Skibbereen Credit Union carried out a survey on the average costs of Christmas to get an idea of how much the ‘ basics’ cost and we found that most people under estimate the cost greatly. We found that while people tended to be aware of the costs of presents (approx. €650) and Christmas dinners (€250), other costs such as Christmas nights out, hairdressing appointments and new clothes for the festive period were forgotten. Costs that revolve around socialising can last well into the New Year and if the January sales shopping trips are taken into consideration, the costs can tip up to €1,500.

You can avoid financial pressure this year by using our tips for Christmas savings.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Plan how much you can afford to spend – and stick to it.

Make a list

Decide what you're going to buy in advance. If you decide in the store, you'll end up spending more!

Pay with cash where possible

Avoid loans, credit cards, store cards, catalogues and money lenders – they'll end up costing you more. Leave your credit card at home when shopping and just bring cash. It will be easier to stick to your budget and avoid temptation that way.

Compare prices

Before you buy, compare prices online and between shops. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Start saving for Christmas now

Saving just €5, €10 or €15 per week can ensure you and your family have a few less expenses to worry about.

Start shopping early

Plenty of shops have already started stocking Christmas items. Spread the cost of this year’s Christmas by buying your chocolates early and putting them away until the festive season actually starts.

Use trustworthy vendors

Buy from reputable websites and check they guarantee delivery before Christmas. Make sure you buy early as delivery can be delayed around the holidays.

Check for Sales

Many shops will have sales before Christmas. Ask around, and maybe you could get those presents for even less!

Read the small print

If you borrow or enter into a buy-now-pay-later deal, be careful. Some lenders will penalise you for paying it back early or, if you do not pay it within the interest free period, you could be subject to hefty interest payments.

Under pressure? Talk to us first

Suffering from debt stress? Already owe money lenders? Call into your local Credit Union to discuss your options.

Friends and Family are priceless

It's easy to say but it's still true – the best gift at Christmas is being together – and that costs nothing. Many families do Kris Kringle or Secret Santa gifts. Some families only give gifts to children. There are many ways of saving money without taking away the magic.

Prepare for next Christmas

This year’s Christmas may not have happened yet, but if you plan even further ahead you can save more next year. Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and cards are usually on sale just after Christmas, so if you stock up in the sales next year will be even cheaper. 

Posted on: December 1st, 2015

Posted in Budgeting, Financial Planning, Skibbereen Credit Union

Tags: , ,

If you have credit card debt and are only making the minimum monthly repayment, it can feel never ending. This is because the minimum repayment you make might be only a little higher than the interest each month so the amount you owe will reduce very slowly. Here are some tips on tackling your credit card debts.

Tips on tackling your credit card debtcredit-card-309613_640

  • Stop using your card. You can’t clear your debt if you keep adding to it. Leave your card at home to avoid temptation.
  • Pay off as much as you can each month, so that you reduce your debt as soon as possible. If you are only making the minimum repayment each month, it will take you a long time to pay off your balance. Paying as much as you can above the minimum payment could help you reach debt-free status quicker.
  • Ask your credit card provider if they will consider reducing the interest rate. This will reduce the repayment amount of your credit card debt each month.
  • Consider reducing the credit limit to an amount you can actually afford to spend each month so you are not able to run up debt you cannot repay.
  • Don’t miss repayments or pay later than the due date or you incur late payment fees. To avoid theses late payments, you can set up a monthly standing order or direct debit for the minimum monthly repayments.
  • Choose a credit card that you can access online. This will help you to track your spending and your credit card balance.
  • Avoid using your card to withdraw cash, as interest can be higher than the interest rate for purchases. There is also a cash advance fee.
  • Consider whether a debit card would be a better option for you in the long term. Or you can consider getting a prepaid card that can be used for purchases wherever a credit card is accepted.

If you are experiencing trouble making your repayments and don’t know what to do and need advice, get in touch with Skibbereen Credit Union and a member of our experienced staff will discuss the options available to you. For any further inquiries contact us on 028 21883 or online at 

Posted on: November 18th, 2015

Posted in Budgeting, Financial services, Repayment Options

The real secret to controlling your savings successfully is to know where your money is Capturegoing. Keeping track of your spending is vital to your saving ability, we are all aware of necessary big bills to be paid weekly or monthly but it can be the everyday small spending which can play havoc on our ability to save and budget properly. Keeping track of all theses requires discipline and is not easy, which is where our Budget App comes in.  

