Skills for a Lifetime
Since 2010 Budget Buddies has partnered with multiple local organizations to improve the financial literacy of low-income women. For each program, we conducted surveys of participants at the start and end of their programs to evaluate the effectiveness of our methods. Our most recent analysis demonstrates that our “buddies” make noticeable improvements in their confidence in managing money as well as in attaining specific financial skills and improving key behaviors.
The effectiveness of Budget Buddies’ workshops and one-on-one coaching is apparent in increased knowledge about credit and managing monthly payments. Only 55% of clients said they always or often paid their bills on time when entering the program, compared to 92% when the program ended.
Many clients also established beneficial financial behaviors. This is exemplified in a 45 percentage-point increase in those who said they always or often put away money for savings as well a 54 percentage-point increase in those who are always or often able to spend less in order to stay within their budget.
There was also an increase in clients’ use of a budget. Initially, 14% of clients in this sample always or often used a budget, versus 67% at graduation.
Providing a supportive atmosphere in which women can be more self-assured about their fiscal behaviors is another essential objective of our program. Gains in confidence are measured in our clients’ initial and graduation responses about managing a budget, acquiring savings, discussing financial matters with professionals, and more. The most
significant changes between pre-program and graduation surveys were found in responses to questions about confidence.
At the start of the program, 21% of attendees said they felt very confident about their ability to manage money, and 18% said they were not confident. In the graduation survey, 71% said they are very confident, and 0% said they are not confident.
Noticeable improvement is also recorded in the confidence of women about meeting with bank representatives, contacting credit bureaus, and paying off their debts. There was a 40 percentage-point increase in clients who said they very feel confident that they can pay off all their debt.
Aiding women in their confidence ensures that our program can have a lasting effect on their financial behaviors. With continual growth and feedback, we hope to see further positive changes among program graduates.