Northern Ireland Savings Week (September 26-30) arrives at a time when people and families across the region are keeping a very close eye on the pennies and the pounds. Household budgets already under pressure are feeling the impact of the increased cost of living, not to mention its knock-on effect on our ability to save.
When Northern Ireland Savings Week was first launched in 2018, our goal at Progressive Building Society was to support a savings culture across local communities, helping to cement the practice of putting money aside to better equip people on their journey towards financial wellbeing.
That core message still rings true for 2022, as the week is an opportunity to focus on the small savings we can make every day which can help people at this challenging time.
The Consumer Council’s 2022 Consumer Insights Survey discovered that, of the 1,000 or so people surveyed earlier this year, just over half (55 per cent) say they always have money saved for a rainy day. More telling is that, compared to any other year, respondents currently feel less optimistic about their future financial situation, citing living costs as their biggest worry.
But it is during these uncertain times when a savings pot, no matter how small, can bring reassurance and financial peace of mind, for some. So, that is why, this year, we’re focusing on those little savings that can be made every day, from choosing public transport or active travel to managing monthly subscriptions.
We understand the financial pressures and stress points put upon households. Now is a time to take stock. By focusing first on the smaller pockets of expenditure throughout our daily lives, we can begin to get a firmer grasp on our comings and goings, ensuring any money saved can go a long way towards that rainy-day fund, household bill, family trip, first-time mortgage, or other important daily or milestone events.
Save what you can, when you can, and make that first step on the path towards financial health and wellbeing. Money may not always be the easiest topic to address head-on, but at Progressive we’re committed to changing that.
This Savings Week, we have developed a bespoke Savings Guide together with Consumer Council and Action Mental Health which puts the focus on improving financial management with real-life examples of where households can cut back, including energy usage and lifestyle swaps, in order to support people in being more efficient.
Action Mental Health’s goal is to smash the stigma of mental illness for all sections of the community, which is something that really resonated with us for this year’s Savings Week. If you’re experiencing financial worries or would like advice on how to better manage your money there are also a range of places that can support, including the Consumer Council, Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service.
We see Northern Ireland Savings Week as a chance to develop positive savings habits and support those who may not be able to put money aside but can instead make small changes and grasp a firmer grip on their finances. Looking after the pennies. And the pounds.
:: Declan Moore is operations director at Progressive Building Society