Back To School Costs

Back To School Costs

It may still be the summer holidays but many parents are already preparing for the back to school time of year. The Irish League of Credit Unions has recently released the results from their annual survey of the costs of sending children back to school. 72% of parents feel the back to school spend is a financial burden, with more than a quarter (27%) saying the costs will impact negatively on household bills. However, more parents than ever are now in a position to finance back to school costs through their monthly income 71% compared to previous years.

Borrowing

From the survey, 29% of parents said they will borrow to fund the back to school costs. Of those who said they would have to borrow, the average amount borrowed is €345 this year. Primary school parents on average borrow €310, this is significantly less than secondary school parents who borrow €415.

A rise in the numbers using moneylender was small, we would find any increase like this concerning and would really encourage parents to instead talk to their local credit union, where interest rates are fair and capped by law. We would encourage all members borrowing to come and talk to us first. Your credit union is here to help! You can now make a loan enquiry through our website here at any time and anywhere!

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The vast majority of parents believe that Irish schools aren’t doing enough to support them in helping to keep costs down. With more than three quarters holding this view. The figure is even higher for parents of secondary school students at 85%! A clear indication that parents don’t think that schools are doing enough!

Other Highlights

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From the survey, it is good to see that more parents than ever are able to cover the back to school costs through their monthly income! However, it is still very clear that back to school costs are a financial burden on families. It forces parents to make tough choices on basic items and sacrifice spending on family holidays and even food.

For more information on back to school costs can be found on the ILCU website.

Jimmy Brohan

Jimmy Brohan

With the opening of the Rockies Hurling Alleys this weekend we took a look at the man they’re named after, Jimmy Brohan. Jimmy was a founding member of St. Michael’s Credit Union. In the beginning, we only had a temporary office at the Confraternity Hall.

Jimmy was an extremely active member of St. Michaels and served on the Board of Directors and as a volunteer from 1969 onwards.  As you can see below in our Annual Report from 1974 Jimmy served as the Vice Chair. For many years Jimmy could be found on a Friday serving his fellow members at the counter as well as fulfilling his other duties. Today Jimmy is still coming into the credit union he helped to found and chatting with staff who always enjoy seeing him.

Our partnership with the Rockies Academy is another demonstration of local organisations working together to best serve our members. The naming of the hurling alleys after Jimmy is a fitting tribute to a club legend, a man of the community and one of the great Cork corner backs. We would like to thank the Rockies for the invitation to the Opening Ceremony this Saturday at 11.30 am. Our Chair Person; Declan Lynch will be saying a few words and presenting the cheque to the Rockies Academy. More details on the opening ceremony can be found here; Rockies.

Thinking of a new 172?

Thinking of a new 172?

Thinking of a new 172? A Credit Union Car Loan has benefits that you simply don’t get elsewhere! We’ve highlighted the difference between a loan with our Credit Union and PCP finance.

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  • Unlike a PCP you own the car from the outset.
  • You can sell the car on at any time.
  • You can borrow for the full amount.
  • There are no hidden fees, admin charges, transaction charges, set up costs or balloon payments.
  • Repayments are calculated on your reducing balance, so you pay less interest with each repayment
  • The interest you pay on a credit union loan is the full cost of the loan so it is fully transparent.
  • Your credit union loan is insured in the event of your death – subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria – at no direct cost to you.
  • You can pay off your loan early, make additional lump sum repayments or increase your regular repayments, without a penalty. Other lenders may charge you extra for paying them back faster!

These benefits aren’t only for people buying a new car. They apply to many different types of loans.

PCP Pitfalls

  • You don’t own your car until the final payment is made
  • Most PCP’s require a large balloon payment at the end to terminate the agreement
  • Most PCP’s have restrictions in respect to the condition of the car and/or the mileage you incur. A lot of wear and tear may also mean you do not get the full value of the car agreed at the start of the deal. High mileage can mean a lower minimum guaranteed value.
  • PCP’s are a way of trying to ensure that you will come back and buy another car from the same dealer or manufacturer. All well and good, but what if you don’t like the brand of car or range they have to offer anymore?
  • If you have a crash and the cost of the repairs is greater than 66% of the original list price then you may also not get the minimum value you were hoping for.
  • Because a lot of the repayments are deferred, the interest costs may be low initially, but the total ends up being high over the full length of the agreement.
  • Dealers and car-company banks are able to offer lower interests rates on the deals for the first three to five years because they retain ownership of the vehicle, lowering their risk.

