The management of the family budget requires a minimum of financial literacy, i.e., having the basic knowledge and the tools necessary to handle one's own finances in a responsible and informed manner.
The Family Budget Advice Programme was launched in October 2014 and complements other services offered by the Municipal Office of Consumer Information (OMIC) such as legal information and guidance on consumer rights. The service offers a confidential and independent personalised advice on the management of personal and family budgets free of charge.
It takes place in collaboration with all the associations belonging to the Municipal Department of Consumer Affairs in the main office of the OMIC, located at Calle Príncipe de Vergara 140; advance appointment required, selecting "Consumo" and then "Asesoramiento Economía Doméstica". Technical specialists answer queries from applicants on economic matters, such mortgage or consumer loans, insurance, energy supplies and its billing, or banking services, thereby improving their financial literacy and helping them to identify possible solutions to the specific problems discussed.
The Municipal Department of Consumer Affairs provides the people that comes to a face-to-face counseling, and also through their website, a tool for calculating a budget. This tool, developed in-house, makes it possible to calculate a personalised budget. To do this, it is necessary to provide information on income and expenditures; it ultimately provides a set of observations or recommendations as to the income and expenditure patterns.
The programme extends to all citizens, with various tools such as the creation of informational material on specific topics. Along these lines, there are now 14 informational booklets associated with the programme. They address topics as diverse as strategies for saving on one's energy bills, pension plans, insurance policies tied to the mortgage and the so-called records of debtors. Recently, a set of index cards relating to energy supplies have been developed, and allows, for example, to better understand the electricity or gas bills, the application of the social voucher or how to act in the event of supply cuts. This publications are explained and delivered to the consumers who request it, as a preventive approach to situations of energy poverty.
The initiative is complemented by training sessions for schoolchildren, including specific workshops dedicated to personal budget management as part of the training activities carried out each year by the Municipal Department of Consumer Affairs in over 100 schools in Madrid.
-To stimulate economic planning and saving.
-To prevent phenomena such as personal or family over-indebtedness.
-To improve the financial literacy of schoolchildren aimed at encouraging responsible consumption and informing about products and services.
-To empower all consumers, providing them with a minimum of knowledge in financial matters that will allow them to make informed decisions regarding predicting and assuming expenditures and purchasing and about planning their future.
-To compliment face-to-face and personalised service with the development of a series of informational material and calculation tools available online.
THE PROJECT IN FIGURES
In 2017, 2,744 personalised meetings were attended, which represents a notable increase compared to 2016, and 49 personal and family budget workshops were given in schools. The 89.47% of OMIC users attended in 2017 were satisfied with the information and guidance received.
The personalised service started on 20 October 2014 and has been supplemented with additional material and tools resulting in its current configuration. The plan is to extend the term of this plan until 2019, given its enthusiastic reception by our residents.
The investment made in 2018 was 38,115 euros, a similar investment is expected in 2019.