Skibbereen Credit Union's continuing commitment to providing services that are of real practical value to its members and represent a significant advance in the use of technology allow members to have direct control over their savings at their fingertips. The App can be used online or can be downloaded free to your smart-phone or tablet.

Once you are ready to enter information, you can keep tabs on all your spending under the necessary headings over a certain period of time. After a short period the app builds up an accurate profile of your spending patterns and allows you to see at a glance the strengths and weaknesses of your personal finance plans. Perhaps the amount you hoped to save monthly for the holiday is falling short, or perhaps you can see patterns of spending that you realise you can trim significantly and restore your level of savings. You can check out our online guide for more help.

Tracking your spending in this manner provides a longer view, where goals are planned for. People who adapt this approach also get a clearer picture of their habits or beliefs that they may have developed about money and may provide a much-needed wake-up call.

Posted on: October 8th, 2015

Posted in Budgeting, Financial Planning, Skibbereen Credit Union

It’s time again to start preparing your child for the new school year. While your children might be more pre-occupied with the loss of their free time over the Summer holidays and the prospect of homework, parents will have many big purchasing decisions to make. Here are a few tips to help ease the burden and let you focus at getting your child ready without the stress.

The biggest cost any parent will face each year is the school uniform. We all know that there Back-to-School-Savings-Chalkboardis a lot or wear and tear when it comes to our children’s clothes, especially with their uniform that they wear 5 days a week. Reducing the cost involved in a uniform can end up saving you a lot of money.

Most school jumpers have a crest on them, so you will need to buy this from the main suppliers, but shirts and trousers can be bought almost anywhere at a fraction of the cost. Shop around for any of the generic uniform items. Ties can also be part of a school uniform, but should last longer as it won’t need to be replaced as your child grows.

Buy a high quality schoolbag. It will last longer, and can be passed down to younger siblings or cousins as your child ages and moves onto secondary school where they’ll need a bigger bag to keep up with their workload.

Buying school stationery in bulk will also save money in the long term. Copybooks and pens don’t have an expiry date, and it’s often cheaper to buy them in bulk than individually.

If you want to set up a savings plan for your child’s education, then Skibbereen Credit Union is the place for you.  

Posted on: September 1st, 2015

Posted in Budgeting, Family Finances, Savings, Savings Advice

Create a Savings Habit and CU'r Savings Grow


Setting money aside for savings can be difficult but with a little effort and determination it can become a habit. The amount you save is not as important as establishing the habit itself. Decide on the amount and let this be your first "payment" out of your income each week.

This is what the Mon€y Saver Account with Skibbereen Credit Union is for.


How the Mon€y Saver works

  • The Mon€y Saver Account is a 2 year fixed rate deposit account with 2% AER on year one and 2% AER on year two.
  • Members must be at least 16 years of age at the time of opening the account.
  • Lodge any amount from €10 to €200 each month.
  • A minimum monthly lodgement must be made each month for the first 12 months, failure to do so will break the terms and conditions of the account.
  • Withdrawals are deemed to break the terms and conditions of the account.

Member Benefits

  • The Mon€y Saver provides you with the option to save between €10 and €200 a month and payments can be by direct debit.
  • The Mon€y Saver account can be used as security against a loan.
  • The Mon€y Saver account helps you develop the habit of saving and assists you in achieving your financial goals, e.g. a car, holidays, your children's education etc.
  • The Mon€y Saver account gives you an opportunity to teach your teenage children how to manage their money and the value of saving.

For full details on the Mon€y Saver Account, contact Skibbereen Credit Union on 028 21883 or visit our website. To open a Monéy Saver Account, call into one of our offices to speak to a member of staff.


Posted on: April 25th, 2015

Posted in Budgeting, Financial services, Savings, Savings Advice, Skibbereen Credit Union

The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) recently published their 2015 ‘Third Level Education Survey'. They asked parents and students about how they plan to meet the costs of third level education.

The results show that 59% of parents expect to get into debt to cover college costs, with €5,030 the average debt per child per college year. The research also shows that parents contribute an average of €453 per child per month, up on last year. With money worries being a big concern for parents and students, we at Skibbereen CU have come up with several tips to help new students to manage their financial needs in this new stage of their lives.


Tip 1: Work out all the new expenses you will have. For many of you, this is your first time living away from home, your first time buying your own groceries, preparing your own meals, paying bills. Without a clear plan in place, you may overspend. It is a good idea to set up a budget to help track your expenses. See our tables below for the average cost of living for college students.


