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Get your finances in shape in 2018

  • finances tips

Some tips for financial fitness in 2018

by Tracy Wallace

It’s that time again, where we tell ourselves that this will be the year that we lose weight, get fit, stop smoking etc, and while Slemish n tha Braid can’t help you with your personal lifestyle choices we can give you some tips to help you get your finances in shape!

1.Make a Budget

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Knowing how much you have coming in per month versus how much you have going out, and while most people might have a good idea of the figures, the simple act of writing it all down can be eye-opening!

Have a good look at your bank statements and keep a note of those essential monthly expenditures and when they are paid, a missed Direct Debit can incur unnecessary fees. If the usual payment date isn’t working for you see if you can get it changed to something a bit more suitable.



2. Keep a Spending Diary

Record all everyday spending for at least 1 week to 1 month, then review at the end of that period.

  • Did you make a list of what you needed?
  • Did you eat all the food you bought?
  • Did you impulse buy?
  • Are trying cheaper brands an option?
  • Did you shop around?
  • Can you reduce some expenditure? eg take a packed lunch to work as opposed to buying one
  • Try to avoid making any purchases at least one day per week


3. Know how much you are being charged for credit

Do you know the interest rate on your credit card/cards? Do you pay them off in full every month or pay the minimum? While credit cards can help your credit score and protect your purchases, it’s important to not let their use get out of hand. If you need to use them regularly to make it through the month you might be in trouble. Did you know that a £1000 spend paid back at the minimum rate on an average credit card can take 27 yrs to pay off?

The average rate is now 23.2% compared to just 15.3% in 2006, and experts are predicting more rises and the decline of the 0% offer rate.

int rates

Do you have an agreed overdraft? How much does it cost you per month? Do you ever go over your agreed overdraft and if so, how much does that cost you?

Do you have any personal loans and how much are they costing you?

The temptation of speedy access to credit through Pay Day and Doorstep lenders can be easy to succumb to but the consequences can be devastating, leading to a debt spiral which only goes one way…..DOWN!


4. Plan for your year ahead

What do you want from 2018? Is an annual holiday in the sun a must? Are home improvements or a car upgrade on the horizon in the next year? If so, how do you intend to pay for them?

What about things like school uniforms and next Christmas?

Be mindful of other upcoming expenses as well, receiving a wedding invitation is lovely but the associated costs can  severely reduce your bank balance!


5. Have an emergency fund

Keep an emergency fund that’s easy to access, but not too easy!

Even with the most careful of planning, you can’t predict when your washing machine is going to pack up or that rattle coming from somewhere in your car so keeping a little emergency money tucked away for such times is always a good idea.

Try to keep it somewhere its just that little bit harder to access so reducing the temptation to fritter it away!




6. Be honest with yourself about YOUR financial reality

We’d all love to have the latest gadgets and the best quality in everything, but be realistic about your finances and live within your means.

This is by no means easy to do when your surrounded by the concept of  ‘Want it now?… Get it now!’ all too prevalent in today’s society, and the idea that happiness and contentment come from owning things you don’t really need.

Is the latest model of phone or those designer trainers really worth getting yourself in debt for?





So how can we help?

The purpose of a Credit Union is simple, allowing members to save money and access low interest rate loans, and with their ‘not for profit, for people’ ethos, members are rewarded with an annual dividend.

Open a Christmas or Jamjar account to help save for specific things and if you do need access to credit for those bigger purchases or want to consolidate debt, just contact us for a quote. Our lower loan rates on larger loan amounts (over £3000) is still on offer.

To open an account just bring photographic ID and a proof of address. It costs just £5 to open an account.

To make a loan application we will require supporting documentation of  2-3 months bank statements and proof of income.

No appointments are necessary for new members or loan applications.

Contact Details

Call Tracy and the Team today  on 028 2564 8641


Visit Us at The Raglan, 20-24 Queen Street,  Ballymena, Co. Antrim,  BT42 2BD (See Opening Time HERE)

Credit Union Ballymena Raglan Branch

Come visit us at the Raglan Branch

Speak to one of expert advisors about savings or loans

The Raglan, 20-24 Queen Street,
Ballymena, Co. Antrim BT42 2BD
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