THE Smith Family charity in Midland is accepting applications for its saving and financial literacy program Saver Plus.
The program started in 2010 and has since helped more than 500 people in the Midland area to save more than $205,000.
Saver Plus is a 10-month program that aims to assist people on lower incomes to strengthen their financial skills and develop long-term savings habits.
Nationally, the program has helped more than 26,000 people, with the aim of reaching a further 16,000 people over the next five years.
As an incentive, ANZ matches savings of up to $500 when participants complete the program, and the money can be used for educational items like computers, textbooks and uniforms.
Co-ordinator Meagan Parry said the program helped participants to develop their money management skills.
“Saver Plus is a financial literacy program that builds people’s money management skills and confidence with simple tools including budgets and spending diaries,” she said.
“I’ve seen the program change people’s attitudes towards money and in many cases change their lives.”
Rosana Demaio said she initially signed up for the program to receive the $500 at the end, but learnt so much that the money was just a bonus.
“The program is educational and teaches you not just how to save, but other ideas about how to manage your money,” she said.
Ms Demaio said she had also learnt how to take more control of her superannuation, plug spending leaks and be more careful when grocery shopping.
Research conducted earlier this year by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) found that 84 per cent of participants went on to encourage children and other family members to save, 93 per cent gain increased self-esteem and 68 per cent had reduced stress levels.
Developed in 2002 by ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Super Plus is funded by ANZ and the federal Department of Social Services.
To be eligible for the program, participants need to be at least 18, have a Health Care or Pensioner Concession card, have some form of regular income and be a parent or guardian of a child at school, or attend vocational education themselves.
Call 1300 610 355 or email email@example.com.