Tools & Guides

Saving & investing guides to help plan for your family's future with long term savings or to find ways to regularly save money

Tools & Guides

A range of guides to help our customers

Covering everything from handy money saving tips, to getting your first home, to helping children understand finance; we’re here to help.

Money Saving Tips

Spring clean your finances

Spring clean your finances guide

From staying well clear of store credit cards to getting rid of unnecessary 'perks' in your current bank account, we can help to give your bank balance a good spring clean.

Download our spring clean your finances guide


Have yourself a very thrifty Christmas

Thrifty Christmas GuideChristmas can be an expensive time and the average shopper will be thinking about presents for family and friends, as well as food, drink and entertainment for the festive season. This guide offers some thrifty tips to help you reduce the cost of your Christmas shopping and get the best value for your money.

Take a look at our Thrifty Christmas Guide

Don't move... improve Guide

Don't move improve guideMoving home can be a costly affair, and instead it can often make more sense to improve the space you already have.

Our Don't move… improve Guide, highlights 12 ways to get more from your home.

Download our Don't move… improve Guide

5 Money Saving Tips for the Summer

If you are planning a holiday or day trip this summer, we have some money saving tips to help you save those all important pennies! 

1.  Ask and you may well get

When booking accommodation, travel, day trips and so on, it's well worth asking if they'll offer you any kind of discount. It doesn't hurt to ask, and is something us Brits need to get better at!

2.  Book early or late

If you're super organised you can save money on holidays by being 'first in line'. Similarly, if you have the kind of job that allows for a bit of last-minute booking, go for it.

3.  Spread the cost

The bigger the accommodation, often the better the deal. A holiday home that sleeps 12 won't usually cost six times the cost of a cottage that sleeps two, so economies of scale can really work.

4.  Watch your speed

With the cost of petrol, it pays to stick to 60 or 70mph speed limits.

5.  Pack a picnic

You can spend a fortune feeding a family of four when you're out and about, so make sure you put something together in the morning. Farm shops or pick your own sites along the way can also stock up your larder!


How to get the home you really want

Get the home you really wantFrom getting the estate agent on side to closing the deal quickly, here's what you need to know in a sellers' market. 

Download our How to get the home you really want Guide


ISAs - A Beginners Guide 

ISA guide cover thumbnail

Whether you’re saving up for a new home, your retirement or simply a rainy day, ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) can be an option to consider as they offer a way to save tax-free.

Foresters Guide to Strategic Savings

We all dream about wanting more in life, whether it's a new car, a bigger garden or a second home in the sunshine. And, with a strategic approach to saving, these dreams could become reality...

Strategic Savings Guide

If you consider the long-term and set yourself realistic targets, whatever you are aiming for could be well within your reach.

Download our Guide to Strategic Saving


A guide to summer staycations

Peruse our staycation suggestions for some home grown inspiration …..

What's on offer?

When families are looking at UK options, what sort of holidays can they expect? Of course, there are the type of holidays that were always here, but got sidelined for the Costas as foreign travel became the norm.

  • Holiday camps still dot our coastlines and many have been boosted with a great deal of investment in recent years, as providers recognise a change in fortune could be coming their way.
  • Meanwhile, Center Parcs and Bluestone have really upped the ante when it comes to entertainment and accommodation, leaving families to enjoy car-free and bike-friendly parkland, complete with swimming pools, restaurants and a great deal more.

Carry on camping

  • Caravanning and camping have also experienced a real upturn in fortunes, with 'glamping' the current buzzword. This involves very smart accommodation (Egyptian cotton sheets and a wood burner in a yurt, anyone?) - but it's still essentially sleeping in a field. For experiencing the great outdoors, a campsite is hard to beat.
  • Britain's B&Bs are also slowly catching up with this renaissance in holidaying - when you find a real gem, with friendly owners, comfy beds and a cracking breakfast, it's still one of the best ways to visit different parts of the UK.
  • In addition, farms are always looking for ways to diversify their business, and offering accommodation is one of the current favourites ( With fresh air and fine views, you'll often have the opportunity to lend a hand with the animals and see where our food really comes from, which is guaranteed to give the young ones something interesting to write about in their 'what I did in the summer' journals at school.

Home from home

  • Another novel way of holidaying is to stay in someone else's house. House swapping has been around for years but it's being rediscovered as a viable way to spend the summer weeks ( Plus, it means accommodation is free - what's not to like?
  • And, as we're surrounded by water we have hundreds of navigable miles of canals and rivers, so why not take a holiday afloat? This could include a slow moving, but ever so peaceful, barging holiday where you're in complete control of your craft, while getting younger and more energetic members of your party to open and close the locks. Or, you could even take a trip on a beautiful rigged vessel, lending a hand and experiencing the waves crashing into the bows.
  • Finally, if you've got a pair of stout walking boots and a love of fresh air, why not walk to your destination? There are so many walking trails around the UK (, many of which can be done in stages, and others, such as Offa's Dyke or Hadrian's Wall, giving you a taste of how our ancestors tried to keep one another in, or out!

