It feels like next Christmas is a million miles away, and if you’re like me, you don’t want to see another string of tinsel, mistletoe or mince pie for as long as possible!
It sounds boring but now is the time to start thinking about putting money aside so there’s no panic spending on the plastic when it gets to December 2011.
According to a moneysavingexpert.com poll, 18% of people that voted have already started buying gifts, but 49% have not yet bought anything, including Christmas cards, wrapping paper and decorations.
Although pay day always seems to take ages to come round in January, it appears that some of us still manage to free up the extra cash to pick up the Christmas bargains in the New Year sales.
If you’re not one to plan so much that you’re buying gifts and decorations already, you could consider saving for Christmas instead.
So what exactly is a Credit Union?
Credit Unions are small ethical organisations that are set up by communities with common interests. For example, they might work in the same industry, such as a Teachers Credit Union or a Police Credit Union, or they could live in the same area, or belong to the same trade union or church.
They are non-profit financial organisations that offer services such as savings, loans and current accounts to their members. Run ‘by the members, for the members’, participants have a real say in how the Credit Union is managed.
The co-operative values and principles of credit unions mean members have full control of their own financial business, keeping the benefits in the community.
According to The Association of Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL), there are 40,258 credit unions in 79 countries all over the world. There are around 450 Credit Unions in the UK with 788,257 members.
What do Credit Unions do?
Credit Unions provide a financial ‘community’, so each of its members can benefit, rather than paying out to third party shareholders. They can offer savings accounts, affordable loans, current accounts, life insurance and in some cases funeral plans and cash-based Child Trust Funds
Credit Unions are particularly useful for those who can’t benefit from high street lenders, possibly because of poor credit rating. Often, their products are competitive and can sometimes even beat deals that can be found in mainstream finance.
There’s no excuse
So with all of the saving plans that are available, there’s no excuse for realising too late that there’s no money left for Christmas gifts and over committing on credit instead. Don’t be the one asking for debt help at this time next year – be prepared.
You can find a local Credit Union through Find Your Credit Union, and for more details check out the ABCUL website.
Have you started thinking about Christmas 2011 yet? Are you a member of a Credit Union? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.