Back to school time can place huge financial stress on families, with many parents spending hundreds of dollars on books, uniforms, equipment, laptops, excursions, and fees – and just after the holiday season.
Saver Plus is a FREE matched savings and financial education program that can help ease the stress, by matching savings for education costs, dollar for dollar, up to $500.
Saver Plus participants make regular deposits in a savings account over a 10 – month period as well as complete financial skills workshops, known as MoneyMinded. When they reach their goal, their savings are matched up to $500 by ANZ, which developed the program with the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
The program is open to people with a Centrelink Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card, who have regular work (themselves or a partner), and who have a child at school or are studying themselves.
For Charlene Cerros and her husband education and extra-curricular activities for their four children aged four, five, eight and 11, is a big priority.
‘Education is massive for us because we believe that if anything is going to help you up in life, it’s your education’, says Charlene.
Charlene put the $500 Saver Plus matched contribution towards her son’s trumpet lessons, but says that what she learnt about saving was more valuable.
‘The MoneyMinded workshops were awesome – learning about compound interest, and ways to save on gas and electricity costs by simple things like closing the curtains or using door snakes that make a massive difference over the winter quarter.
I’ve been able to save more money by continuing those habits. There’s a peace that comes from knowing you can do that.’
Since 2003 more than 36,000 people have benefited from participating in Saver Plus. Independent research by RMIT University found that once completed 87 per cent of Saver Plus participants continue to save, 85 per cent have more control over their finances, and 93 per cent have better self-esteem.
Charlene says, ‘There’s less pressure on your family, on your relationship – that’s a wonderful thing. Because we now know that we can work and save and get out of debt – we can work and save towards buying a house.
I actually have two one dollar coins that my daughter taped to a paper with the words “To Mum and Dad, this is for our house”.
Saver Plus is delivered in 60 locations across Australia by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Berry Street, The Benevolent Society and The Smith Family and other local community agencies. The program is funded by ANZ and the Australian Government.
Back to School savings tips from Saver Plus
You may be eligible to join Saver Plus if you:
Saver Plus was developed in 2003 by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, and is now delivered in 60 locations across Australia, in every state and territory, with the help of Berry Street, The Benevolent Society, The Smith Family, and other community organisations.
Phone 1300 610 355SMS your name and postcode to 1300 610 355Email saverplus(at)bsl.org.au
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The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse. Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.
Acknowledgement of country
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.