LOWER income families in Mandurah are tackling back to school costs by joining a savings program that rewards participants with up to $500 for school costs.
Education savings program Saver Plus, developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, saw families in Mandurah flocking to join the program at back to school time.
Participants set a savings goal for school costs, make regular deposits into a savings account over 10 months and complete financial skills workshops.
At the end of the program, their savings are matched by ANZ up to $500.
Single mother of two Casey said that before participation in Saver Plus, she struggled to find the money for her eight and 10 year old daughters.
“I always found it hard to juggle my finances and manage buying two sets of everything,’’ she said.
“The girls book lists alone cost more than $400 combined and then there’s uniforms, fees and extra-curricular activities.
“This year I was more prepared than ever.
“They have all their books, uniforms that fit and comfortable, quality shoes.”
Mandurah Saver Plus co-ordinator Cara Bradley said the program was helping families reduce stress at the most important time of year.
“Financial stress means families go into debt or kids will simply go without,’’ she said.
“Many participants begin the program feeling like they will never stop living from pay cheque to pay cheque but building a savings habit breaks that cycle and gives them the confidence to plan for their family’s future.”
Independent research found that three years after completing Saver Plus, 87 per cent of participants continued to save.
Participants must have a Centrelink, Healthcare or pensioner concession card, a child at school or be attending vocation education themselves and a regular household income from paid employment.
Further information at www.saverplus.org.au or 1300 610 355.