Saver Plus is a matched savings and financial education program that assists people to reach a savings goal, become a regular saver and build money management skills.
Every dollar saved (up to $500) is matched with an additional dollar by the ANZ bank for education-related expenses.
This year the program, run in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence celebrated its 10th anniversary nationally.
In the Mallee and Bendigo and surrounding districts where the program has been running for a little over six years, 420 people have saved a combined total of $142,000.
And in the past financial year 75 participants have saved $37,500.
Workers Cristean and Cathy joined the Saver Plus team earlier this year after working with clients with drug and alcohol issues and the homeless.
“I was very interested in Saver Plus as it is gave me an opportunity to use and develop a number of different skills. I also like the fact that we are providing the skills and knowledge around finances so people can make informed choices with their finances and successfully plan for their family’s future,” Cathy said.
Cristean said he hopes to further develop the program in the coming year. Together, they plan to double the number of participants.
They currently have 32 participants who are actively saving for either themselves or their children.
To be eligible participants must:
• have a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card
• have some regular income from work
• be at least 18 years old, and/or
• be a parent or guardian of a child at school or are doing a vocational training course
”You can see their lives change for the better,” Cristean said.
“Many start the program unsure of what they can achieve and it’s really rewarding to assist them reach their goal. Knowing that they have developed lifelong skills that they can continue to use is a great feeling.”
For families on lower incomes, the benefits of saving even small amounts include protection from financial shocks, building confidence in managing money and dealing with financial challenges.
For more information on Saver Plus