints and tips (and keeping an eye on the weather forecast), you can host a brilliant barbie without breaking the bank! Here’s how…

    Deciding what to serve.

    It’s a barbecue, so sausages and burgers are a must, while kebabs, chicken drumsticks and – if you DO want to push the boat out – streaks are all worth considering too.

    In terms of ‘how much to buy’, it’s generally a good idea to go for quality over quantity – 10 top quality burgers are better than 20 bland ones.

    As for vegetarians, roasted veggie skewers or meat-free burgers and sausages are always a safe bet.

    You’ll also need some sides to serve with your mains. A couple of large bowls of salad, some loaves of garlic bread, coleslaw and a variety of sauces will suffice. Stocking up on crisps/crackers/breadsticks and dips so your guests have something to nibble on while the food is cooking is a good idea too, as is getting plenty of cheese and lettuce for those who want toppings on their burgers.

    If you’re serving dessert, keep it summery and inexpensive with some ice cream. You’d be surprised how many guests just a couple of tubs will feed!

    Many supermarkets are already advertising summer deals on most of the items we’ve mentioned, so shop around for the best offers currently available or check if your local butcher will do you a deal for buying in bulk.

    As for beverages, you’ll want to keep your fridge well stocked but this doesn’t mean things have to get overly expensive. Have jugs of iced water (or fruit infused water) dotted around, and keep plenty of own-brand lemonade or iced tea in the fridge. For guests that prefer a beer or glass of wine, simply ask your guests to bring their own alcohol!

    Remember to make plenty of ice cubes in advance or buy a bag of ice just before the party begins too – the last thing you want is your guests overheating.

    What else do I need?

    Napkins, paper plates and reusable plastic cups and cutlery are all essential and affordable, especially during BBQ season. 

    You’ll also need to create a suitable playlist to set the mood and keep things upbeat. Make sure there’s something for everyone, with a few cheesy classics everyone knows the words to – just remember to keep the volume at a level that won’t upset your neighbours!

    You may also want to think about providing a few games, especially if children will be present. If you have the room, lawn games like swingball, croquet or cricket are always popular; if not, buying cheap water pistols for kids and decks of cards for adults is an easy win.

    Where to get hold of a new barbecue?

    If you’re in the market for a new barbecue, check out this ‘Best Budget BBQs’ article for suggestions on bringing your garden kitchen to life, whatever your budget.

    Before you make a purchase though, it’s worth asking yourself how often you’re realistically likely to use your BBQ. If the answer is ‘once a year at most’, it might be worth foregoing a more expensive option and investing in some disposable ones from your local supermarket instead.

    Cook up a storm with Leeds Credit Union!

    Whether you want to invest in a brand new barbecue or just need a hand getting your garden ready for summer, you could borrow from £250 to £25,000 with one of our tailored loans. To find out more, click here.

  2. Spring Clean Your Finances.

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    Spring Clean Your Finances.

    If January is the best time for people to pay off debts and reassess their finances, springtime is arguably the best time to put plans in place to try and start saving and making more

    In this blog, we’re taking a look at some different ways people can both save and make money in order to help them improve their finances.

    Saving money.

    Your food shop.

    With food among the largest expenditures in most households, now is the perfect time to explore how you could spend less at the supermarket.

    The simplest way to do so is to start shopping at Lidl or Aldi – the two cheapest supermarkets in the UK. A basket of everyday items in Lidl costs, on average, £5.97 less than at Morrisons; if you did that same shop every week, that’s an annual saving of £310.44

    It’s also worth remembering that all supermarkets reduce the prices on products that are about to reach their sell-by-dates, so try to shop after 6pm and keep your eyes out for items with yellow stickers – they may be reduced by as much as 80%. Monday and Saturday evenings are the best days to find a bargain.

    Your mobile phone.

    96% of the UK’s population owns a mobile phone but how many people are overpaying for theirs? 

    To make sure you’re not one of them – and save a significant amount every month – it’s worth exploring the possibility of switching from a contract to a SIM-only deal, which are often cheaper in the long run compared to contract agreements because you’re not paying back the cost of a new smartphone.

    Buying a handset outright – or using one you already own – and opting for SIM-only allows you to choose any provider and pick the minutes, texts and data you need, making it easier to only pay for what you use and reducing your monthly outgoings. Shop the best current SIM-only deals here.

    Making money.

    If you’ve got some spare time on your hands, you could make more money with some of these easy tips!