Example of a Car Loan

Rate: 7% (7.23% APR)   Amount: €15,000

Loan Period: 5 Years

Weekly Repayments: €68.38

Total Repaid: €17,777.75

You can get your own loan estimate by using our Loan Calculator.

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A Student Loan

A Student Loan

St. Michael’s Credit Union isn’t here for profit, we’re here for people! At St. Michaels, we understand the positive effect a student loan with your credit union can have. We also have our Bursary Draw for €1,500 and invite all students to apply!

Covering College Costs

A student loan can help in a variety of ways whether it’s paying for;

  • College Fees
  • Accommodation
  • Books
  • Course Material
  • Living Expenses
  • Transport

This can be an expensive stage in anyone’s life but you’ll find your local credit union is there to help. Call in for a chat today and we’ll soon have you sorted for the year ahead. Our staff are happy to provide guidance and answer any questions you might have. We only propose student loans with realistic terms, which you can pay back in a way that works best for you. Last year we also posted on college accommodation and the cost of third level education to help our members have the best understanding.

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Cost of College 2016

The Benefits

As with all credit union loans, there are a number of benefits that you simply don’t get anywhere else. The benefits include;

  • No administration fees or transaction charges
  • You can pay back your student loan early without facing a penalty
  • Flexible repayment options
  • You pay interest only on the reducing loan balance

How To Apply

The student can apply for the loan on their own account with a parent/guardian to sign as a guarantor or the parent/guardian can apply on their own account. It’s that easy! You can use our Loan Calculator to get an estimate.

Tony Burke €1,500 Student Bursary

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The bursary is available to Leaving Cert students who are attending any third level course. More details can be found HERE.

Remember, in your local credit union, you are not a customer, you are a valued member! 

Tips For Reducing Exam Stress

Tips For Reducing Exam Stress

The Leaving Cert is fast approaching and we’ve put together a few tips to help students reduce their stress levels!

Your Mental Health

It’s important to remember that exams aren’t everything and whatever happens you can still be successful in life! The Leaving Cert doesn’t define you as a person and once you have an exam done try to forget about it.

Don’t keep things bottled up. Talking to someone you trust and who will be supportive is a great way to alleviate stress and worry. Chat to people who’ve been through the Leaving Cert or your friends that are also doing the exams.

Most of all believe in yourself! If you prepare for the exams properly you should do fine, meaning that there is no need to worry excessively.Take Control

Take steps to overcome problems. If you find you don’t understand some of your course material, getting stressed out won’t help. Instead, take action to address the problem directly by seeing or talking to your teacher or getting help from your classmates or even look online for a solution.

Know your Leaving Cert timetable and make yourself aware of the sequence of exams and how they are scheduled. Make sure your family knows of these important dates. Put the timetable in an easy to view spot like the fridge.

The number of students that don’t prepare a personalised study plan is surprising! Websites and Apps are available to help create one, with GoConqr being a good example. GoConqr’s calendar tool will help you align your goals with your day-to-day study. With some initial effort, you can become more productive and motivated each day you approach your study. Don’t try to copy how others study, work out what is best for you.Prioritise your subjects and allocate time to revising each subject area.

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We bet you don’t even realise the number of times you check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever else throughout your day? All this time adds up quickly and amounts to a significant amount of time. It can be hard to break away from your social life outside of studying but keeping the end goal and timeframe in mind will ease the process. It will be done before you know it!

There are productivity websites available to help you block out those online distractions! We recommend the SelfControl website blocker.Take Control (2)

Students feel as if they should spend their entire time before exams with their books open and their pen in hand. However, research has proven that exercising such as taking a walk can boost your memory and brain power. Regular exercise, around 30 minutes a day for students, is crucial for both body and mind, at it releases endorphins. During the Leaving Cert exams, use whatever stress reliever works best for you. To get a short break to help clear your mind.

During the Leaving Cert exams, use whatever stress reliever works best for you. It doesn’t have to be a sport, it could be music, playing a console, Netflix or anything else that helps you relax. To get a short break to help clear your mind.Take Control (3)

Sleep is a necessity! Avoid drinking stimulants like Monster and Red Bull in the evening. Aim for a minimum of seven hours sleep a night. You’ll wake up feeling more energised and less burned out and groggy than if you stayed up late. When energised in the morning you’ll be far more productive.

