Families save to take the stress out of back to school costs

25 January 2017

The Benevolent Society MEDIA RELEASE

Families save to take the stress out of back to school costs

As back to school costs soar, Moreton Bay families are combatting the financial stress by joining a savings program that rewards participants with up to $500 for school costs.

Already 32,000 families across Australia, and 380 families in Moreton Bay, have benefitted from Saver Plus, a free matched savings and financial education program delivered locally by The Benevolent Society.

Moreton Bay Saver Plus Coordinator Tania Mullan says the program is helping families make ends meet at the most expensive time of year.

“As kids head back to school, families can find themselves spending hundreds of dollars on books, tablets, uniforms, excursions, fees, and just after the holiday season. The financial stress can mean families go into debt, or kids will simply go without. 

“Saver Plus, with the $500 matched savings incentive, is helping participants save for those costs and reduce the stress.”

The 10-month program sees participants identify a savings goal for school costs, make regular deposits into a savings account, and attend financial educations workshops. At the close of the program their savings are matched, dollar for dollar, up to $500.

Tania Mullan says the program not only builds financial skills but also improves wellbeing.

"Many participants come into the program feeling like they’ll never be able to stop living pay check to pay check and save, but soon discover they can, giving them confidence and hope as they make goals for their family’s future.”

Saver Plus was developed in 2003 by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, and is delivered in 60 locations across Australia, in every state and territory, through The Benevolent Society and other community organisations.

Saver Plus is available to people that have a Centrelink healthcare or pensioner concession card, have a child at school or are attending vocational education themselves, and have regular income from paid employment (themselves or a partner).

Moreton Bay enquiries can be made by contacting 

Media contact, for further information and to arrange a participant interview:
Saver Plus Coordinator:Tania Mullan on 0431 076 010 or mailto:tania.mullan@benevolent.org.au

Notes to Editor:
• Saver Plus celebrates its 14-year anniversary in 2017 and is the largest and longest running matched savings and financial education program in the world.
  • A copy of the 2016 Saver Plus Report, detailing the reach of the program in 2016, is available here.
  • A copy of the 2015 Saver Plus: A Decade of Impact research report by RMIT University is available here. The research found that of participants who completed the program:
    • 87% continue to save the same amount or more
    • 84% encouraged family members, including children, to save
    • 87% are better able to plan ahead
    • 85% have more control over their finances
    • 81% said they were better equipped to deal with unexpected expenses
    • 78% are better able to make ends meet
    • 93% have increased self-esteem
  • Saver Plus was developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ in 2002 and piloted in 2003. It is now offered in 60 locations across Australia.
  • More than 32,000 Australians have participated in Saver Plus. 
  • The program is funded by ANZ and the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
  • Saver Plus assists people on lower incomes to develop a savings habit and achieve a savings goal, with the added incentive provided by ANZ of matching participants’ savings dollar for dollar, up to $500. Participants also complete ANZ’s MoneyMinded financial education program.
  • Partner community organisations that deliver the program are the Brotherhood of St Laurence, The Smith Family, The Benevolent Society and Berry Street. Other agencies that offer the program include AnglicareSA, Ballarat Group Training, Bethany and Jewish Care Victoria.
  • Participants are assigned a Saver Plus Coordinator from the local delivery organisation, and open an ANZ Progress Saver account, into which they make regular deposits. They complete MoneyMinded to build their financial management skills and when they reach their savings goal after at least 10 months ANZ matches the amount saved, up to $500, for the purchase of a nominated educational item.
  • The awards Saver Plus has received include:
    • Outstanding Achievement Award in the Research category Financial Literacy Australia Awards 2015
    • Outstanding Achievement Award in the Community category MoneySmart Week 2012.
    • Enquiries to participate in the program can be made by: