Whittlesea and Hume families struggling to keep up with school expenses are being invited to sign up to a Brotherhood of St Laurence savings program.

Known as Saver Plus, the program offers free finance education to low-income families, teaching them about budgeting, saving and planning for the future.

Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to save for school expenses, with the ANZ bank matching the savings dollar for dollar up to $500.

Whittlesea and Hume Saver Plus co-ordinator Osman Osman said the program helped build financial skills.

“We know that the start of the school year is a challenging time for any family, especially here in Hume and Whittlesea,” he said. “Parents are struggling to cope with the expenses of buying laptops, school uniforms, books, school camps and excursions.

“Our support can give relief to some of those struggling parents and their children.”

Mr Osman said the program started in Whittlesea and Hume in 2006, with 948 families taking part since then.

“Our evidence shows increased financial resilience and wellbeing for participants who complete the program,” he said.

“Participants generally gain more employment, gain more income, reduce their reliance on government benefits, experience improved personal and family wellbeing and increase their levels of savings and assets.”

Details: saverplus.org.au