By Kylie James, Team Leader – Crwys Road Food store
I’ve worked for Co-op on and off for 15 years – I keep coming back! That’s because I love our Co-op and how we look after our colleagues, especially when it comes to wellbeing.
You might have heard about Wagestream – it’s a fairly new benefit for colleagues which lets us access some of the pay we’ve earned ahead of our next payday. It also offers hints, tips and short in-app courses to help you discover how to manage your money. I totally recommend it – it’s amazing! I’d like to share why I signed-up to it and why it was the right solution for me. It’s helped me manage my money so much better and I feel much more in control when it comes to my personal finances and power over my pay.
As a recently single parent, sometimes I’d find myself a bit short of money at the middle of the month and I’d have to rely on my friends and family to help me out. Whilst I know I can turn to them for help rather than facing into payday loans or overdrafts, I still don’t like being in debt to other people because it’s always at the back on my mind.
I first heard about Wagestream from my manager and through a poster in store. I learned that Co-op have joined with Wagestream to provide colleagues with a new benefit to help us manage our everyday money problems and help become more robust when managing our finances.
I thought it was such a good idea and I downloaded the Wagestream app to register. It only took a couple of minutes to be honest, and I was up and running with it within a few days.
How Wagestream works
The Wagestream app lets you access up to 30% of your pay as you earn it*. I’ve found that really handy, especially to help out with those unexpected costs that rear their heads sometimes. It’s not a loan, so I never have to worry about paying someone back. The funds I access are my earned wages and they’re reconciled automatically at my next payday.
Wagestream is great when it comes to saving too. You can put money aside at any moment. It’s so simple, you just have to tap and instantly some of your pay is in a savings pot – it’s safe and I know I can get to it when I want to. Each month I’ve actually got it set it up so a little money for a rainy day automatically comes out of my wage. I’ve got used to that now and I know there’s a savings pot building up for me.
I really didn’t think it would be so good and work as well as it has for me. I’ve cut my borrowing down and it’s really took the stress off me. It gives me peace of mind because I know the option’s there if I do need to dip into my wage – it’s quick and easy to do so.
You can also link Wagestream with your bank account and see all your finances on one handy screen, plus there’s a brilliant coaching app as part of the support tools too.
Feeling more empowered
I’m learning to become more savvy with my money nowadays and I’m definitely feeling more empowered when it comes to tracking what I earn, save and spend.
I’m not alone. My colleagues in store are singing the praises of Wagestream too! Some of them also use it to keep track of their working hours – another benefit of the system. You can track your contractual basic pay in real-time, review your activity history and set monthly reminders to ensure you never miss a payment for your bills.
Wagestream works for me, and it’s just one of many services available to us to help with our finances. I’ve also joined one of our credit unions which is as another way to automatically put some savings aside. I also know Co-op’s teamed up with StepChange who I can contact if I need advice to help me take control of my finances.
If I’m honest, I just wouldn’t want to work for another employer now. The benefits at our Co-op just keep getting better and there’s so much support for colleagues. Make sure you check out our managing finances and wellbeing pages on the Colleague Site to find out more.
Wagestream is not available on the Isle of Man or to colleagues under 18.
Wagestream provides financial education, but not financial advice. Colleagues experiencing debt issues or long-term money problems may want to reach out to StepChange free of charge. They’re a leading professional and confidential debt charity helping over 600,000 people a year deal with their debt issues.
If you think your well-being is suffering because of financial stress, you can also get free confidential counselling through Lifeworks.
* You’ll only have access to wages you have already earned but not yet been paid: up to 30% of your contractual basic pay (up to 3x per pay period and at a maximum of £300 per pay period) directly into your bank account. Each stream will incur a fixed convenience fee of £1.75. That is the only cost.