Saving may not be a top priority for many but in Diana Pearson-Beale’s world it’s an absolute must.
Diana believes that, as difficult as it can be to set aside money at times, being in a savings habit is the key to a brighter future, not just for her but for her 18-year-old son Akil.
Inspirationally she has spent the last seven years raising Akil on her own, and has done so on a modest income. The spare pennies are not in abundance, but when there are some they are invested wisely.
Diana, who lives in Sneinton, regularly visits our West Bridgford branch when her work as a carer brings her to the area.
And in getting to know the friendly, professional team in-branch Diana has also had her head turned by other offerings - she has taken out a home insurance policy as well as becoming very aware of the society’s estate agency arm.
The latter is something that gives Diana added interest as her savings plan aim, ultimately, is to raise enough cash for a house deposit.
Diana takes up the tale: “I have been a saver at heart ever since I was a child - it has always been important to me. You never know what is around the corner so it is important to put money aside.
“My recent re-focus on savings came through adversity when seven years ago, at a time when I was studying at university, looking after a son with health problems and working six nights a week, my husband decided to divorce me and move back to Jamaica.
“Having never previously owed anyone anything I was in a situation where I was staring into a world of arrears and debt. It spiralled and there were some nights when I went to bed and wished I wouldn’t wake up at all in the morning.
“But deep down, under the pain, I knew I had to do the right things to get back on track - as much for Akil as anything. To make sure he has a roof over his head and everything he needs.
“I was absolutely committed to getting back on track, and slowly but surely managed to do so by simply saving what little bits I could. The amounts do grow over time, it’s about being disciplined enough to be in the savings habit.
“In 2011 my dad, who had been suffering with prostate cancer, died back home in Jamaica and I also took on the responsibility of looking after my mum financially. It was incredibly difficult, and stressful, to take that on as well but I wanted to do it, and that meant even more focus on saving.
“All these years on things are still extremely tight but in my world it’s all about sacrificing on things, like new shoes for myself and nights out, and prioritising looking after my family and saving.
“The aim now, with the help of the fantastic team at The Nottingham, is to try and save enough for a house deposit so Akil and I can have a place we own and so that he is set up for the future.”
Diana first visited us about six months ago, following a bad experience in a bank and on recommendation from the daughter of one of the patients she cares for.
And she hasn’t looked back - as well as her visits to deposit funds into her savings she will also soon be looking at other aspects of ensuring she has a brighter financial future, such as life insurance.
Diana adds: “After all the trauma I started saving again by collecting pound coins and then when the new five pounds notes came out I started adding those to my funds too whenever I had one or two.
“I went to one high street bank where I held an account with a bag of pounds, pennies and a few fivers and they refused to take them as a deposit. I was really upset and when I told the daughter of a patient I care for she recommended The Nottingham instead.
“She made me promise I would visit the branch in West Bridgford and I’m so happy that I did.
“The team there have been so welcoming and supportive with what I am trying to achieve. They always make me feel comfortable - often with a welcoming drink - and are always accommodating. They are warm and treat me like a person, not just a customer.
“My advice to anyone looking to save is that it’s never too early, or too late. And I would recommend The Nottingham because you won’t be turned away even if you only have £1 to invest - quite the opposite. They will do all they can to support you to get into the savings habit.”