April 4, 2012
By Katie Bryan, America Saves communications manager
This story is part of the Spring 2012 American Saver Newsletter
Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves. Originally, Barns had no savings and only had enough money to live paycheck to paycheck, which she described as “very uncomfortable and stressful.” Through seminars provided by Charlotte Saves, Barns learned that she was operating without a budget, that most of her spending was done sporadically, and that the small things she spent money on really added up.
Charlotte Saves helped Barns track her spending better by writing down all the things she bought. Through this tracking Barns realized she paid a $50 late fee for something every month. “I quickly realized I could be saving this $50 towards my son’s college, a new car, or most importantly an emergency fund,” said Barns.
Charlotte Saves helped Barns to be honest with herself as well as the creditors she was working with. Barns cut her spending and set up payment plans to cover her bills. Barns even got her son involved in saving. By saving together they were able to bond and spend quality time together -- all while saving. “It’s liberating to know I have a safety net if anything were to happen,” said Barns “and that I built that safety net with my own savings.”
Barns is working towards finishing school and doesn’t want to end up with a lot of debt, so she’s made paying for school and becoming a homeowner her saving priorities. Without Charlotte Saves, Barns didn’t think she’d have her current goals or the knowledge to save efficiently to reach them. When Barns first started saving she added $25 per week towards her savings account. Today she is up to around $50 per week. “It was an adjustment,” said Barns. But when she saw the changes even just after 2 months she realized what a difference saving had made.