Thanks to the *AddsUP matched savings program, Ray will soon be off on a long awaited vacation to visit his family. “I am going to Queensland to see my grandchildren, I can’t wait. One of my grandchildren has a disability which means he cannot travel down here to see me. Before the *AddsUp Program I did not think I would be able to save the money needed to do this.”
The *AddsUP matched savings program is offered to people like Ray who have successfully completed paying off a No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) loan. The program was developed as a community initiative with Good Shepherd Microfinance and the national NILS network with the intention of providing financial incentives to encourage people to develop savings habits. If you can save $500 in a period of six to twelve months, the National Australia Bank will match it dollar for dollar.
A few years ago, Ray didn’t have so much to look forward to. When he first moved from Queensland to Bendigo he found resettling tough.
“At the time I was on the Disability Support Program which is hard to budget on and does not leave a lot of room for larger expenses like a fridge or other household needs.”
After successfully applying for a NILS loan, Ray was able to purchase essential household items to get him back on his feet. “I felt like I was given a fair go. I was relieved that I could now go out and get the items. I felt that someone cared about how hard it is living on Disability Support Pension.” For Ray, accessing the NILS loan was a step toward financial inclusion and independence, “I was very relieved that I could get these items and then pay them off at an amount I could comfortably afford. The repayments left me with enough money to live off.”
After paying off his NILS loan, Ray felt confident that he could budget and save, and with the additional money from the *AddsUP matched savings program, could afford to make the trip to Queensland to visit his family, something he’ll be doing very soon. With *AddsUP, Ray has not only achieved his savings goal, but has developed a savings habit which will set him up for future financial resilience, “I am absolutely planning to continue to save money. There are always things that you want and need – car costs and household furniture – now I know I can save for these things and also the unknown.”
Since getting back on his feet financially, Ray has started volunteering so he can assist other people that find themselves financially excluded and in need of a helping hand. ‘’It is fantastic. I get a lot of satisfaction from it and I love that I can now help other people through what I have been through. It is good to give back to the people who have helped me and to give them support for a fantastic organisation. Bendigo Family and Financial Services is a great place to volunteer and the people here are fantastic people to work with.’’
*Please note: The AddsUP program is no longer available.