A parent's guide for a (relatively) stress-free summer

With parents often taking time off work to look after children, it's great to go on adventures as a family, which gives busy families the chance to spend some quality time together without breaking the bank.

  • Out and about

Readers of a certain age will remember the BBC's Why Don't You? This legendary TV show encouraged us all to 'switch off your TV set and go and do something less boring instead'. Apart from the fact we'd have missed the show if we'd followed their advice, they always had lots of ideas to keep young people entertained during the holidays, with the majority not costing a lot.

Things like ant houses and wormeries were always high on the list, but they'd also follow young people who rode horses and went on cycling trips. Some of these may seem a world away from today's hobbies, but their enthusiasm was inspiring - take a look at for more.

  • Into the wild

If you have teenage children or grandchildren and can tear them away from video games and social networking websites, there are some real adventures to be had. All over the country you can now find people who are paid to share their knowledge of the great outdoors - where to sleep, what to eat and how to survive in general. It's great to take young people out of their comfort zone, and a bush tucker weekend could be just the ticket.

  • Green fingers

Growing your own produce from seedling to dinner plate can be an equally inspiring holiday activity. By starting with something relatively straightforward, such as tomatoes or chillies, youngsters can do their bit for family mealtimes and learn something about how our food is produced.

  • National Parks

The South Downs, that stretch across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex, recently became the UK's 15th National Park, and joins an impressive list of Britain's protected mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands ( There are year-round activities and events at each of the parks, with people willing to share their love and knowledge of these wild places.

  • Old-fashioned games

Some of the games that used to be popular when we were growing up are still found up and down the country. Hopscotch, french-skipping, kick the can, 20-20, marbles - all games that provoke fond memories for parents, and with a little encouragement these games can inspire a generation once again!

  • Club culture

Although feeling the squeeze due to government cuts, youth clubs are a sure-fire way of keeping the kids  amused. They can be found in almost every town, and give youngsters the chance to mix with other young people and use the equipment at the centre.

Many have facilities such as recording studios, musical equipment, drinks bars, pool tables and so on, and tend to charge no more than 50p for entry - a bargain!

  • Local events

Villages, towns and cities often stage festivities during the summer months to promote tourism. From tiny, local festivals to city extravaganzas, these events give you and your family the opportunity to see what's great about a place, while mixing with locals keen to show off their home. And while visiting towns and cities across the country, it's worth noting that museums and art galleries also put on lots of events, mostly free, over the summer months.

  • Don't forget

Finally, make sure you look at sites such as or before you book up any trips, to see if there are any discounts available. Try to group together with other parents to help share the costs involved, and remember to make a packed lunch before you go. Even with free events, the cost of chauffeuring everyone around can mount up, so it pays to join forces.

A guide to With Profits Funds

For a long time, savers have turned to with profits funds when they don't want to take too much of a risk with their money. Millions of people in the UK currently invest in with profits funds for their long-term financial security.

With profits funds also form the bedrock of Foresters Friendly Society's savings products - if you invest in one of them, or in our 50+ Life Cover policy, your money automatically goes into our own long-standing Order Insurance Fund.

How do with profits funds work?

With profits funds work by pooling all of the investments made by members, and then using this pot of money to invest in various kinds of assets, including shares, property and bonds. If the value of these assets grows, so does the value of the with profits fund which means the possible addition of bonuses to members' policies. Being a mutual society, Foresters doesn't have shareholders taking a slice of the pie.

Where with profits funds differ from some other kinds of stock market investment is in the way in which they are able to spread risk, making them particularly attractive to investors who are relatively cautious.

By pooling members' resources, with profits funds are able to invest in many different types of asset at the same time, so the exposure to any specific part of the market can be kept to a minimum - if shares in any particular industry sector take a tumble, the fund as a whole may be able to ride out the storm.

With some plans you may get back less than you have paid in dependent on the investment term and the conditions at withdrawal.

The secret of smoothing

With profits funds also work by spreading risk over time. This is done mainly through a safety mechanism called 'smoothing', which involves evening out market fluctuations from year to year, to help protect policyholders in the fund.

This is what we do with our Order Insurance Fund. In the good years, we may hold back a proportion of profits from the fund to then top up bonuses to members when the economic conditions are more difficult. The intention is to provide members with long-term stable growth and to help protect them from sudden market shocks. We aim to add bonuses annually and a final bonus when your plan matures or is cashed-in, if we are still holding some of the growth. Bonuses depend on the performance of the with profits fund, and their amount and frequency cannot be guaranteed.

