Jessica says saving program a plus

Jessica Wilson and her daughter Winter (8). Jessica did the Savers Plus program to help her cover schooling costs. (Damjan Janevski) 382753_03

Cade Lucas

The Christmas and New Year period is a joyous time for most, but for those struggling financially, it’s a different story, as Wyndham Vale single mother Jessica Wilson knows all too well.

“The whole going through Christmas then back to school fees, book lists, uniforms, December – January is just money going out the door like no tomorrow,” said Ms Wilson who has four children, three of whom are at school.

With the youngest about to start too, it should be an even tougher time than normal for Ms Wilson to afford their schooling needs.

Instead, budgeting and financial advice she received from completing the Saver Plus program, a financial education and matched savings course established by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence in partnership with ANZ, The Smith Family and Berry Street, has made this back to school period the easiest she’s ever had.

‘It’s a huge relief,” Ms Wilson said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to give my kids the Christmas that they got and I’d have been a lot more stressed and potentially needing to borrow money to cover their school costs.”

Instead, Ms Wilson still has the Savers Plus account from when she began course and which she tops up throughout the year using the saving and budgeting techniques she learnt.

“Even this week I’m going to get the kids new school shoes and I have the money in the saver plus account ready to go.”

Ms Wilson began the program in 2022 when she was still living with her former partner.

A stay at home mum surviving on a single income, Ms Wilson was finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and sought help from The Smith Family who introduced her to Saver Plus.

Now separated and working as a creche assistant, Ms Wilson not only uses the advice she learnt in the course to maintain her financial stability, but also the regular tips, hints and links she still receives a year after finishing.

With the Savers Plus program receiving funding from the federal government to continue until 2025 and also servicing Melton and Brimbank, she’s urging other struggling parents to join up and reap the benefits too.

“I recommend they start it as soon as possible.”