CAMP ZAMA, Japan (March 2, 2016)-- Several of Camp Zama's community members participated in a five-day, financial readiness workshop for Military Saves Week held Feb. 22-26 at Army Community Service.

Angela LeMaster, financial readiness program manager for ACS, said Military Saves Week highlights the importance of financial fitness and individuals taking care of financial health.

The workshop covered a variety topics from military benefits and entitlements, thrift savings plan, buying a home, and tax tips for military members, the spouses and Civilians, said LeMaster.

The theme "Save Automatically," and the goal of the workshop is to teach people how to be more successful at saving by having money set up to automatically go into their savings account, said LeMaster.

"Every family situation is a little different," she said, but the workshop helps assess participants' goals and challenges to create an action plan to meet their needs.

"The goal for everyone is to be able to release some of the financial stress-- start small and move forward," said LeMaster.

Charissa Curiel, participant, said she learned how to save for her debt reduction, and she took the pledge to recommit for her future during the workshop.

Sasha Ridley, volunteer instructor and licensed real estate agent in Va., taught a seminar on how to buy a home during the workshop.

"My goal was to help participants understand the basics of the home buying process, also to understand opportunities in a home buying process where they can save themselves money," said Ridley.

Using her own personal life experiences, Ridley said she thinks it helped the participants understand what she was trying to teach; by using real world situations, she was able to make sure people really understood what the "pit holes" and benefits of buying a home was all about, especially for military families.

"I was able to share my personal stories and personal experiences… bring my knowledge of the home buying process into the military community," said Ridley. "Like anything else, home buying is a process and a project."

Mary Jansen, participant, said that she attended the workshop to better educate herself on financial readiness and learned the importance of saving early.

"The workshop was very beneficial," said Jansen. "I highly encourage Soldiers and the Family members to consult with ACS about financial planning."