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Are you stressed about saving and don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing an account to open? In this article, we’re bringing it back to basics, to help you open up to the idea of saving and make the first step on your savings journey. The first question to ask yourself is “What am I saving for?” then, “What do I really spend my money on?”. The Consumer Council’s free, online budget tool is a great place to start. You can enter your income and expenditure figures, and the tool provides you with a report identifying where your money is spent, and what money you should have left over at the end of the month . Any money that hasn’t been accounted for in your monthly expenditure could then be put towards your savings.
Once you’ve worked out how much money you can afford to save, creating a savings plan is the next step. Think about what you’re planning to save each month and then you can work out how long it will take you to achieve your savings goal. Also consider setting shorter term objectives, such as having half the amount you need by a particular date; this is a great way of making the journey seem more manageable and achieving those smaller objectives will give you the motivation to keep going! A great tip for regular saving is to set up a standing order from your current account to your savings account on payday, that way you won’t be tempted to spend the money before you put it in your savings account, and you’ll make more consistent steps towards achieving your goal.
Choosing the type of savings account you open is also very important.. There are a range of different savings accounts out there and each one will offer different benefits to suit different people, for example, Bonds involve opening your account with a lump sum, and not accessing your savings for a fixed period, while ISAs are tax-free. Banks and building societies may use financial jargon and language when providing information on the savings accounts, they offer, so do your research and make sure you understand exactly what you want, and what you would be getting, from your chosen account.
At Progressive, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about saving - we offer a range of savings accounts to suit a variety of needs from long term bond accounts to short term easy access and tax-free options. So, we have listed below some types of saving accounts we offer and an explanation of what they are.
‘Does what it says on the tin’… Instant access accounts are a good option if you want to save but also want to have quick access to your money when needed. Instant access accounts are suitable for savers who want to be able to withdraw their funds as often as required. These accounts often have a variable interest rate that is paid yearly.
Bonds are suitable for savers who do not need access to their savings and can invest a lump sum of money for a fixed period of time at a guaranteed or variable interest rate. Progressive offer Bonds with fixed rates of one to five years. Bonds can often offer higher interest rates, but they do not afford the flexibility of withdrawing from them that an Instant Access account does.
Save without having to pay tax on the interest. Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) provide options to encourage you to save without having to pay tax on the interest you earn. They too offer instant access to your money without affecting your ISA allowance.
These accounts are suitable for savers who wish to invest on a monthly basis. Often, Regular savings accounts offer limited access, but this is not as restricted as a Bond.
Children's Savings Account
It’s good to get into the savings habit early, so with this in mind, you might want to open a children’s account for your kids. Like adult accounts, there are a range of options to choose from, but children’s accounts are usually managed by a parent, guardian or grandparent, rather than the child themselves.
So now that you have a better understanding of saving and where to start, why not take that first step, get into the habit of saving regularly and watch your money grow!
To open up a savings account with Progressive, you can call us, email us or pop into one of the 11 Progressive Building Society branches across Northern Ireland to find out more.
We’d love to talk you through the mortgage process and help you find a suitable product. For more information or to apply for an account, you can call us, email us, pop into one of our 11 branches. We look forward to hearing from you.