Could $500 Help with Next Year’s Back to School Costs?

Could 0 Help with Next Year’s Back to School Costs?

If the excitement of sending your child back to school this month is tempered by financial challenges and anxiety about how you’ll be able to afford it all, you’re certainly not alone. With the expense of sending children back to school coming hot on the heels of the expensive Christmas season, this time of year can be particularly stressful and a drain on families’ financial resources. Due to the rising cost of living right now, many of us are really feeling the pinch in our pockets, having to purchase new uniforms and school supplies, and maybe even pay fees for additional programs like sports or music. It can feel overwhelming, or even impossible.

If this sounds all too familiar to you, what we tell you next might be the most important thing you’ll read all day, maybe even ever! Saver Plus is a free financial education program for families and individuals on a tight budget to develop lifelong savings habits.

How the Saver Plus program works

Basically, after you join the Saver Plus program, you’ll be paired with a savings coach, and make regular deposits, toward an agreed goal over a 10-month period. For example, you may need to save enough money to buy your child a device for school, or simply want to be able to cover the cost of uniforms and sports fees. During the 10 months, you’ll also attend five online workshops to learn tips, tricks and information to help grow your budgeting and saving skills. Once you’ve reached your goal, for every dollar you’ve saved, ANZ will match it by adding the same amount to your account (up to a maximum of $500). You can then use the money from Saver Plus for education costs such as uniforms, books and extracurricular activities.

Cassie, a single mother of five from Tasmania joined the Saver Plus program because she wanted to save on her children’s school costs, such as uniform and shoes. According to Cassie, she found this incredibly beneficial, especially during the pandemic when her children were suddenly expected to not only learn from home, but also have the technological devices to do so.

“I wouldn’t have the money if it wasn’t for Saver Plus and my children would have to miss lessons,” explains Cassie.

Cassie credits the valuable tips she learned from the Money Minded group activities for her newfound ability to better save and manage her money. “If it wasn’t for Saver Plus, my children would have gone months without school. Thanks to my savings, I got two laptops and a tablet. I still had $200 left for school. It’s just a bloody brilliant program and I’ve been letting everyone know about it!”

Who is eligible for Saver Plus?

To be eligible for the Saver Plus program you must have all of the following;

Have a healthcare card or pensioner’s concession card AND an eligible Centrelink payment.* Be in school yourself or have a child in school (they can start next year). Have regular income from work (either yourself or your partner)* Be 18+ years old.

*Many types of income and Centrelink payments are eligible. To check your eligibility, complete the inquiry form here.

Saver Plus is Australia’s largest and longest running savings and financial education program. It is delivered by community organizations across Australia and has been in existence since 2003. It is free to participate in the program which is funded by ANZ and the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit the Brotherhood of St Laurence website here today to join, or learn more about how you can start building financial skills, develop lifelong habits and receive up to $500 to help with education costs.

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