Saving makes cents with Saver Plus financial skills program

Mandy Elliott with her children Jaymin and Imani. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d442791
Mandy Elliott with her children Jaymin and Imani. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d442791

A PEARSALL family have been able to cover dance lessons through the Saver Plus matched savings and financial literacy program.

The 10-month program helps families gain financial skills, establish a savings goal and develop long term savings habits.

As an incentive to save, participants receive up to $500 in matched savings when they complete the program which can be used for educational costs such as computers and tablets, text books and uniforms.

Mandy Elliott, a single mother of two, said it had taught her to budget again and after completing the program was keen to continue saving where possible.

“My daughter does dancing and it’s over $1000 a term, so I thought ‘well, I could put the $500 towards that’,” she said.

“I’m not a good saver but I found that side of it very easy and because it wasn’t in my savings account and I couldn’t see it all the time, I just forgot that I had that bit of money there.

“When I went to the workshops it was good fun and I met lots of nice people and it was easy.

“I thought it was going to be lots of thinking and questions but it was really good and I leant some tips that I hadn’t thought about before.”

She said time went quickly while putting aside $25 a month and before she knew it she had saved $500.

“That taught me it doesn’t matter how little it is, if you can save whatever you can it’s just going to add up,” she said.

“We all know to a degree what we should be saving or what we should be doing but even if you think you know it all it was worth it because you definitely pick up tips or you pick up what other people do.”

More than 500 people from the Wanneroo area have taken part in Saver Plus since 2010.

Saver Plus hopes to reach another 16,000 Australians over the next five years after the Federal Government’s recent $29.4 million commitment together with $17.5 million from ANZ.

The program has reopened recruitment in the Wanneroo region and The Smith Family is looking for new participants.

To be eligible, participants need to be at least 18, hold a Health Care or Pensioner Concession card, have some form of regular income from work and be a parent or guardian of a child at school, or attend vocational education themselves.

People interested in applying can call Saver Plus co-ordinator Meagan Parry on 9440 4147.