Focus: Budgeting, Settings Goals & All In Financial Tools
My first month in this program has been so enlightening, especially due to the fact I never received much financial guidance and teaching growing up. My coaches assisted me in learning about the types of accounts All In has to offer and how their Mobile App has beneficial information and tools I can utilize to track changes in my financial portfolio. They have also assisted me with cutting back on my fast-food expenditures and instilling the importance of budgeting. I also received valuable information from the Everfi courses from this past month, including an in-depth breakdown of credit and why it is important. Gaining this knowledge has shifted my perspective and reemphasized the importance of improving my credit score.
A major habit change I have experienced this past month is reducing how often I eat out and learning how to cook for myself. This is a way to reduce costs and also learn a new skill in the process. Another bad habit I am attempting to correct is to not spend as much money on toys for my son, so now, he still receives a toy when we go to the store but it costs no more than $5. These are just a few habits I am working on implementing into my everyday life, and I can already see how much of a difference these practices have made thus far.
An exciting development over the first month of the program has been an improvement in my credit score, which has really experienced a U-turn and is finally heading in the right direction. I have also put all my bills on auto pay to ensure my bills and credit card are paid on time. My coaches encouraged me to enroll in Debit Card Round Up, which has resulted in my savings account growing by the day. While my first month of All In 2 Finances has involved much learning and growing, I can already see the fruits of my labor paying off!
Focus: Using Credit Wisely; Platinum Rewards Credit Cards
May was another eye-opening month on my journey toward the financial future I envision for myself and my son. I have learned more about credit cards and how to utilize them responsibly from my coaches, and they emphasized the importance of paying them on time and paying the full amount instead of paying the minimum. Using a certain amount on your credit card affects your credit, and I did not know this prior to beginning this program. For it to not affect your credit score, you must stay at a certain amount. This month, I spent $20 on my credit card, and I paid it off. When it hit the credit bureaus, it showed that I used 0%, and my credit score improved by 30 points! Having this newfound knowledge has led to improvements I never anticipated I would experience.
Limiting how much money I spend unnecessarily is a habit I have concentrated on this month. This has led to staying in the house more, saving on gas and going out to eat less. These small sacrifices have led to me seeing more of my paycheck and allocating it to more important endeavors like reducing debt and building up my savings.
Speaking of reducing debt and increasing my savings, I have seen an improvement in both of those areas this month, along with the 30-point increase in my credit score that I mentioned earlier. My coaches also showed me how to enable Auto Pay, so all of my bills are getting paid on time. I am overwhelmed by the improvements made in just two short months in this program under my coaches’ tutelage and know that the best is yet to come.
Focus: Auto/Home Buying/Health Education
Before this program, I didn’t have the knowledge needed to execute many basic financial principles, but thankfully, my coaches have taught me how to manage my money better and create a savings plan. Learning how to save has been a process that hasn’t happened overnight, but I am encouraged about the path I am on.
In Month 3, I continued to alter my lifestyle and enact new habits that will benefit me down the road. I have shifted how I spend by shopping at less stores when possible, so I am not tempted to buy items that are not necessities. As a continuum from previous months, I am still spending less money on fast food and continuing to master my cutlery skills!
With three months complete, I am excited to see my credit improving and my savings increasing. My coaches have been a primary reason for this growth, and I am thrilled to see what Month 4 has to offer. My son is one of my primary motivations in life, and learning more about how to save for his future is exciting!
Focus: Saving for Children/College
Month 4 of All In 2 Finances may have been the most impactful on me yet because of the wealth of knowledge I learned about saving for my son’s future. The online modules I took taught me about a method on how to save money for my son and his college tuition. I am excited to enroll in that program and begin saving for his education.
I am still working diligently on not spending extra money on my son, and that is a difficult practice to implement at times. Unfortunately, I did spend a little too much on fast food this month, but I will continue to work on that habit until it is gone!
It is encouraging to continue seeing improvements in my credit score and savings account month over month. Seeing tangible improvements pushes me to keep going and reminds me that I am inching closer and closer to achieving my financial goals.
Focus: Retirement Planning and Insurance
Month 5 taught me vital lessons about planning for retirement that will benefit my son and me in the long term. One of the courses this month covered how to establish a savings fund for my son’s college. It resonated with me the profound impact this fund can have on my son’s future, and I am looking forward to putting this plan into action.
Cutting back on eating out is a habit I have had to continually work on throughout my time in the program, and I continue to cook small portions at home to limit spending. My coaches brought new savings tactics to my attention, so I can eventually have the opportunity to take my son on trips and vacations without having a strict budget I have to adhere to on the trip.
It was an exciting month with the amount of improvement and progress I witnessed with the main one being my credit score! I now possess a score of 721! I am so proud of myself for embarking on this amazing journey and learning about so many things that will definitely help my son and me in the future. Obviously, all this could not have been done without my coaches supporting and challenging me to keep pushing myself to achieve the future I have envisioned for myself. Now, I use my credit cards responsibly, and my biggest accomplishment is saving money for a reliable vehicle to purchase so I can finish nursing school. It is a rewarding feeling to experience these positive improvements after months of hard work and dedication. While the program only has one month to go, my road to living a healthy financial lifestyle is just getting started!
Focus: Giving Back to the Community
The information and knowledge I have gained through this program has been life-changing for my son and I. Coming into this program, I lacked knowledge about credit and finances, but with the guidance of my coaches, my eyes were opened to opportunities for improvement. Along with my coaches’ guidance, the Everfi modules assigned to us every month were extremely helpful. These modules informed me of different credit cards, savings accounts, the homebuying process and most importantly, how to save for my son’s future and college funding.
WOW! The habits I started this program with and the ones I finished with were polar opposites from one another. The dramatic shift in habits exhibits the progress I have made from month one to month six. One habit I changed was not buying my son any and everything he wanted or picked up in a store. My solution to this issue was by simply saying “NO” and not passing or going on the toy aisle. Another habit I have changed is limiting how often I eat out and instead cooking at home more often. I did not believe I could change some of the unpleasant habits I had, but through the efforts I made in this program, I was able to make drastic changes I had not thought possible.
Since beginning this challenge, my credit score went from 589 to 721! I cannot believe the astronomical rise in my score in just six short months. Talking with my coaches, they told me how to effectively use my credit cards and how to pay back the full amount. My savings only decreased a small amount due to a mechanical problem that occurred with my car during the challenge. Overall, this has been a great and rewarding opportunity for me, and I have learned valuable info from my coaches, the modules, the mortgage department and many more. I am more financially secure and know with the resources and knowledge I have, I will be able to purchase a reliable car and finish nursing school!