    Sell parking spaces.

    If your driveway often has no car parked on it, why not rent it out? Websites like justpark.com allow you to do just that, making it a quick and easy way to make extra money without having to lift a finger.

    Get paid to do simple tasks for people in your area.

    From planting flowers to lifting furniture upstairs or cleaning kitchens, websites like airtasker and taskrabbit connect people who need simple tasks completing with people who are happy to help them, enabling you to make extra money, fast. 

    After registering, you simply reply to people who want tasks doing with an offer (e.g. you might offer to walk someone’s dog for £10) and if they accept your offer, the job – and money – is yours. Working as much or as little as you want, whenever you want, has never been simpler!

    Have a clear out.

    For a quick cash injection, it’s never been easier to sell unwanted items online through websites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Go through your house, loft, garden and garage and if you find anything you no longer want, need or use, sell it.

    Leeds Credit Union – here if you need us.

    If you’ve done everything you can to save and make some extra money but are still struggling to make ends meet, you could borrow as much as £25,000 with one of our affordable loans. To find out more, click here.

  3. Springtime Home Improvements.

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    Springtime Home Improvements.

    With the days growing longer and winter fast becoming a distant memory, many people in the UK are finding themselves inspired to breathe new life into their homes as part of ambitious spring cleaning and DIY projects.

    But what are some of the UK’s most popular home improvements to undertake at this time of year? Let’s take a look…

    Garden revitalisation.

    Now our green spaces are bursting into bloom again, homeowners may well be tempted to show their outdoor areas a little TLC.

    From simple tasks like weeding and pruning to more ambitious projects such as installing new flower beds, laying decking or creating a cosy seating area, giving your garden a shot in the arm is a quick and relatively inexpensive way of enhancing the beauty and functionality of your home at this time of year.

    Painting and decorating.

    A fresh coat of paint brightens up any room and spring is the ideal season for interior painting projects, as the warmer temperatures and increased ventilation from open doors and windows make it easier for paint to dry quickly and evenly!

    Whether you’re opting for a subtle hue to create a calming atmosphere or a bold splash of colour to make a statement, a newly painted room is one of the most fool-proof ways to completely transform the look and feel of your home.

    Decluttering.

    For many of us, spring cleaning simply means ‘having a really good tidy up’ but there’s much more to it than that – it’s an excellent opportunity to declutter and organise your living space, creating a more serene and harmonious environment.

    Take the time to sort through your belongings, donating or disposing of items you no longer need, and organising the rest in a way that maximises space and minimises clutter. From wardrobes and cupboards to garages and attics, there’s no shortage of areas to tackle during a thorough spring cleaning session.

    Upgrading the kitchen.

    The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home, making it a popular focus for springtime home improvement projects. Whether you’re planning a full-scale renovation or simply updating fixtures and appliances, there are plenty of ways to breathe new life into your kitchen. Consider replacing outdated countertops, installing new cabinetry or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to enhance both the aesthetics and functionality of this vital space.

    Outdoor maintenance.

    As the weather warms up, it’s important to ensure that your home’s exterior is in top condition. From cleaning gutters and washing windows to repairing fences and repainting doors, outdoor maintenance tasks can help protect your property from the elements while enhancing its overall appeal. 

    Don’t forget to inspect your roof for any signs of damage and schedule any necessary repairs to prevent leaks and other issues down the line too!

    DIY with LCU!

    Whether your spring home improvement project requires just a few tins of paint and some new storage options or a whole new kitchen, our range of affordable loans is here to help you make your dream home a reality!

    Find out how we can help here.

  4. Stop Loan Sharks Week 2024.

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    Stop Loan Sharks Week 2024.

    Although the problems caused by loan sharks are well known, the most recent reports into the number of people turning to them for financial help have revealed that a staggering three million Britons have used their dubious services over the last 3+ years, indicating there is still much to be done to get them off our streets once and for all.

    Step forward the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) and its annual Stop Loan Sharks Week!

    Taking place between the 13th and 19th of May, Stop Loan Sharks Week is a scheme set up by IMLT to raise awareness of the existence of – and risks posed by – illegal money lenders, also known as loan sharks. It works by offering people advice on how to recognise the signs that someone might be involved with a loan shark, what to do about it and where to get help.

    Since 2004, the IMLT has helped more than 25,000 people stay safely away from loan sharks.

    What are loan sharks?