Tip 2: Track your spending and income for a few weeks at the start of the college year. This will give you an idea of your average spending over the year. It will also show you instances where you were overspending and give you opportunities to cut back for the next month.


Tip 3: If you need to borrow, calculate your total borrowing requirement, but don’t draw down the entire loan immediately. This will allow you to maximise your efficiency and avoid overspending. If you are in receipt of a student grant, borrowing each term will also ensure that you need to borrow less.


Tip 4: Always shop around for the best deal. Whether this means doing your shopping in Aldi or Lidl, or buying your textbooks online, it always pays off to look for the best deal. This applies to loans and borrowing too. Always check out the different loans available, the APR and any other charges.


Tip 5: Sometimes, things can be overwhelming and it helps to talk to someone. All colleges have a support structure in place for their students. If you run into any financial difficulties, you can always talk to us at Skibbereen Credit Union.


No Grant Costs


1 Year


Rent incl. Bills


€350 a month by 9 months

Student Contribution (Fees)


Set by government at each budget

Living Expenses


€85 by 36 college weeks made up of bus €20 food €50 and other €15

Books, Printing & Stationery





All figures averaged from a survey on local college students.



With Full Non-adjacent Grant Costs



1 Year


Rent incl. Bills


€350 a month by 9 months

Student Contribution (Fees)


Set by government at each budget.

Fees Grant


Paid by Susi Grant.

Living Expenses


€85 by 36 college weeks made up of bus €20 food €50 and other €15

Books, Printing & Stationeary



Maintenance Grant


Paid by Susi Grant



All figures averaged from a survey on local college students.


Saving for College



Parents need to save…

Over 18 years

College Cost For Four Years

Cost with No Grant

€20 X 2 Parents=  €40

€40 X 52weeks=  €2080

€2080 X 18 years = €37,440



Cost with Full Non-Adjacent Grant

€7.50 X 2 Parents = €15

€15 X 52 Weeks = €780  

€780  X 18 years = €14,040


Cost with Just Fees Paid

€14 X 2 Parents = €28

€28 X 52 Weeks =€1456


€1456 X 18 year =  €26,208





Posted on: September 4th, 2014

Posted in Budgeting, Educational loans, Financial Planning, Skibbereen Credit Union

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) have said they are very concerned at the reliance of Irish people on legal and illegal moneylenders. Some families use them to keep up with their weekly expenses, while others turn to moneylenders at more expensive times of the year, especially in September when children return to school and December as Christmas approaches.mabsLogo_large

Some of these moneylenders can charge up to 270% annual interest on the money they lend, while illegal moneylenders can charge up to 400%.  Families who borrow from moneylenders face huge repayments, which they sometimes can’t afford without borrowing more money.

MABS has called for struggling families to come to them before they borrow from a moneylender. They can check to see if families are receiving all the entitlements they are eligible for and inform them of other services that they may not be aware of.

Skibbereen Credit Union offers a free and confidential money managing service to our members. We can help you create a plan to tackle debt problems and take the first step towards financial health. For more information, you can visit our website here, or call us on 028 21883. 

We are pleased to announce that our new Budgeting App will be coming soon! This new app will enable you to plan out and budget your finances to help you save money.

Keep an eye on our blog and facebook page or more information.

See below for a sneak preview!

budgeting app


Posted on: January 25th, 2013

Posted in Budgeting


We have outlined our top budgeting tips to get people through the 2012 Christmas season

 1:      Budget, Budget, Budget. 
Plan how much you can afford to spend – and stick to it.

2:       Make a list.
Decide what you're going to buy in advance. Decide in the store and you'll spend more!

3:       Pay with cash where possible.
Avoid loans, credit cards, store cards, catalogues and money lenders – they'll cost you more.

4:      If you borrow be sensible.    

Borrow where the interest is right…..not on your doorstep!

5:       Compare prices.
Before you buy, compare online and between shops. You’ll be amazed at the difference.


Posted on: December 7th, 2012

Posted in Budgeting

Tags: , ,

We are delighted to launch our new "Pay My Bills" annual loan product.
We understand during these challenging times that paying annual bills and once off emergencies can often put a tremdendous strain on your cash flow.

Why not alleviate this pressure by simply totaling your bills and using our "Pay My Bills" loan plan to spread the cost over the year.

For further details check out our website here

Posted on: March 16th, 2012

Posted in Budgeting, Family Finances, Financial Planning

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