Easing school costs in Melbourne

March 23, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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National savings program, Saver Plus, is helping to ease the burden of ‘back to school’ costs by supporting families through financial education and up to $500 in matched savings.

Delivered in Melbourne by Jewish Care Victoria, the 10-month program has already benefited more than 30,000 Australians, encouraging them to set financial goals and learn about long-term savings habits.

Mother-of-four, Rebecca* said the program has meant that her son can go to school with a new uniform, books and even money towards a laptop this year. “It’s great to know that I will have $500 that I wouldn’t normally have to go towards school costs. It’s really helped reduce the stress that can mount up after the holidays.”

“I used the program to teach my son about saving and we saved the monthly amounts together towards his laptop for high school. It was so rewarding to finally purchase and use the computer,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca’s experience echoes independent research findings by RMIT University in 2015, which found that three years after completing Saver Plus 87% of past participants continued to save at the same rate or more. Participants also reported having more control over their finances and improved wellbeing after developing the ability to save on a regular basis.

Saver Plus was developed in 2002 by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, and is delivered by community organisations across Australia, including Jewish Care Victoria.

Saver Plus Coordinator from Jewish Care Victoria, Henry Frenkel explained: “Saver Plus builds people’s money management skills and confidence with simple tools including budgets and spending diaries. I’ve seen the program change people’s attitudes towards money and in many cases, change their lives.”

Ari*, a participant of the Saver Plus program said: “It felt awesome for me as a single dad who currently only makes ends meet to give my girls an IPad that they had been dreaming of for a long time.”

During this back to school period, Jewish Care is continuing to talk with school principals, kindergarten directors and community leaders in the area to explain the benefits of Saver Plus and to raise awareness of the program.

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