Budget Buddies was founded in 2009 to meet the tremendous need for a comprehensive and personalized program of financial education and empowerment for low-income women that could ensure their successful transition from intensive supportive services to a life of self-sufficiency and independence.
More than 1 in 7 U.S. women live in poverty—or 14% of women in 2014 compared to 10.9% of men. Women headed-households experience particularly high rates of poverty (40%), and 57% of children living in poverty are part of female-headed households. Massachusetts ranks fifth in the nation for low-income households headed by women and suffered the greatest increase in homeless families nationwide, in 2014.
In Massachusetts there are few financial education programs that address the special money-management challenges of low-income women. Budget Buddies’ award-winning program tackles these challenges directly by offering a combination of educational workshops and one-to-one financial coaching. Guided by volunteer coaches, program participants, or “Buddies,” attend 12-13 hours of educational workshops that are customized for partnering social service agencies. These workshops help participants develop essential skills such as budgeting, banking, and debt management. They also foster positive financial behaviors, build financial self-esteem, and lay the foundation for sound money-management practices.
Each Buddy is matched with a volunteer coach. Coaches help their Buddies with whatever personal financial goals they might have. Coaches typically spend 25 hours with their Buddies during and in between program workshops to supplement the classroom instruction. However, many devote significantly more time—helping Buddies pursue job opportunities, learn to shop effectively, or complete other tasks that will enhance their financial stability
This is a unique program that presently operates in the Merrimack Valley area, founded by two women, Anita Saville and Kathy Brough, who saw a need. To date, the program has successfully partnered with 19 community agencies to run 35 successful programs and trained more than 275 Coaches to mentor nearly 400 low-income women. We are proud to play a small part in their success!
Budget Buddies is always looking for volunteer coaches. If there is interest, we can have them come to our church to discuss their program, or you can contact them directly.