Saver Plus - The Smith Family
Assisting families to feel confident about their finances
It's hard to put money away for the future when you're struggling to make ends meet today. Many families on low incomes have never been taught how to budget or plan how to meet the month's bills.
When you are living week by week, it is easy to see how the money just isn't there for those extra expenses like school shoes, school books and excursions.
We believe in empowering parents and young people with the skills needed to take control of their financial situation and be able to better plan for the future.
What is Saver Plus?
Saver Plus is a 10 month financial literacy and matched savings program that assists families to gain financial skills, establish a savings goal and develop long term savings habits.
Set up in 2003 to encourage saving for educational expenses, Saver Plus is now offered by a range of community agencies in 61 communities across all states and territories in Australia.
Saver Plus is an initiative of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, delivered in partnership with Berry Street, The Benevolent Society and The Smith Family and other local community agencies. The program is funded by ANZ and the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, with ANZ providing matched savings for participants.
Participants also receive dollar for dollar matching for their savings, up to $500. This is a great incentive to start and maintain positive saving behaviour and, at the end of the program, families use their matched savings to purchase an education-related goal such as school uniforms, a computer or textbooks, as education can broaden life chances.
How does Saver Plus work?
Interested participants free call, text or email a Saver Plus Coordinator to gain information and ascertain their eligibility.
Participants then set a savings goal and save over a 10 month period while receiving support and education to help them achieve it. Upon reaching their goal, ANZ matches their savings, dollar for dollar, up to $500.
Matched savings are then spent on costs relating to the participants' children's schooling or vocational training for themselves which amongst other expenses includes computers, text books, uniforms, excursions, music & sports costs.
Through SaverPlus, families receive MoneyMinded training which consists of four informative, fun & informal workshops that include topics such as budgeting, needs versus wants, credit and debt and superannuation tips, as well as personal support and guidance from a Smith Family MoneyMinded facilitator.
The impact of Saver Plus
The program has been acknowledged as one the most internationally successful matched savings schemes and won Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community Partnerships 2006 and 2007 and Best Socially Responsible Product in Money Magazine's Best of the Best 2008 awards.
Here is what some of our participants had to say:
"It helped me a lot with money management and to watch what you spend because you don't realise how many spending leaks you have and you can save a lot without that chocolate bar or a bottle of water. You manage to save a lot." University student Lisa, who is receiving sponsorship through our Tertiary Scholarship Scheme.
"Before I would scrimp and scrape my way through, but Saver Plus has taught me to save properly so we've got some money on the side for a rainy day." Mum of four, Kylie.
"I learned what to do when money is tight because I used to go to short term lenders and end up getting stressed, having to pay much more in the long run." Mum of five, Pogia.
How do I take part in Saver Plus?
To participate in Saver Plus, you must be 18 years or over and have a Health Care or Pension Card and earnings from paid employment. You must also live in an area where Saver Plus is operating and have children enrolled in a school OR be attending or returning to vocational education yourself.
To be directed to your nearest Saver Plus provider:
Phone: 1300 610 355 OR
SMS: your name and postcode to 1300 610 355
For a full list of locations please click here.
To find out more about Saver Plus please click here.