Having even a little bit of money set aside is good for your health - it's official! Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress, depression and anxiety and often this can be the result of an unexpected change in your circumstances or an unforeseen event. Savings can help to protect you and your family from some of the worry if your situation takes a turn for the worst.
Even better, you could be an organised saver, paying regularly into your account by standing order or payroll deduction. Wouldn't it be great to have money saved for birthdays and Christmas? Or a wedding? Football season ticket? Weekend away? The sky's the limit!
You may be surprised how easy saving can be, even if it is just collecting loose change in a jar. But you could work out how much you can afford to save by writing down all the money you have coming in and all the money you need to pay out, (income and expenditure), and seeing what you have left. To help you do this, there are links to a budget planner, savings calculator and cut back calculator at the bottom of this page.
How can I pay in my money?
Payments into a credit union savings account can be made by standing order from a bank account, or by cash or cheque at a community access point (sometimes called a collection point or service point) . Some credit unions can accept payments in other ways too, including:
- Having your Benefits paid directly into a credit union account
- Via one of the local PayPoint local service points, for example, at your local newsagent.
- Payroll deduction
Contact your chosen credit union to find out how they take deposits. There is no minimum amount you must save each week and you can save as much as you like as often as you like, up to the maximum amount specified by your credit union (usually between £5,000 and £10,000). There are no penalties if you don’t save regularly, although if you do wish to apply for a Loyalty loan in the future, your savings history will be taken into account and this may affect the credit union's decision.
Do I get interest on my savings?
No. However each year the credit unions try to reward members who save by paying them a dividend (which is a share of the profit or surplus made). The amount of the dividend paid is decided by members at the Annual General Meeting.
How quickly can I withdraw my savings?
In most cases it takes about a week to process a request for a withdrawal. However, credit unions which have a collection or service point in their main office may be able to process share withdrawals immediately, as long as 2 authorised signatories are available. Your money is normally paid by cheque, though sometimes very small withdrawals may be made by cash. In all cases, the credit unions have an arrangement with a local bank so that all members can cash a credit union cheque immediately. If the cheque has a high value, the credit union needs to call the bank first to authorise it.
How will I know the balance on my account?
Most credit unions issue statements at least once a year, depending on the credit union but, they can always be made available on request. A balance enquiry can be made in person at any collection point or main credit union office. Some credit unions will give you your balance over the telephone. Alternatively they will send it in the post to you following a telephone request. You will to have to either produce ID or answer security questions. If a credit union has an online banking facility for members, their website homepage will give you this information, usually in the form of a button labelled 'Check you balance online'.
Is my money safe?
Credit unions in schools
Many credit unions work in partnership with their local primary and secondary schools, to help pupils get into the savings habit and learn money management skills. This interactive resource was developed on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government by the Wales Co–operative Centre with staff and pupils at Dyffryn School, Neath Port Talbot and Neath Port Talbot Credit Union, and is reproduced with kind permission. Click on the image below to find out more.
The Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service website has lots of quick and easy tools to help you get into the savings habit, including a Savings Calculator, Budget Planner and Cut Back calculator.
The Money Advice Service provides a free, impartial service that can help you with everything from budgeting to borrowing, savings to mortgages. Call 0300 500 5000 to talk to an adviser over the phone
You can use this calculator to find out how your savings might grow in the future or to help you work out how you can meet your savings goal.
You can use this to see how much money you have coming in, and how much you spend on bills, food, travel, going out with friends, etc. You can see what you have left to save.
Where does all your money go? The Cut-back calculator can help you see where you can make savings on things you buy regularly. It only takes 5 minutes!