Our Bursary

If you’re thinking about college our Student Bursary has been increased to €1,500! It has also it has also been expanded to include all third level institutions and courses. The application for is available here;

Application Form

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Travel On A Budget

Travel On A Budget

Travelling and everything that goes with it can add up quickly and become expensive. As with everything in life, there is a savvy way to do things! Being savvy with travel means you can keep the costs down but still have a fantastic time. Meaning you don’t miss out on exploring the world. Take a look at these tips on how you can travel cheap while getting that rich experience.

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Airbnb

Everyone has stayed in hotels and/or hostels. However, not everyone has tried  Airbnb ! their accommodation falls into that budget accommodation sweet spot. Less expensive than a hotel yet more comfortable and private than a hostel. It all really depends on how much you want to spend. Using Airbnb, you can find hosts with rooms to rent or entire homes! You can filter your search based on any budget and they have secure listings across 190 countries. All hosts are rated and reviewed by others so you can easily see if it’s a place that suits. Hosts are often more than happy to point you in the way of the best spots to eat, drink and the must see sights.

Why not become a host and make some travel money? Put up your place on Airbnb while on your holidays and generate a little extra spending money.

Booking Flights

Try To Be As Flexible As Possible

Look at the prices of flights to your chosen location over the course of a month to see when the cheapest time to fly is. There is a search tool with Google that allows you to visualise price changes over any given time period. However, peak times of year are always going to be expensive.

Skyscanner & Kayak

Skyscanner and Kayak are really useful services that search across dozens of airline providers to bring you the best deals.  You can easily search and compare flights to any airport in the world! When you use them, try to be as flexible as possible with your dates and destinations. Cool features on both websites are the price alerts (informing you of price changes) and you can look at the price across a whole month. If you’re undecided you can simply choose anywhere as a destination! Avoid unnecessary upgrades as they only marginally improve travelling and the money can be used elsewhere on your travels.

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Research and Plan

Putting together an itinerary or a daily/weekly plan for your trip will allow you to allocate your budget effectively based on the activities that you want to do and keep tabs on what you are spending. There are plenty of websites and Apps available to make this easier. Loney Planet started as travel guide books but have developed beyond this to incorporate much more.

Freebies!

There are lots of things you can do to have a rich cultural experience on a budget. It’s just a matter of doing your research, which the internet makes easier than ever. Asking others can also be a great source of info in person or online. For example, oftentimes museums have ‘Free Days’ midweek. In most cities, you are sure to find free walking tours available provided by local guides but often you are expected to tip. These tours are a great way to see a city. This is also a great opportunity to meet more travellers who may have some savvy travelling advice to share too.

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One of the biggest holiday expenses is food. Tourist and backpacker destinations are notoriously expensive so ask around and find out where the locals eat. If staying with an Airbnb host ask them for a suggestion. This may be outside the main commercial areas but you are sure to have a more authentic experience and to find some hidden gems. It’s also a great way to explore a city through its food!

Talk to us today about a holiday loan and get to seeing the world!

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Invest In Your Nest!

Invest In Your Nest!

We’re lending to members who are looking to invest in their nest! This could be used for a new washing machine, painting a child’s room, making changes to the kitchen, getting more from your garden or any other home improvement you’re planning. The amount you invest in your nest doesn’t matter, your credit union is here for you!

The Benefits of a Credit Union Loan

  • The peace of mind with loan protection insurance.
  • Lump sum repayments.
  • You can clear the loan early without any penalty.
  • No hidden charges.
  • Your repayments are calculated on the reducing balance of your loan.

Examples of home improvement loans with St. Michael’s Credit Union;

 

Use our Loan Calculator to get an estimate on the exact amount you would like to borrow here. St. Michael’s Credit Union has a loan approval rate of 94%! Talk to us today to invest in your nest!

What you need when applying for a loan;

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Home Energy Grant

Homeowners can avail of the grant through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland provides funding through the Better Energy Homes a government programme. The grants provided apply to home insulation and heating system. To date over 335,000 homeowners have received grants. These grants have helped people to save on their heating bills, make their homes warmer and cosier. It also does a little to combat climate change! We have more information on availing of the grant here.