“I began to count the pennies on my dresser.”
That’s how Ebony Brown-Parks remembers 2012. Despite being the first in her family to graduate college, during the recession, she found herself underemployed and in debt from her wedding expenses and preparing to start her family.
Then she found out about Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) through Northwest Indiana Community Action near her hometown of Gary, Indiana. In return for attending financial education sessions and planning to save for a home, education, or business, IDA participants typically receive a match. In Indiana, the state matches $3 for every $1 saved by the participant. If your income is under a certain limit, you may be eligible to participate too. Find an IDA program near you here.
It’s through her IDA program that Ebony learned about tax time savings and SaveYourRefund. Last year, America Saves partnered with the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund to offer the SaveYourRefund program that incentivizes the saving of tax refunds at the moment of filing. For some Americans, a tax refund is the largest check they may receive all year. Ebony has entered in the promotion every year since.
Thanks in part to saving at tax time, Ebony was able to weather yet another financial storm in 2015 when she lost her job. Now the mother of two children, she turned to homeschooling in order to cut expenses. And she was able to pass along the perfect lesson to her kids, “We can fall down but we have to find our way back to our passion.”
By using her tax refund to purchase a U.S. savings bond for her daughter (and paying off bills and funding her Roth IRA), Ebony made what would be the winning entry to the SaveYourRefund contest.
“The $25,000 will be a big help to me and my family,” she said. “You never think this stuff will happen to you. It feels good to win because I try to do the right thing. Income goes up and down – especially with my layoff – and one of the things I really care about is being financially secure.”
Ebony started small and won big, and you can start small and think big. Read more about the importance of tax time savings here. And be sure to learn how you can enter next year’s SaveYourRefund contest and maybe you’ll be the next grand prize winner.
Meet Ebony, the SaveYourRefund $25,000 #SaveYourRefund grand prize winner >> http://bit.ly/29Ys4C7 @D2Dfund @AmericaSaves
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