YEDID held a unique project in Ashkelon: a Family Budget Management course was held in sign-language for a group of hearing-impaired persons.
Orna Shai, Director of YEDID’s Ashkelon Center and imitator of the course, describes the course.
Last Tuesday was the last meeting of the Family Budget Management workshop held by YEDID in the Ashkelon Club for the Hearing-Impaired.
YEDID Ashkelon has adopted the Club for five years, during which it has held ulpanim in Hebrew sign language. The non-profit organization takes care of clients from the Club and has held lectures on the subject of citizens’ rights.
The family budget management course was held in the Club for seven, three-hour meetings.
The atmosphere was pleasant and open with the help of Dalia, a sign-language translator.
The 20 participants learned how to correctly handle their family budget. Some of the subjects covered were: how to gain control of family finances, inclusion of all family members and collective family responsibility for family goals, banks, interest, correct use of methods of payment, consumerism and the free market, tips for saving money, how to read bills, how to track expenses throughout the year and budget according to income, credit terms and the new overdraft laws, health insurance, sick funds and supplementary insurance, private insurance, types of savings plans, and the difference between them.
From questions that were posed, a number of interesting subjects arose. Participants described how their financial situation differed from others. They gained an awareness of the responsibility to match expenses and income, to keep written records of expenses and keep an eye on them, how to check prices and how to save on expenses.
One of the participants decided to cancel all her standing orders in the bank over which she had no control. She described a situation in the past where she would sign standing bank orders for services for which she had no need, or which she was embarrassed to cancel. Among them I noticed she had a standing order for "Yad Lihachlama" – a private medical service that we in YEDID have a long list of complaints against for non-provision of services. We examined her needs and renewed only those standing orders for which she had a need. At the final meeting she thanked us and told us that thanks to the workshops, she had been able to save a substantial sum of money.
Another participant described a change in awareness on the part of his entire family, thanks to the workshop. He said that every time he came home the whole family would discuss what he had learned and each one had to say how he was willing to save money. He said that even his little children promised to go around the house and turn off any unnecessary lights to save money.
Another participant said that he went to the bank to check out his savings plan and found out that it simply did not pay. He decided to cash it in to cover his overdraft, for which he was paying high interest.
The entire group talked about a change in their awareness and consumer habits and said that although the workshop had come to an end, they feel that it would remain a dominant factor for them in the future.
It was a unique, exciting moment when the translator herself told me that she and husband had managed to reduce their "crazy" overdraft by half, thanks to the eye-opening workshop. She said, "How stupid we were, how we wasted money . . . we were financing the bank, not the other way around." She was angry at the bank: "Why didn't the bank stop us . . . why did it let us go on with our overspending without checking if we had the means to cover it? We lowered the red line time and time again and took out loans to again cover the overdraft, but we continued to spend extravagantly, never stopping to think what we were doing."
She said that she would come home from town with bulging shopping bags as if she were returning form a trip abroad, and there was an atmosphere of anger and tension in the home because her mother-in-law would comment on it. . . Now they have successfully covered half of their overdraft, which she admits was quite large.