Tips that YEDID clients learn at our Family Budget Management Training courses are particularly useful during holiday periods—a time when it´s so easy to overspend, even on something as simple as a Passover Seder.
Batya, a 35-year Jerusalemite, has recently started looking for a job after eight years out of the workforce during which she was at stay-at-home mom, looking after her seven young children (aged 4-15). In early 2012, she took part in a YEDID's "Let's Get to Work!" program—a program that gives women the skills and confidence to rejoin the workforce. She is looking for work in childcare, a field in which she has qualification and experience.
For Batya, one of the most important parts of the program was the Family Budget Management course. The family of nine is currently living off of Batya's husband's wages from two part time jobs—a total of $1,350 per month. Prior to the course, Batya described her family's financial survival as "nothing short of a miracle".
The series of seven workshops gives participants the skills necessary to develop and adhere to personal and family budgets. Sessions explore how to budget and prioritize expenses, engage family cooperation and augment income. Batya reports how in the past she had left all the family's finances to her husband. "Now, since the course", she says, "I understand that it's important that I know what's going on too and I should also be involved in all our family's financial decisions".
And more than that—now she realizes that the children have to be involved too: "I have an awareness now that not everything has to be purchased on demand and immediately. It's about re-educating oneself and also educating the children". And regarding the upcoming Passover holiday she said, "in the past I never would have thought you could save on food." In preparing for the festival she now knows how to shop wisely – always write a list first, not to buy at the expensive local grocery shop, etc.
Batya's one regret: "If I could have done this course 15 years ago", she rues, "I know that our family finances would be in a much better way today".
Sara and Yonatan live in Hazor and have been married for over thirty years. Although they both work (she is a kindergarten teacher and he is a gardener) earning a combined income of $3,000, and only one of their five children still lives at home, they found themselves with an overdraft of $8,900 and growing.
Sara took part in one of YEDID's Family Budget Management programs last year and was so excited by what she learned that she got her husband involved and together they came to the Hazor Center and received additional coaching from Center Director, Sharlie Shriki. Five months later, their overdraft has been drastically reduced and currently stands at just $1,050 and shrinking.
Sharlie, a family therapist by training, tells how the couple's financial burdens were also putting a strain on their marriage. They have started making monthly savings that they never would have thought possible at the start.
The couple reported that they had 11 insurance policies costing them $590/month. This immediately rang alarm bells for Sharlie who just knew that there must be some duplication in all of these policies. They analyzed them together and have chosen which to remain with—life insurance, long-term care, and home insurance—saving a total of $430/month. "This is something that we teach in all of our financial literacy courses," explains Sharlie. "That you should avoid telesales at all costs! Sara and Yonatan bought all of these policies over the phone by credit card, without reading the small print or signing anything. This sort of thing should be illegal as the sales people take advantage of vulnerability."
The couple also managed to cut their monthly food bill in half from $1,080 to $540—a much more realistic sum for a household of three. All these savings and others have enabled the couple to slowly pay off their overdraft as well as an opportunity to rebuild their relationship. Last week the couple came to YEDID to wish Sharlie and the volunteers a happy Passover. "They were smiling and positively looking forward to the holiday," said Sharlie. "This just wouldn't have been the case six months ago."