ASH Scotland Inequalities Development Lead, Tracey Rogers, asks: how would you feel about saving, or helping someone else to save, £1,500 a year, every year? You would probably feel that was too good an opportunity to miss – and I’d like to suggest that it is.
I also have plenty of suggestions, if you need them, for what could be done with that extra cash:
- save some (of course) for that rainy day
- spend a bit on something special for the family
- replace household items
- pay off the credit card bills which are costing a fortune in interest
Tackling financial problems, like taking action to lead a healthier lifestyle, can seem like a difficult challenge. But while there are gains to be made in searching through price comparison websites or closely reading the labels on food, there’s one simple action which easily dwarfs either of those in terms of boosting your health and your wealth.
There are a number of ways in which smoking affects personal finances – but just one obvious solution can change all of that.
Of course stopping smoking for good isn’t going to be easy for everyone. But a novel partnership has been set up to provide a new kind of support.
ASH Scotland has teamed up with West Lothian Credit Union and NHS Lothians’ Smokefree services to launch Cashtray – a new savings account where anyone stopping smoking can set their own savings goal and divert some of the money they would have spent on tobacco towards meeting it.
For West Lothian Credit Unions Manger John McClay the message is clear
“Our mission is to provide affordable financial services to our members, and what could be more affordable than a savings scheme that pays for itself?
I was shocked to learn how much it costs to smoke tobacco, particularly when most people who smoke say that they want to stop. If this scheme can help just 100 local people to stop smoking then that will give a £150,000 boost to our community every single year.”
Over the next year the Cashtray pilot will
- offer stop smoking support to all Cashtray account holders in the West Lothian area to assist them in meeting their savings goal
- waiver the Credit Union annual fee and joining fee waivered for the first 100 customers opening a cash tray account
Promotional materials have been distributed around the area and are available from the Credit Union.
The following story highlights one personal story of quitting and saving through West Lothian Credit Union…
“Two and a half years ago I gave up smoking and began to put the money into my account in the Credit Union each week. I opened an account in the credit Union a long time ago because I was told it was a good place to put your money in. I then proceeded to save all my small coins from my purse every day into my account which soon mounted up.”
“Each week I put the money I would have spent on cigarettes into my account in the credit union. Within nine months I had saved enough money from my cigarettes to pay for a cruise to the Caribbean…”
If you are interested in the Cashtray account, or know someone who might benefit from it, then you can find out more and get in touch.