During the day, Paris serves her community playing a vital role in our judicial system as a Probation Officer in Graceville, Florida. At night she plays an even more important role as mom to her ten-year-old daughter, Nevaeh. While pursuing a degree to create a better life for her family, Paris learned just how expensive an education can be. While working as a probation officer, she has seen firsthand how important specific life skills are to stability and success. Paris is excited about the opportunity to create a better financial future for herself and her daughter, while also ensuring Nevaeh knows that while the journey to financial freedom isn’t always easy, it is always worth it.
Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
Month one of the All In 2 Finances Challenge has already improved my lifestyle and mindset when it comes to my finances. I have learned about credit cards versus personal loans, fixed interest versus variable interest rates, long-term versus short-term loans and savings accounts versus certificates of deposit. My coaches have walked me through the budgeting process and helped me create a budget that is both realistic and manageable. Creating a budget and sticking to it is not easy, but I know that it is going to be worth it in the long run. I am also learning tips for saving such as evaluating whether a purchase is a need or a want, how to realize when I am overspending on unnecessary things and how to utilize rewards and discounts. My coaches are working with me on how to understand what affects my credit score and the tools available to me, such as Savvy Money, which helps me maintain and manage this. This month I have learned to be open-minded and to do my research when it comes to my options on financing. I already feel more equipped to reduce my spending, increase my saving and reduce debt.
Focus: Saving for Children/College
My top priority for Month Two was to continue to build off the solid foundation I established in Month One. It’s exciting to learn more about key financial principles that have given me the knowledge I need to make better financial decisions and have caused me to shift my perspective on finances. Key lessons I learned from my coaches were the importance of paying off revolving debt, putting more money into savings, creating an emergency fund by putting funds into my money market account and opening a Smart CD to serve as my long-term savings safeguard. All of this newfound knowledge has led me to change a number of financial habits, and I am already reaping the benefits. With this month’s focus on Saving for Children/College, my coaches suggested opening an All In Youth Account for my daughter so she can take advantage of the great rewards and benefits that are offered, such as Birthday Rewards, Report Card Bonuses and Annual Contests that provide her the opportunity to win cash and prizes. Another fundamental change for me this month was comparing and researching different ways to save on my food purchases and reviewing how much I spend on food each month. I’m now reviewing affordable options that can help me with cost-effective meal preparation to help me keep costs down. With Month Two in the books, it’s exciting to see the tangible improvements to my financial choices that have bad financial habits declining as my savings are increasing. I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities Month Three brings!
Focus: Retirement Planning & Insurance
Having the ability to compete in this program has been life changing, and I have learned so much halfway through this competition. With the assistance of my coaches and Austin Barranco, our Wealth Management advisor, I learned I am on the right path for retirement and that my state job is good for me with the benefits it offers. I also learned the proper steps to purchase a home and how to eventually begin wise, home investments. Having my own home is a dream of mine, and I know the decisions I am making now will pay dividends in achieving this. A few habits I have changed this past month are reducing the number of times I eat out each week and eliminating the habit of eating out every day. This has led to a reduction in my weekly expenses and more money to allocate toward bills and savings. Another habit change I have noticed is stressing less about my finances as a result of lessons I have put into practice and the awareness I have of where all my money is going. It brings about a great peace of mind and is a welcome change. Thankfully, I had another month of improvements which included an increase in credit score, my spending habits being more under control and my child being able to learn more about saving practices. Having the ability to pass down what I have learned to my daughter and provide her with information I did not have at that age is a true blessing. Through this competition, I have learned so much already and am looking forward to what awaits me in Month 4!
Focus: Using Credit Wisely & Platinum Rewards Cards
Another exciting month of All In 2 Finances is in the books, and it was another month of learning insightful financial tips from my coaches. I learned the difference between prepaid cards vs. debit/credit cards and the situations I should utilize them. I also learned the importance of paying more than the minimum balance and how that can help me get ahead on payments. Putting extra cash toward savings is another lesson I learned and am currently practicing building upon my solid foundation. My other primary focus this month was planning and preparing for my community project that will be taking place in September. This project is a critical component of this program, and I am excited to have the opportunity to serve my community and profoundly impact their lives. I cannot wait to share more details on what my coaches and I have planned as we get closer to time. I know I am near the end of this competition, but with my new financial perspective and wealth of knowledge, I am just getting started!