When Diamond walked through Santa Maria’s doors, she simply thought she would ask about getting her own apartment. However, after sitting down with Housing staff, they encouraged her to hold off on moving and use this time to focus on saving money and building credit. Diamond received a referral to our financial coach who decided that she would be a good fit for our PNC Matched Savings program. The Matched Savings account allows folks to build savings habits by matching regular deposits over a 6-12 month period. At the end of that period the saver may use the accumulated savings plus a 100% match up to $300 from Santa Maria Community Services.
Diamond, who worked two jobs, was able to save a little bit every month for six months. For her, the experience changed the way she thought about money; rather than something she would spend right away, the money she saved would not be touched until the end of the program, at which time it was doubled.What helped Diamond through the process was focusing on her reason, and prioritizing the things that were really important to her. She also liked the financial coach, Estefania Yanez, who was very serious about her finances. “She did not let you settle for something” remarks Diamond. Estefania got things done. Diamond encourages others to take advantage of Santa Maria’s financial program, but cautions folks to be “willing to take a risk on waiting, to be patient, and go for things that really count.”