Savings, loans and borrowing money
You can stay in control of your finances by knowing how to save money effectively, when to borrow and how to get help with debts.
Saving money can be difficult to manage, but with a few small changes you may be able to put away a little bit of money. This can help you cope in the event of an unplanned expense or change in circumstances.
Saving a little at a time isn’t just planning for the future – it can also help you afford to buy new gadgets or home appliances, or go towards a family holiday or celebration.
Open a specialist account
Our partner organisation Leeds Credit Union offers a variety of savings accounts, including a Christmas Club specifically designed to help you save up for the festive season.
For keeping control of your regular bills and expenses, Leeds Credit Union also has a bill paying account. You pay in a set amount each month to cover outgoings like rent and utility bills, so you can use the rest of your income for day-to-day expenses or saving.
Open a government Help to Save account
The government’s Help to Save account pays you an extra 50p for every £1 you save. You can set up an account if you’re receiving working tax credit or universal credit, and can save between £1 and £50 each month. You don’t have to pay money in every month.
Borrowing money safely
If you need to borrow money, make sure you do so in an affordable way through a legitimate lender. Responsible lenders will help you understand the risks and impact of taking out a loan. They’ll give you clear details of how much you need to pay back and when.
Before you take out a loan
- Check the interest rate and APR.
- Confirm how much you have to pay each month and in total.
- Find out about penalties for missed or late payments.
Leeds Credit Union loans
We’ve partnered with Leeds Credit Union to give you access to responsible loans. Leeds Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that offers a range of financial services.
Avoid loan sharks
You should avoid borrowing money from loan sharks. All legal lenders are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The following are signs a loan may not be legal and is being provided by a loan shark:
- you’re offered a cash loan
- there’s no paperwork
- large amounts of interest or APR are added to your loan
- your bank card, benefit card, passport, or valuables are taken from you
- you feel threatened.
We work with an organisation called Stop Loan Sharks to crack down on these criminals and protect communities from the harm they cause. The Stop Loan Sharks team also offers help to anyone who has become a victim of a loan shark. Their help is free, confidential and will give you the protection and support you need.
How one resident saved for Christmas
One of our residents shares how she managed to save money for a Christmas treat for her daughter.
“Although I’d tried to squirrel away spare pennies, in the run-up to Christmas I was feeling sick and worried. In the end, my daughter’s presents came from her grandparents and Christmas was delivered on a shoestring.
“The next year, I decided to open a Christmas Saver account with Leeds Credit Union. I chose a monthly deposit, which was taken from my wages before it was swallowed up by bills. For me, it was a great way to save.
“This year, my daughter and I are going to Paris for Christmas – what a difference a year makes.”