Great incentive to save

AS COFFS Coast families get back in the school groove, The Smith Family is encouraging parents to join a program which helps them save for educational costs.

Graeme Grice from The Smith Family said many families found it difficult to afford back-to-school costs, particularly after the summer holiday period.

“Back-to-school needs such as uniforms, books, shoes and bags can cost hundreds of dollars and increase significantly when activities such as excursions, camps and cooking, woodwork and textile classes are included,” he said.

“Saver Plus prepares families by building their financial skills through financial education workshops and encouraging them to save small amounts of money throughout the year using simple techniques such as budgets, spending diaries and prompting people to consider ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’.

“As an incentive, their savings are matched dollar for dollar, up to $500.

“By the end of the program participants often feel they are more in control of their finances and are motivated to save on a regular basis.”

Research by the Brotherhood of St Laurence found that up to 56 per cent of families said their children missed out on basic school equipment or activities and around 40 per cent said they had kept their children home due to costs.

Coffs Harbour ANZ branch manager Stuart Willman said his staff looked forward to helping local participants save and make regular deposits.

“ANZ is proud of this great program and to be working closely with our community partners to create pathways to financial security and prosperity, particularly for disadvantaged communities,” he said.

Saver Plus is available to people aged 18 years and over who hold a Centrelink Health Care or Pensioner Concession card, earn some regular income from work, and have a child at school, or attend/are returning to vocational education themselves.

Since Saver Plus started in 2002, more than 5000 individuals and families have completed the Saver Plus program.

There are currently more than 2500 participants on the program across Australia.

The program was developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ in 2002 and is available in 60 locations nationwide. Contact Graeme Grice on 6651 3378 or email him at

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