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Top savings questions answered by a Progressive Branch Manager

Northern Ireland Savings Week launched in 2018 with the objective of informing, supporting and educating people and families across Northern Ireland on healthy savings habits and instilling a savings culture among local people.

As a major local provider of savings, the Society is passionate about making savings easier to understand for customers, so you know exactly what you’re looking for from a savings account.

Kevin Flannery, Progressive Building Society’s Wellington Place Branch Manager has provided answers to some of the most frequently ‘Googled’ savings queries and questions, so that all the important information you need is in the one place!

If you have a question that isn’t answered below, you can you call us, email us, pop into one of our 11 Progressive Building Society branches across Northern Ireland, or use the #NISavingsWeek on social media and we’ll be happy to help.

1. ‘Where does all my money go?’

When we don’t have an understanding of how we spend our money and do not keep track of our outgoings each month it is difficult to know what our savings capabilities are. It’s really important that you sit down and take a look at where your money goes, and what you actually spend on. Without an understanding of your financial situation and a budget or savings plan in place, of it will be hard to get into the savings habit, particularly with so many other commitments that we all have nowadays.

There is almost a skillset to saving, that people can learn and practice. We launched Northern Ireland Savings Week as a way of making saving more topical and engaging for people.

2. ‘How do I start saving?’

Developing a budget or savings plan is key. The Consumer Council NI’s free, online budget tool is a fantastic place to start. You enter income and expenditure figures which results in a spending report that allows you to break down and review your spending and see where your money is going each month. It then tells you what money you have left over at the end of the month which could be set aside as savings.

Once you’ve established what you are able to start saving you can do some research into savings accounts and where to save your money. 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. You can find out more on our website or call us, email us or pop into one of our branches.


3. ‘What is the best way to save money?’

The truth is, there is no “best” way, it depends on your personal circumstances and needs, so it’s important to find the best way that works for you. There are lots of ways to make small savings and changes to our spending habits can allow us to put away extra pennies for bigger savings goals. Here are just a few ideas of small ways to save money:

  • When doing your grocery shopping why not try some supermarket own brands instead of the more expensive ones - they are often much cheaper and don’t always taste much different
  • Write a list before you go shopping, and stick to it – this will prevent you making impulse buys and unplanned purchases, which all add up and cost money
  • Check prices carefully – sometimes the larger packet isn’t always the best value for money, check prices of different quantities of the items you want, so comparing different packaging will help ensure that you buy the best value.
  • Consider switching your energy provider or insurance company and shop around for the best deal
  • Turn off appliances and lights when they are not in use – not only is this a small way of doing your bit for the environment, the cost of electricity builds up over time
  • Set aside your savings on pay day - you could set up a standing order from your current account into your savings account at the beginning of the month rather than leaving it until the end of the month and putting away what is left over. You’ll save more this way and make more consistent steps towards your savings goal.

4. ‘How can you teach your child how to manage / save money?’

Make it fun and set up a pretend shop at home. Give your kids a certain amount of money and create scenarios such as asking them to buy three items with their money or work out how much change they would get back, or give them pocket money for sweets or toys, and do this in real life at a shop. By learning how transactions work in a familiar environment, they'll understand how to manage money better in the real world.

When they are very young buy them a piggybank so they can learn about saving and watch the money building up, and as they get older consider taking them to a building society or bank to open up their own savings account.

5. ‘How can I stop worrying about money?’

Managing our finances and bills and dealing with debt needs careful management and can become a real concern for many people. The anxiety is only made worse when we try to deal with it alone. The most important thing to remember is to not avoid dealing with your financial worries on your own, open up to someone you trust and seek some expert advice on how to draw up a budget or debt management plan. If you have a better understanding of your finances and plan ahead as much as possible this will help to mitigate some of the worries you might have. Money is undoubtedly a big concern for many people, particularly in the current climate where a lot of us have less disposable income than we are used to. Staying organised and writing everything down can be helpful – you will see exactly how much money you have, and how much you need to spend on each bill or other expense, so you’ll know exactly how much money you have available. It’s also important to open up, and not deal with financial worries alone.  The phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is also true with money stress – speak to friends family, or even your bank, building society or other financial provider and they can help you come up with a manageable plan for dealing with your money concerns.

If the worries are building up and you feel like you need some support there are a range places you can look to for help and advice, including Action Mental Health, our charity partner for this year’s NI Savings Week. Visit their website.

Speak to our team today

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.

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