Family, education, community service and participation in their local church have helped guide the Rosales family of San Antonio through life. Recently, Eva Rosales saw a flyer at her YMCA for a STCH Ministries Faith & Finances (FF) class. The idea that the Bible had something to say about her finances intrigued her. Her aunt, Maria Rosales, and daughter, Marriah Miranda, were also excited when she mentioned the class to them. Although the three ladies are in different stages of life, the opportunity to learn together in the study appealed to them.
Faith & Finances is a life skills training based on Biblical principles for money management. The topics include spending plans, managing debt, setting savings goals and preparing for the future.
Maria retired twenty-eight years ago and has enjoyed a comfortable retirement. Coming from a family with a history of longevity, she realized she needed to start thinking about the future. She came to FF wanting to learn how best to manage her money and better prepare for her future.
Eva is a widow with two adult children and works as a public elementary school teacher. She works a second, part-time job to help pay for her youngest son’s college tuition. Her personal faith and the importance of giving back to her community are two values she incorporates into her lessons. Eva hopes to retire in ten years but plans to remodel her family home before that happens. Her goal was to put together a workable savings plan to help her retire well.
Marriah Miranda graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a degree in Biomedical Science and a minor in Spanish. She plans to continue her education to become a Physician Assistant. “I wanted to take this course because, in school, you don’t learn about the basic stuff like taxes or anything financial.” Marriah has student loans and wanted to learn how to be able to pay it off and keep herself from taking on more debt.
The ladies enjoyed the variety of participants in their Faith & Finances sessions. Each session began and ended with prayer, specifically praying for one another. Comradery developed as individuals showed vulnerability by discussing personal situations and sharing tips to overcome specific fiscal obstacles. Maria recalls, “Not only was the teacher teaching us but we learned from our peers too.”
Eva was grateful for their facilitator, Blanca Eschbach. Blanca is the Site Coordinator for the San Antonio Faith & Finances – Faith & Work regional office. “It was a neat part of the class to not have someone just dictating to you. Blanca told us what she learned through the mistakes she made. She helped us figure out how to fix our mistakes and learn from them.”
Today, they are better prepared to handle their money. Paying in cash is Maria’s biggest takeaway from the study. She closed several credit card accounts and has become more deliberate about her spending. Through the training, she learned how to rearrange her assets and save money. She has a new financial plan and does not worry about becoming a burden on her beloved family.
Eva is applying the principle of writing down all her expenses. She was surprised to realize how much money she spent eating out. “Those fast food offers are tempting to a busy working mom,” she explains. Dedication to being more intentional about her spending enables her to decide to eat at home.
Marriah is more aware of her spending habits. “Using cash makes a difference,” she describes. “I don’t want to buy things because I can see the money leaving.” Marriah and Eva started looking at discount stores and resale sites rather than making impulse purchases, and it is something they enjoy doing together. Marriah is determined to pay off her credit card and student debt.
“This is our simple life,” Maria declares. The Faith & Finances course has given them tools they will continue to use to build their family’s financial future for generations to come.