Adam and Katie’s story began at a friend’s house a little over five years ago when they met each other for the first time. Fast forward to now, and they’re happily married with a beautiful daughter, Oaklyn, who gives them a reason every single day to pursue a better life for their family. Adam and Katie will both tell you they did not grow up in households where they were taught the importance of building a strong financial foundation or about basic financial principles. They now live in Coffee Springs, Alabama, and have their sights set on buying a home and new vehicles to support their growing family. They are ready to embrace financial coaching that will allow them to transform their future and create a path forward to sustain their family for years to come.
Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
During the month of April, we have learned how finances and creating a budget truly impact our day-to-day lives – whether it is simply paying a bill or making a large purchase. We have also learned the importance of taking a step back and assessing whether a purchase is a need or want, as well as the many different things that can affect our credit scores. We know now that satisfying our wants is not always a good financial choice. We know now that it is best to set money back and save to purchase the things that we want. Our coaches have also helped us learn about the various tools that All In provides to help people along their financial journeys. Already during month one of the All In 2 Finances Challenge, we have seen changes start to take place in our lives. We have paid down half of the balance on one of our credit cards, and we were able to transfer money over to our savings account to save for the future. Another way we are building our savings is by utilizing All In’s Debit Card Round Up tool, which has really helped us save as well. Each time we swipe our debit card, All In automatically rounds up to the next dollar amount and transfers the difference to our savings account. So far, this competition has taught and helped us so much, and we already feel more confident in our financial journey.
Focus: Saving for Children/College
The Everfi Modules we completed in Month Two were essential tools to help us learn more about the importance of saving and the home-buying process. Purchasing a home in the future is a goal we have set for ourselves. Now that we now know what that process entails and how we can take steps to be prepared, we’ll be ready for life’s most important purchase when the opportunity presents itself. Another important product our coaches made us aware of is All In’s Youth Accounts and all the benefits they offer. We believe that taking advantage of these offerings will allow us to begin instilling important financial principles that we were never taught at that age and will also be a fantastic start for our daughter on her financial journey. A few of the new habits we have implemented with the assistance of our coaches is to make sure our bills are paid before spending money on our “wants”. With this change, we have not had to take money from our savings like we have in the past, so it’s been exciting to see this positive improvement in our accounts. Along with increased savings, another significant change was to pay down our credit cards and lift the financial burden that this debt has caused us. This new commitment to paying off our credit cards and bills first before spending money on things we do not need has been eye-opening and taught us a new perspective on the impact our finances have on our day-to-day life. Each new month brings another level of comfort with this new lifestyle, and we are excited about the financial possibilities on the horizon.
Focus: Retirement Planning & Insurance
Month 3 has been a nice continuation of what we have learned from the previous months, as we have attempted to stick to our budget and better monitor our expenditures each week. Our coaches and the Everfi courses have been instrumental in helping us improve in this aspect. With the help of our coaches, we are trying to improve and change our habits by working on self-discipline, which means not going out as much and being less tempted to spend money on unnecessary items that could negatively affect our finances. We have even started taking our lunch to work to reduce how much we spend in food costs. The improvements we have seen include paying off our Lowe’s account, the majority of our Walmart account and our All In Pay Day account. Not only have we paid these items off, we have also increased our savings substantially. It is exciting to see these items being paid off and becoming closer to being debt free. Even our daughter’s piggy bank is starting to fill up as our savings continue to rise. All these financial lessons are changing our life for the better, and we are just getting started!
Focus: Using Credit Wisely & Platinum Rewards Cards
Month 4 has taught us the better off you are, the less stressed you will be with your finances. This peace of mind allows us to not constantly worry if we will be able to make payments because we have paid off the majority of our debt so far. We are keeping balances low, resulting in less debt and stress, which is the ultimate win-win! This habit has shifted our mindset to take a deep breath and work harder when life happens. It is essential to embody these crucial principles to set a good financial example for our daughter. This month, a significant habit change for our family was to stop running from our debt and begin paying it off aggressively, as we have started answering debt collectors and getting things handled. Another habit we altered is only to use a credit card when necessary and not as the first line of defense. As we are heading down the home stretch of this program, we have seen many improvements, like being frugal with our spending and seeing money stay in our account longer. Another improvement from what we have learned is a significant increase in our credit scores, which has been pivotal for our future. We are eager to learn more about homeownership next month, so we will be better equipped to accomplish our homeowning dreams!
Focus: Auto and Home Buying Education
During Month 5, we learned vital information about the home buying process, along with the process of building a home. When buying a house, we realized it is best to get a pre-approval letter before you even start looking, and we need to keep a proper record of where the money for your down payment comes from. Another helpful tip is to meet with your builder before getting a pre-approval to cover all your costs if you plan to buy a home. Our coaches and the Everfi courses we took taught us valuable information we will be sure to put into practice once we get to the home-building stage of our life. Focusing on our family's needs instead of our own has also been a significant focus of this month. Changing our perspective on this has allowed us to look toward and plan for the future and reemphasize financial stability's importance. Using this new mindset led to massive improvements, with us paying off two of our credit cards that are now closed and paying off half of the one I have left. Our determination to pay these off has led to increased credit scores and decreased stress levels. We are inching closer to being financially free, and it feels lovely and exciting!
Focus: Giving Back to the Community
Over the entire course of All In 2 Finances, we have learned that finances are bigger in day-to-day life than I originally thought. Honestly, these past 6 months have been a rollercoaster of emotions but all in all, it was a wake-up call we needed, so we would get our finances and priorities in order to put us on track for where we want to get in life. We have learned the importance of putting money in a savings account and the importance of investing any extra money we may have each month. With this knowledge, we now know that money does not have to cause stress. You just have to have the knowledge to use it correctly. We have started to make smarter decisions on how and what we spend, along with not taking money from savings unless necessary. This has led to less impulsive shopping too and a newfound perspective on all things financial! We have seen improvements all around with our credit score increasing dramatically, going from balances on a total of 7 credit cards down to 2 and paying off two major doctor bills. Alleviating these burdens has truly been a blessing, and we are able to actually breathe again thanks to this program! We are so thankful to our coaches and to have been a part of such an amazing program. We feel like we will make it now!