As well as providing long-term stability, smoothing also means that much less depends on the timing of a policy maturing, or on exactly when it pays out. This is why with profits funds have traditionally been seen as a safer way of saving towards long-term goals (for retirement, for example), or providing life cover.

With Profits performance

Research shows that with profits funds can be a good bet in the long term, especially those provided by mutuals. For the past 5 years, Barnett Waddingham has surveyed the with profits sector comparing the performance of these funds. With average 1 year returns of 6.22% and five year returns of 6.85% which are both significantly in excess of inflation and interest rates available over the period, the good news is that the with profits sector is capable of providing competitive returns. Read the full press release here

Of course, this past performance is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. But with mechanisms to help safeguard your investment during the bad times, there are some very good reasons to think about with profits funds as a way of smoothing the choppy waters of the stock market and ensuring your capital is looked after sensibly.

See also: Company reports and governance

A guide to bonuses

What are bonuses?

Your monthly contributions are invested in our Order Insurance Fund along with the other Order Insurance Fund policyholders (excluding those with ethical investments). Dependent on the performance of this fund, Foresters Friendly aim to add annual bonuses to increase the value of the guaranteed maturity amount of your plan or policy.

When the time comes and your plan or policy matures, we also aim to add a final bonus to the value of the plan/policy. This is done to ensure that the plan's payout reflects your fair share of the Order Insurance Fund.

The addition of any bonuses is not guaranteed, however once a bonus has been added it cannot be taken away and will become part of the guaranteed value.

How do bonuses work?

We aim to pay bonuses in two ways: 

1.  Annually:

  • On the guaranteed maturity amount of your savings plan; or
  • On the accumulated fund of your NISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA or Investment Bond; or
  • On the guaranteed cash sum of your 50+ life cover

Once annual bonuses have been added they cannot be taken away provided that you maintain your monthly contributions.

2.  Final bonus on maturity of the plan:

When your plan/policy matures, we also aim to add a final bonus to the total value of your plan.

A guide to how we categorise risk

When choosing where to invest your money, it's important to weigh up the amount of risk you are prepared to take, in return for potential reward.

Foresters Friendly Society helps you do this, by the way we rate all our products for 'Risk and Performance'.

We use the following risk categories - Low and Medium. So when you save or invest with us - you always know exactly where you stand.

1. Low risk

Products classified as a 'Low Risk' are suitable for low risk investors, who are classed as:

  • Willing to take a minimal amount of risk only.
  • Understanding and accepting that inflation could erode the value of their money over time.

Foresters offers the following products in this category:

2. Medium risk

Products classified as 'Medium Risk' are suitable for medium risk investors, who are classed as:

  • Willing to take a moderate amount of risk.
  • Understanding and accepting that inflation could erode the value of their money over time.
  • Understanding that they could lose money on a 'Medium Risk' investment.
  • Understanding that Foresters Friendly Society regard a 'Medium Risk' product to be one which typically cannot predict the amount of money they may receive back.

Foresters offers the following products in this category:

A guide to friendly societies and tax

Friendly societies' unique legal status means we're able to offer tax-exempt savings products not available from other providers including high street banks. Our adult and child Tax Exempt Savings Plans provide an affordable monthly savings vehicle that can be held in addition to other plans such as NISAs. The maximum amount that can be invested in these plans is limited to £25 per month per individual, although if you are a parent or grandparent investing on behalf of a child you can invest into as many plans as you like as long as each child does not have a plan(s) exceeding a contribution of £25 per month.

Provided you make contributions as agreed throughout the term of a savings plan, the pay-out when the plan matures will be free from Capital Gains or Income Tax - which means more money for whatever you're saving towards and an extra tax break.

Tax rules might change and depend on individual circumstances.


 How to ...

4 easy steps to help children understand the value of money

From 'learning to earn' to 'spending it wisely' our quick guide is full of practical ideas to help you teach your kids about everyday money management.

4 easy steps to help children understand the value of money

5 step guide to financial fitness

Financial Fitness Guide

In these changing economic times, it's more important than ever to get your finances in shape. But how exactly do you go about doing that in the first place?

We've written a 5 step guide to financial fitness to help you get your money matters in shape for the year ahead.

Download our 5 step guide to financial fitness

5 step guide to watching the pennies

Watching the pennies guideTrying to stick to a budget but not sure how exactly to go about fixing one in the first place? Our 'Watching the pennies' article gives a 5 step guide to planning and keeping to a budget.

Download our 5 step guide to watching the pennies

How to top up a Child Trust Fund

You, your family and friends can currently contribute to your child's fund up to £4,368 per birthday year, either with cash sum payments of £50 or more or by regular Direct Debits from £5 a month.  Top-ups make the perfect birthday or Christmas gift, maximising the size of the cash sum your child will receive when they turn 18.

Download a Top Up form