    Loan sharks work by lending money to people who are struggling to make ends meet and who may have been turned down for a loan from reputable sources like credit unions or banks. They promise to provide them with a quick and easy loan, only to apply sky-high APR rates, trapping their financially vulnerable victim in a cycle of debt and resorting to intimidation and violence until the loan – plus interest – is repaid in full.

    The IMLT works with local communities, educational facilities and the police to investigate and prosecute loan sharks, and offer support to those who owe them money. The IMLT is estimated to have written off more than £87 million worth of illegal debt since 2004, highlighting just how serious the issue is.

    To try and put a stop to this illegal activity once and for all, Stop Loan Sharks Week raises awareness of the help that is available to people who have been targeted by illegal money lenders by encouraging conversations among friends, families and communities. 

    What does LCU do to stop loan sharks?

    As a credit union, nothing is more important to us than looking after our members’ financial wellbeing. While we might not be out on the streets actively tracking loan sharks down to throw them behind bars, there are plenty of things we can do to stop them taking advantage of financially vulnerable individuals.

    For example, during the 2022/2023 financial year, we lent more than £8.275m to our members, helping them save more than £11m in high interest repayments that would otherwise have ended up in the hands of loan sharks, many of whom were maliciously targeting some of Leeds’ most financially vulnerable postcodes.

    We also work day-in and day-out to offer affordable loans, and access to savings accounts and money and budgeting advice to our members so that they never need to come into contact with loan sharks.

    Seeking help if you’re in debt.

    With the cost of living crisis driving more households into the grasp of illegal money lenders to help pay their bills, Stop Loan Sharks Week couldn’t have come at a better time.

    If you have borrowed from an illegal money lender or are worried about someone else who may have, you can contact the IMLT team 24/7 on 0300 555 2222 or fill out a secure online form here to report a loan shark.

    At Leeds Credit Union, our products and services can help you get your finances safely back on track and our friendly team is available to offer support and advice, whatever your circumstances. For more information or to get in touch, click here.

    And just in case anyone reading this thinks the issue of illegal money lenders is being exaggerated, a suspected loan shark was arrested in Leeds earlier this week! Read all about it here.

  5. Springtime Savings: Five Tips to Make Your Money Go Further This Season.

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    Springtime Savings: Five Tips to Make Your Money Go Further This Season.

    With spring almost in full bloom, it’s the perfect time to give your finances a refresh and make your money work harder for you. Whether you’re saving up for a special purchase, planning a holiday or looking to boost your financial safety net, here are five tips to help you make the most of your money this spring.

    Audit your savings account.

    Take a close look at your current savings account and compare it to what else is out there. Many financial institutions offer competitive interest rates and incentives for new customers, so moving your savings to an account with better rates can help your money grow faster over time, providing you with a stronger financial foundation.

    Cut down on unnecessary expenses.

    Spring is the perfect time to review your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. Take a close look at your subscriptions, memberships and recurring bills. Are you paying for anything you no longer use or need? Could you manage with less data on your mobile phone contract or fewer streaming services?

    If the answer is ‘yes’, cancelling or downsizing these expenses can free up extra money to put towards your savings goals.

    Shop smarter.

    With the warmer weather comes the temptation to splurge on the likes of new clothes, home decor and outdoor equipment. But before making any purchases, ask yourself if they’re really essential and, if they are, take the time to shop around and compare prices.

    Look for sales, discounts and coupons to stretch your budget further, or consider buying second-hand or pre-loved items to save even more money while also reducing your environmental impact.

    Explore cashback and rewards programs.

    Make the most of your everyday spending by signing up for cashback and rewards programs. Many banks, credit cards and shopping platforms offer cashback or rewards points on purchases and, by using them strategically, you can earn money back on your regular expenses, effectively getting paid to spend.

    Become more energy efficient.

    As the weather warms up, now is the perfect time to invest in energy-efficient upgrades for your home. 

    Simple changes like installing LED light bulbs, resealing drafty windows and upgrading to a programmable thermostat can help lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. 

    Better still, some energy-saving improvements qualify for government incentives and rebates, making them even more cost-effective in the long run.

    Leeds Credit Union – here when you need us.

    By implementing these five tips, households can make their money go further this spring and set themselves up for financial success in the months ahead. 

    If you’ve done everything you can to save some extra money but are still struggling to make ends meet, you could borrow between £250 and £25,000 with one of our affordable loans. To find out more, click here.

