I am a single parent, who works full time and is enrolled half time in the Master of Arts program through the Davis School of Gerontology at USC. Last year, I struggled with balancing responsibilities and finding financial stability because of an unhealthy relationship that ended in a financial crisis. This relationship ended with owing over $3000 worth of debt with one credit card accrued during the relationship. Eventually, I started struggling with payments. Hence, phone calls from the credit card representatives, withdrawal of funds from my account even though I made payment arrangements and threats to withdrawal funds from an account that I had saved to buy my son Christmas gifts. Additionally, I managed to obtain a photo ticket shortly after the relationship ended which added an additional expense. Consequently, I started experiencing anxiety and distress from everything that was happening. At this point, I realized that I needed assistance immediately.
While last year appeared to be the worst year of my life, I never gave up on myself although my faith was severely weakened. Since I am an active member at my church, I kept attending church faithfully believing that one day I would find a way to escape that painful situation. Fortunately, one day my church randomly announced that they will be starting a financial assistance program. At the moment, I knew that other church members had financial struggles and had been requesting financial resources. My church informed us that they have gained access to a financial program through Dave Ramsey, a bestselling author according to New York Times. I didn’t have any money to pay to participate. Therefore, I requested assistance to pay for it. By virtue of patience and faith, someone graciously covered the expense. When I was informed about the expenses paid, I was ecstatic and in disbelief that someone would do this.
At first, this system felt like a daunting task and that it would take forever to get financially stable. However, by implementing a budget system which required prioritizing and allocating money to areas that were essential and removing unnecessary spending such as eating out and entertainment, I began to perceive a positive outlook on life. By the time the year 2015 arrived and with the help of income tax refund, I finally paid the credit card and the photo ticket debt.
Although I have paid the two biggest debtors off, I currently use the budget system I was taught. I learned that budgeting is a lifelong process that leads to financial success and that allocating every dollar to areas that are essential by organizing and prioritizing, actually pays other bills faster. As a result of this system, I have one credit card to pay off and I am able to buy my son Christmas gifts this year. I am very grateful that I gained access to this program because I am in greater shape now than what I was last year.