We're here to support you

If you’re feeling the strain financially, we're here to support you

There’s no doubt that these are tough times financially. Everyone in the UK is facing higher energy bills, and as the prices of fuel, food and daily essentials rise, many of us will be feeling the squeeze each month and will be worried about the winter ahead.

As a mutual organisation, we’re here to do everything we can to support you through it. From adjusting your loan to fit within your other outgoings, to offering educational resources about the latest changes and sources of help, to providing a free savings account if you’re able to put some money aside. We’re in this together and we’re dedicated to the financial health of all our members, as always.  

Let us know if your financial situation has changed

If your circumstances have changed and you’re worried about keeping up repayments on your loan, it’s important to let us know. That way we can work with you to find ways to help. Tackling the issue before you get to the point of being unable to pay means you’ll be less likely to go into arrears. As a small organisation, we have the flexibility to adapt your loan terms by reducing your regular payments over a longer timeframe, for example, changing the frequency of your payments for easier budgeting, or arranging a payment holiday to give you a break if things are particularly tight.

Everyone’s situation is unique, and our in-house member support team are here to listen and provide help and advice when you need it. You can reach the team through the member portal, or by emailing membersupport@gwcu.org.uk.

Making your money go further

When your outgoings are rising, it’s important to make sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to as well as cutting out any wasted expenditure. You can check any benefits or extra seasonal payments you might be able to claim using a government recommended online calculator like the ones at Entitledto or Turn2us.

Making and sticking to a regular budget can help you get a clearer picture of where your money is going and where any overspending is happening. When you know how much money you’ve got to spend on certain areas, it can make you feel in control and give you peace of mind about your spending throughout the month. There are plenty of free budgeting tools available, such as the popular MoneyHelper’s guide to budgeting and MoneySavingExpert’s budget planner.

There’s no doubt that energy bills are going to be making up a larger chunk of everyone’s spending in the coming months. And even though the price per unit is now capped, your bill will still reflect the amount of energy you use as a household. Aside from the obvious advice about turning the heating down by one or two degrees and draught-proofing your home, there are other steps you can take to make your home more efficient and keep your energy use down. Energy Saving Trust has some quick tips, and Money Saving Expert has a longer list along with a chart showing how much power a standard appliance uses.

If you have a little extra, keep saving

When things are particularly tight, saving may be the last thing on your mind. But if you are able to put some money aside each month or fortnight, even a small amount, you’ll soon build up a cushion for unplanned events or emergencies.

As a member, you automatically get a free Easy Saver account, or if you know you’ll be able to save regularly, you can apply to open a Christmas Saver account or Cash ISA.

Make the most of free advice and support

There are lots of organisations offering free advice about how to manage your finances and how to cope with the rising cost of living. If you need help and support around managing or understanding debt, you’ll find lots of information on the Citizens Advice Bureau and Step Change websites.

Whatever your financial situation, the best plan of action is to seek support as soon as you know you might need it. Our advisors offer a judgement-free service, and we’ll do what we can to get you through these uncertain times.

 

Published by
Team GWCU
Posted on
27 October 2022