How I Saved My First $500: Praise Santos, EARN Saver

Praise SantosHi! My name is Praise Santos. I am an EARN Saver and the founder of ComePlum, a creative company specializing in photography and design.

My parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in their mid-twenties. As a nurse and paper carrier, they didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on pleasures, but they worked hard to provide a safe and enriching childhood for me and my sister. My mom and dad were role-models in how to stretch a dollar, give a dollar, and save a dollar. Inspired by my parents, I began saving in my early teens. I didn’t have an allowance, but instead worked for my Dad on his paper route for $30 a week.

I moved to San Francisco, when I was 21 with no savings – just a dream. My first job didn’t cover my living expenses and I could barely make ends meet. I was living off of food stamps, but it was never enough to cover my groceries. After leaving that first job, I spent a soul-searching two months in Kenya – inspired by African entrepreneurs, I returned to the U.S. with the idea for my business, ComePlum.

In 2012, I began saving with EARN. Saving was a good habit instilled in me when I first started earning money and it has stuck with me through the years. However, EARN’s savings program gave me the confidence to launch my own business. I had a very low income with barely enough to cover necessities, yet over the course of two years I was able to put a little away here and there, inspired to do so because EARN would match these savings. These savings impacted me by giving me funding to make investments in solid advertising and photography gear for my business. I’ve seen the demand for my business grow as well as the quality of my work. I am grateful that I was encouraged to save! It has built my confidence as an entrepreneur. When I met tangible, measurable savings goals, I felt such a sense of gratification which encouraged me to make bigger savings goals. Now, as someone who is self-employed, my next goal is a business emergency fund.

My parents inspired me to save my first $500 which made a difference in my life. Now it is my turn, and yours, to help others save their first $500. Help inspire someone and support EARN. Visit thefirst500.org today.