Budget Circles are working groups where people are stimulated to carefully and consciously handling their money and improving life quality. The main purpose is to support each other in changing practices and behaviours in daily life. A Budget Circle has about eight members who meet up bi­weekly with their trained – often voluntary – tutors.

The programme adresses the three related core items of sustainable living: finances, ecofriendliness and health/well­being. The scope of the Budget Circles thus is broader than the common appraoch of personal finances. Other characteristics are the focus on concrete changes, development of life skills and personal empowerment. Moreover, attitudes and competences are trained that are relevant for succesful change such as constructive problem solving strategies; positive communication skills; personal resilience and empowerment.

The Budget Circles exemplify an active learning methodlogy; the approach and content lean heavily on the dissertation Living with Less: Prospects for Sustainablity written by Jeanine Schreurs (Maastricht University, 2010).

The Budget Circle initiative is selected as an important social innovation by the Oranje Fonds, the largest endowment foundation in the area of social welfare in the Netherlands. It aims to promote participation in society and supports the Budget Circles because of its contribution to social cohesion and social integration.

Queen Máxima visiting the Budget Circles in Maastricht - photo Oranjefonds, Bart Homburg

Queen Máxima visiting the Budget Circles in Maastricht – photo Oranjefonds, Bart Homburg

The Budget Circle is recognized as European Good Practice

Logo Stichting LIFTEuropean Good Practice Awards

Member of PERL Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living