4 top tips for a January financial boost

If you’re navigating your way through a Christmas spending hangover this month, you’re not alone. January can be a very challenging month with the extra costs of Christmas starting to bite just as the credit card bills start arriving at the end of the month, but the good news is we’re here to help.

Here’s a roundup of some of our top tips and ways we can help you get this year – and your bank balance – off to the best start possible.

1. Reduce your cost of borrowing

If you need to borrow, we know it can be tempting to dip into your overdraft or just click on one of those too-good-to-be ‘buy now, pay later’ deals – but beware! you could be paying far more than you need to.

Sadly, all too often we see members getting into trouble with what started out as just a few pounds here as a quick-fix. Even worse, many turn to borrowing from high-cost and payday lenders. You can end up repaying many times what you originally borrowed thanks to sky-high interest rates.

If you do need to borrow – even small amounts – the credit union is here to help. We’ll consider lending anything from £50 and our maximum interest rate (on the Child Benefit-linked Family Loan) is only 35% APR. That’s even cheaper than your bank would charge you to use an arranged overdraft these days. What’s more, depending on how much you want to borrow, rates on our standard loans start from just 11.8%.

Why? It’s simple really – our interest rates are competitive because we are a not-for-profit organisation owned by you – our members – and run solely for the benefit of members. We’re here to help, not to catch you out.

Try our loans calculator to see if we can save you money next time you need to borrow.

2. Consolidate your debts

If you’ve got debts outstanding with other lenders, it can be tricky to keep a track of repayments or to know when the end is in sight if you’re just paying back the minimum each month. What’s more, you could be paying more interest than you need to.

Our consolidation loans have helped hundreds of members take control of their debt. We can arrange to clear your higher-rate loans with other providers or outstanding balances on credit cards, leaving you with one affordable monthly payment.

With no hidden costs or arrangement fees and competitive rates of interest from 16.8% on our consolidation loans, a Co-op Credit Union loan could be the way to clear that expensive overdraft or credit card bill, or consolidate multiple debts into one, making them more manageable and potentially more affordable too. Find out now if we could save you money on your loan repayments with a consolidation loan.

3. Check your benefits

£16 billion of benefits remain unclaimed in the UK each year – and you might be surprised to learn that many credit union members are missing out on help they are entitled to.

According to recent findings from our partners at InBest, 90% of credit union loan applicants are entitled to benefits and 70% of credit union loan applicants are missing on average £465/month.

If you’re not sure that you’re getting the help you’re entitled to, then use our Benefits Calculator to find out what you could claim. By entering a few details about your situation, the tool will provide a free and impartial assessment of all the benefits you are entitled to and what you have to do to claim them.

It only takes a few minutes and could be well worth your time.

4. Get Saving

We offer a range of ways to save regularly: either from your pay packet, Child Benefit or by direct debit; towards a goal – maybe next Christmas a holiday– or just for a rainy day. Saving with The Co-op Credit Union couldn’t be easier.

If you’re already a member, then you’ll already have made a start with your savings habit, but don’t forget – it’s simple to change the amount you save or set up different savings pots with us too. And even a pound or two extra each week builds up over time.

And what’s more, as you build up your saving history with us, you’re also building up a reserve that will help us lend more to you than we otherwise might be able to should the unexpected need arise. So that’s double the peace of mind.