  6. Debt Awareness Week 2024.

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    Debt Awareness Week 2024.

     

    This week is Debt Awareness Week, a poignant reminder about the impact that debt can have on individuals and families.

    Taking place from March 18th – 24th, it’s an initiative that aims to shed light on the issue of debt and to offer support to those grappling with its consequences, reassuring them that help is available for those who need it.

    Why debt awareness matters.

    Debt is a complex and often stigmatised subject, yet it is a reality for millions of people worldwide. From mounting credit card bills to overwhelming loan repayments, the cycle of debt can feel insurmountable without the proper knowledge and support. Debt Awareness Week serves as an opportunity to break the silence surrounding debt and to empower individuals with the information and resources they need to regain control of their financial wellbeing. It’s also an invaluable opportunity to reassure anybody struggling with debt that help is available.

    Together, by fostering debt awareness, we can:

    Educate by equipping individuals with the tools and understanding necessary to make informed financial decisions and navigate the complexities of debt management.

    Destigmatize. Shame and stigma often accompany debt, preventing individuals from seeking help and exacerbating their financial struggles. By fostering open and honest conversations about debt, we can eliminate the stigma surrounding financial difficulties and create a supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to seek assistance without fear of judgement.

    Empower. At Leeds Credit Union, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to achieve financial stability. Whether through debt consolidation loans or our Money and Budgeting Service (MABS), we are committed to empowering individuals to take control of their finances and work towards a brighter, debt-free future.

    Join us in spreading awareness.

    This Debt Awareness Week, we invite you to join us in spreading awareness and support for those affected by debt. Whether by sharing resources or simply offering an ear to those in need, together we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families facing financial challenges.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with debt, you can contact us for support and advice here.

  7. Celebrate St Patrick’s Day In Leeds!

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    Celebrate St Patrick’s Day In Leeds!

    Given Leeds’ well-deserved reputation as a city in which there’s almost always something to do, you won’t be surprised to hear that anyone looking to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this weekend is in for a treat!

    March 17th is the day on which Irish culture and heritage are celebrated in all their glory in commemoration of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s foremost patron saint.

    Today, despite only being officially recognised as a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world. In fact, it’s celebrated in more countries than any other national festival, with revellers typically enjoying public parades, traditional Irish music sessions, the wearing of green clothing and, of course, a glass or two of Irish beer or whiskey. 

    There will be lots to do in Leeds City Centre this Sunday to mark the occasion, with a major St Patrick’s Day celebration planned. 

    Organised by the Leeds St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the day will feature lots of free entertainment, including:

    • The St. Patrick’s Day parade itself – join the procession at Millennium Square and take a journey through the city alongside a wave of colourful rafts and walking displays!
    • Family fun in Millennium Square between 10.30am and 4pm, featuring a variety of performers and artists.
    • Music from pipe and brass bands. 
    • Refreshment stalls, rides for children and a bar for adults.

    For more information, visit: https://www.millsqleeds.com/whatson-event/st-patricks-day-parade/

    Sláinte!

  8. The Recession – Leeds Credit Union’s Perspective.

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    The Recession – Leeds Credit Union’s Perspective.

    Upon hearing the news that the UK fell into recession towards the end of 2023, many people are understandably anxious, including our valued members and our staff. After all, recession – defined as ‘a fall in gross domestic product (GDP) across two consecutive three-month periods’ – invariably introduces a wave of uncertainty, particularly around financial stability.

    Understanding the recession.

    According to the news, the recession came about as a result of the UK economy shrinking by a sizable 0.3%. This followed previous reductions between July and September, while the annual growth for 2023 stood at a mere 0.1%. 

    While this may seem bleak, people may be reassured by the fact that economic downturns actually create an environment in which it becomes possible to reassess and adapt our financial strategies, so there are some causes for optimism.

    Impact on personal finances.

    A recession will almost certainly make people worry about their personal finances, with the struggling economy increasing the prospect of tighter personal budgets, job uncertainties and falling incomes.

    Unfortunately, the looming shadow of inflation is unlikely to put anyone’s mind at rest either.

    As the Bank of England lifted interest rates to tame inflation, the pace of price rises stood at an alarming 4% in January – double the bank’s 2% target. For personal finances, this indicates a potential reduction in purchasing power, affecting everything from daily expenses to significant outlays such as mortgages and loans.

    Leeds Credit Union stands with you.

