Raymond and Cherrissa Williams' Journey

Follow along to see their progress.

Month 1 | April 2024 

Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools

We have learned that having a solid financial plan is over half the battle. Having a monthly budget helps us see where our money is going and will assist with paying down our debt and saving more. The personal financial education provided by this program is already having an impact on our confidence for moving forward. We have created our first real budget that will help hold us accountable in the months ahead. We are excited to have our financial plan on paper!

This month we have taken a needs and wants approach to spending. We have focused on reducing our eating out and stops at the ballgame concession stands. Instead we are taking snacks from home that come out of our grocery budget. This focus has allowed us to look more closely at how we are spending our money and tracking those unnecessary items. 

Monthly Improvements:

  • Changed health insurance providers for a significant monthly savings that will help to reduce debt and increase savings
  • Improved outlook and confidence from the support and education provided by the program

Month 2 | May 2024 

Focus: Using Credit Wisely; Platinum Rewards Credit Cards

This month we've learned that paying more than the minimum balance on your credit card is a smart way to build and maintain a dependable credit score. Also, paying off your balance in full each month avoids interest and fees. It's wise to use less than 30% of your available credit. Paying on time is vital to our credit health! Payment history makes up 38% of our score. It's important to choose the right card by doing research and comparing offers so you can use the credit card in a strategic way. Using a pre-paid card is low-risk and we are going to teach our 15 year old how to use a card.

In month two, we made sure to make all of our payments on time and we paid more than the minimum balance on our cards. We made sure to write all of our due dates on a calendar for a reminder! We are also starting to review our credit more on a regular basis to track our financial progress.

Monthly Improvements:

  • We've paid off a credit card balance
  • Our credit scores have each gone up over 20 points
  • We are applying the information that we have been given

Month 3 | June 2024 

Focus: Auto/Home Buying/Health Education

Buying a home is one of the reasons we were so compelled to apply for this competition. Learning about buying a home and thinking of things to consider when that opportunity arises was really eye opening for us. We learned about principal interest, taxes, home owners insurance and private mortage insurance (PMI). We were able to learn more about PMI and found out that if you have a down payment amount of 20%, you can avoid paying PMI. If you can't put 20% down, you will have to pay PMI until you have 20% equity in your home. 

Over the last three months, we have really zoned in our budget and have gotten strict. We have been cutting down on our expenses by spending less, cutting out extras, etc. which has freed up money to put into our savings account. We are saving for a down payment on our future home and it has been nice to see how savings account grow.

Monthly Improvements:

  • We have noticed our credit score increasing and our confidence in our finances is improving