Heidi Scroggins' Journey

Follow along to see her progress.

Month 1 | April 2024 

Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools

As I eagerly begin this journey, my coach and I have discussed the importance of having goals and having a plan. Thomas Edison once said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”  This competition is such an opportunity for me as a single mother! Not just to win a big prize, but an opportunity to change the whole trajectory of my life, my daughter’s life and generations to come. To take advantage of this opportunity, I have spent a good deal of time reflecting and planning. This month I am focusing on budgeting. This means getting real about everything I am spending and taking a hard look at my finances: the good, the bad, and the ugly. All In makes it really easy to tackle my financial situation with amazing tools like Online Banking and SavvyMoney. I have especially loved the credit simulator with SavvyMoney, where I can see how certain decisions can impact my credit score. It was eye-opening to try out different scenarios. As someone who has struggled in this area, for the first time in forever I see a path to improvement of my credit score!

When it comes to finances, I have developed some bad habits. In addition to bad habits, I have developed some bad thoughts around my personal financial situation. Things like “You are a one income family, you will just always have to struggle” or “There is no point in even trying to save money right now, it’s impossible!” The first thing I have done is change that internal dialogue! With my plan and the encouragement of my coach I know there are things I can do to reach my financial goals. When looking at my actual spending I identified some poor habits.

  1. We dine out WAY too much. There are a million excuses for this: We are always going to school events, I work a full-time job, I help my teen daughter with her party and balloon business. We are just too busy to eat at home! To get real about my finances, I am trying to move past those excuses and take action. We will be increasing our grocery budget and finding ways to cook more at home.
  2. I pay a lot of late fees. I got out a calendar and wrote down all the dates my bills are due. With planning and awareness, I am hoping to eliminate that.
  3. We have some unnecessary spending. You know, the streaming subscriptions, memberships and impulse purchases that we won’t even miss if we eliminate them. I had to make some tough decisions about what our priorities are and make adjustments.

Monthly Improvements:

  • Budgeting is not restrictive, but gives you more freedom.
  • Budgeting gives me the information to know exactly where my money is going and where it needs to go.

It is a huge improvement for our family to have that budget and the assurance that we are moving in the right direction. I can’t wait to see the impact these changes will have in the next few months!

Month 2 | May 2024 

Focus: Using Credit Wisely; Platinum Rewards Credit Cards

As part of this challenge, I have taken several useful online courses and have been able to learn more about budgeting. Budgeting is so impactful because it allows you the freedom to pay down debt and have extra money for emergencies. Learning about credit and credit cards made me realize that I can start paying more than the minimum amount on my small credit card balances because my budget allows me to do so! I never liked the word "budget" before this challenge but I am seeing that it can actually bring more freedom and joy into my life. 

I have made a few small changes already just in the last two months but they have already made a difference in my finances. To continue to accomplish my goals, I need to continue to create opportunities to set myself up for success. This means making it clear to those in my circle that our dining out events are limited. It means communicating with my teen that if we are in a situation where we have to dine out, we can make more cost effective choices. 

Monthly Improvements:

  • Being more budget aware, I had money to put into savings this month and was able to pay more than the minimum on my small credit card balances.

Month 3 | June 2024 

Focus: Auto/Home Buying/Health Education

This month our education focus has been on home and auto buying. I am so proud to be a homeowner. As a single mother, that is one of my proudest accomplishments. While I am proud to be able to put a roof over our heads and keep cars up for me and my daughter, the struggle of maintaining those investments is difficult. Home repairs, car repairs, insurance, tag renewals... all of those things feel like they hit me at once and previously have made me feel like I am slowly sinking under the water. 

In the last three months, I have picked up so many good habits! Every Sunday I sit down and look at all of my bills and my budget. Bills are getting paid on time, late fees are going away and I am more aware of where all of my money is going. Some habits have been inconvenient but effective like unplugging my appliances when not in use, cutting off lights when I leave the room and bumping up the thermostat. I live in an old house with 16-18 ft ceilings and last summer my electricity bill was $500 and this year it has gone down to $350. Creating small changes and habits also helped me pay for an emergency that I normally would not have been prepared to face. Our fridge broke and I was able to address that issue becuase my finances were more in order.

Monthly Improvements:

  • The biggest improvement this month was my credit score! It has been my goal to have a solid credit score in the 700s and I am almost there. I used SavvyMoney to put my first credit score goal in and I was able to pass my first goal by 30 points! I cried happy tears when I realized that just three months into this competition my credit score has already gone up 91 points. That is HUGE!