    As your credit union, we understand the concerns of our members. 

    Our role is to help you navigate and weather this financial storm and we believe that providing guidance and tailored services to safeguard your financial health during these tough times are just a couple of the ways in which we can do so.

    Rest assured, we are developing strategies to meet the potential challenges that lie ahead. These include: 

    • providing financial counselling to our members to help them manage their debts; 
    • facilitating access to affordable credit to prevent over-reliance on high-cost lenders; and 
    • providing resources to maintain a level of savings among our members.

    We are dedicated to helping our members adapt to fluctuations in their income and increasing prices. We understand the importance of reviewing and revising budgeting strategies, prioritising financial obligations and considering flexible repayment options.

    As we tackle this recession head-on, we remain unwavering in our commitment to remain a reliable financial partner to our members.

    Some good news.

    While the economic terrain may appear challenging, it’s worth noting that this particular recession has been described by Ruth Gregory, the Deputy Chief UK Economist at Capital Economics, as: “as mild as they come”. 

    For any LCU members struggling with their finances, we urge you to maintain open communication with us. Our dedicated team is ready and available to provide support and practical insights based on your individual circumstances and, more than ever, let’s remember that the essence of Leeds Credit Union is the principle of unity: members saving together and lending to each other at an affordable interest rate.

    With collective effort, thoughtful strategies and resilience, we can emerge from this stronger and more financially robust than before.

  9. Rediscover Romance with Your Finances this Valentine’s Day.

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    Rediscover Romance with Your Finances this Valentine’s Day.

    Valentine’s Day is here again and love is in the air. But instead of just focussing on romantic gestures for your partner, why not take a moment to show some love to your finances this year?

    Here are some tips to help you nurture your financial wellbeing:

    Saving.

    Building a savings cushion is essential for financial security and, while it may seem daunting, even small steps can make a difference. Start by reviewing your expenses and finding areas where you can cut back and, if possible, start saving the difference.

    At Leeds Credit Union, we offer a range of savings accounts that can help ensure your money grows safely and steadily – check them out here.

    Debt consolidation.

    If you’re juggling multiple debts, consolidating them into a single, affordable loan can simplify your finances and lower your monthly payments.

    Our Debt Consolidation Loans are tailored to help you regain control of your finances and you can find out more details about them by visiting: https://www.leedscreditunion.co.uk/loans/debt-consolidation-loans/

    Budgeting.

    Creating a budget is a fundamental step towards better financial awareness, so take the time to assess your income and outgoings, prioritising essential costs while also allocating funds for savings and leisure activities. 

    By sticking to your budget, you’ll avoid overspending and be well prepared if any unexpected expenses appear without warning.

    Online services.

    Embrace the convenience of online banking to manage your finances effortlessly. By being able to access your accounts anytime, anywhere, and perform transactions securely through your bank’s website or app, you’ll find banking in 2024 has become much quicker and simpler than ever before.

    Open dialogue.

    Don’t shy away from discussing your financial situation with trusted individuals, whether it’s your partner, your family or your friends. Sharing your concerns and seeking advice can alleviate stress and help you make better-informed decisions about your finances.

    Happy Valentine’s Day from Leeds Credit Union!

    At Leeds Credit Union, we’re committed to empowering our members with accessible financial solutions. Whether you’re looking to save, borrow or manage your finances more effectively, we’re here to support you on your journey towards financial wellbeing. Join us today and start learning to love your finances again!

  10. Leeds Financial Wellbeing Week 2024.

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    Leeds Financial Wellbeing Week 2024.

    Taking place from Monday 19th – Friday 23rd February, Leeds Financial Wellbeing Week is a week-long programme of events designed to provide people with useful advice on a variety of money matters.

    Throughout the week, a series of webinars from participating organisations will provide information, tips and support on a host of money topics, with all sessions free to join. 

    With the cost of living crisis still showing no signs of stopping, we’re getting involved too, with a webinar of our own!

    An informative online event designed to help people make the most of their money, the Leeds Credit Union ‘Your Money Matters’ event will take place on Wednesday, February 14th, and will feature sessions on pensions and loan sharks.

    If you’ve ever wanted to know what pension options are available to you, how to plan for your retirement or why you should never turn to loan sharks then this is the webinar for you!

    To register your interest in attending, click here.

    If you have any questions or would like to know more about the Leeds Financial Wellbeing events, please email darren.crowe@leeds.gov.uk.