You will not believe what it took to completely change my life. About three years ago, the HR Administrator of the corporation where I worked (as a temp with no benefits) forwarded an email to me. Fifteen seconds. One small act of kindness. That's it - that's all it took!
The headline in that email asked, "Tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck?" and my answer "YES!" was the loudest silent scream I've ever let out. Having lived that way all my life - through college, through ten years of marriage, through raising two boys as a single mom, through two corporate layoffs, through a career change at the age of 48 - I had come to believe living paycheck-to-paycheck was normal. The email was about a ten-month program called BankOn Virginia Beach. A free chance to learn about saving, budgeting, understanding credit, and to find the focus and accountability I needed to make a change.
I never, ever had a savings account - I never thought I could have one! During my first BankOn class, I pledged to save with the help of Virginia Saves and had a major revelation - my financial predicament had nothing to do with my hourly wage and everything to do with ME telling myself, "I can't — I can't get that...I can't go there...I can't do this...I can't have a savings account.” Once I stopped saying "I can't" and started saying "I will," the small percentage of my never-enough-paycheck automatically deposited into a saving account started building quickly - and it never even hurt! Now, I'm an instructor and volunteer financial coach for BankOn, driven to keep what I've learned as a Virginia Saver in front of me and to share it with others - hoping I can offer that one small act of kindness that just might change someone else's life for the better, too.
Today, I can say with gratitude for that HR Administrator, BankOn, and Virginia Saves, I not only have $1,000+ in emergency savings, but I now have a dream job (with amazing benefits) ironically in the financial industry - a desk chair this once hopelessly-living-paycheck-to-paycheck girl never dreamed of being able to fill! So let me encourage you to start small and it will make a big difference. That’s all it will take!