We're Here to Answer Your Questions

How do I get started? What is the process?

First step: Apply! Our intake specialists will get you started by assessing which services you're in need of, and what is necessary to access them - usually via an annual membership, a scholarship, or a service fee.

Typically the membership and scholarship pathways start with working through our self-paced education courses. Once you finish our Financial Basics workshop, annual members will have the option to apply for coaching.

A personalized financial coach can work with you on your personal budget and goals. You can meet with this coach as often as you both decide – once a month, once a quarter, twice a month to get started, etc.

If you would like to apply for a matched savings program, you must be actively enrolled in coaching for at least three sessions. Your coach and Save First staff will help determine whether you are ready and able to apply for the matched savings program.

Do I need to be Catholic to get services?

No! Save First serves all members of the community, regardless of faith, race, color, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.

Do I need to be employed by a partner company to get services?

No, many Save First services are available to all members of the community. Some services such as employer funded Helping Hand funds are only available to participating employees.

How long is the workshop?

Our onsite workshop runs 3.5 hours. The online workshop is at your own personal pace, and typically takes people around two hours to complete.

What do you cover in the workshop?

In the workshop we cover the basics of budgeting, saving, debt reduction, and understanding credit.

Do you have childcare while I am taking the workshop?

Unfortunately, we do not offer childcare during the workshop.

How much does the Financial Wellness Basics workshop cost?

If you are attending the workshop as part of an employee assistance fund, your costs are covered by your employer. Otherwise, most workshops costs $25 (individual) / $40 (couple). Scholarships are available on an as-needed basis. Inquire for details.

Participation in coaching requires an Annual Membership ($50), with attending the financial basics workshop as the only prerequisite.

How do I start a matched savings fund? How long does it take?

If you are interested in the matched savings fund, the first step is to apply and enroll in the financial basics workshop. After attending the class, sign up for coaching. Attend at least three sessions of coaching and your coach and Save First staff will help determine if you are ready to apply for the program. Access to these services typically requires an Annual Membership, with scholarships available. One of our navigators can discuss this further during your intake call

Once enrolled in the matched savings program, the length of saving depends on the asset you are saving for:

  • Home – 3 years
  • Rental – 6 months
  • Education – 6 months
  • Auto – 6 months

Do you provide services in other languages?

We currently offer our services in English, Spanish, and Russian. We have access to interpreters for any other language.

Does budgeting mean I can’t do fun things anymore?

Not at all! At Save First, we meet you where you are at. The decisions are yours on how to create your budget and meet your goals. It’s okay to spend $5 on a coffee every day, as long as you are aware of that and have budgeted for it. We like to make sure there’s a balance of fun budgeted in.


How much is the time commitment?

We ask for a commitment of 3-6 months for an average of 2-4 hours per month. You can work with as many or as few clients as you have the time and passion for. Volunteer coach orientation is one hour.

What is the training process?

Save First wants to make sure you feel prepared and ready to be a financial coach. Our training process starts with an agency orientation for Catholic Charities. This is done online and only takes a half hour.

Then we ask you to come onsite for the Save First training which takes place every other month for 3 hours. In this training we cover a general overview of what to expect in coaching sessions with clients, interpersonal skills and values, and tools to help you be successful as a new coach.

After the training, you will attend a mock coaching session with Save First staff. You will role play a typical coaching session to put your new skills into practice. Next, you’ll be matched with your first client!

Once you are matched with a client, Save First staff will be present at the first meeting to be a resource to you and make sure the pairing is a good match for both sides.

What if I don’t have a financial background?

We do not require that you’re a financial expert in order to be a volunteer financial coach. We just ask that you follow a budget (practice what you preach) and you have the heart of a teacher.

What if I don’t know about extra resources my client is asking me?

Save First staff is always on hand to be a resource to you and our clients. If you feel there is a resource or goal they want that you have limited knowledge on, reach out to our staff and we will work with both of you to accomplish the goal!


How much does it cost?

Prices vary depending on your company size and projected utilization of the emergency assistance fund and Save First services. This is usually determined after a few initial conversations, and answering initial questions that allow us to project utilization.

What do I get for services?

Think of Save First Financial Wellness as an addition to your benefits package. Your employees have access to your emergency assistance fund in the case of a qualifying emergency, but with that, they are required to attend our Financial Wellness Basics workshop. Your employees also have access to our coaching services and matched savings program if they would like to participate. These services aim at creating a behavior change regarding finances so that they can be prepared for the next life event or emergency.

Who is eligible?

All employees that are benefit eligible are able to utilize the services. This includes staff on the front lines all the way up to and including the C-suite. We believe that life emergencies can happen to anyone regardless of income. Save First staff verifies employment and eligibility for each client.

Where do my employees come for services?

Most services are accessible by your employees from the comfort of their own home, or at your employee breakroom. Marketing materials are provided to share with your employees how to do so, and additioinally the Save First Financial Wellness office is located at 28th and SE Powell Blvd. (second floor), in Portland, Oregon.

What is your reporting system?

Save First reports back to you on the utilization of the emergency assistance fund based on amount disbursed, average gift size, presenting needs, previous actions attempted before accessing fund, utilization by campus/office location, and utilization of the coaching program. All reports ensure confidentiality of your employees.