Getting Out of Debt

In 2004, Tonya Shelton was facing financial ruin. Barely making more than minimum wage and having lost her home to an unexpected family crisis, Shelton and her family were forced to live in a rundown hotel.

Their future seemed bleak. However, armed with a burning desire to make life better for her family, help from Purdue Extension’s Making Your Money Work financial literacy program, the assistance of a Local America Saves campaign Indy Saves, and a savings plan, she began her journey to becoming a good steward over the money she did have.

With the help of Indy Saves, Shelton set a goal – to save $10 a week towards an emergency fund. It was money she felt she did not have at the time, but Indy Saves and Making Your Money Work helped her to commit to a budget in order to start saving. She sealed the deal by enrolling in a direct deposit program. “Having a savings account helped me to understand the value of having a banking relationship,” said Shelton.

At the end of the year, Shelton had saved $520 – a huge accomplishment. That milestone fueled her desire to continue to save. When Shelton received a raise later on that year, she added that to her savings. She also saved money from her tax refund, as well as money freed up from debt repayment. Eventually, Shelton saved enough money that in 2007 she purchased a home, all new appliances, and still had money left in savings. 

Today, Shelton has cleaned up her credit, started her own business, earned a BS in Management, and has been accepted to graduate school at Indiana University. In addition, she volunteers as a “money mentor,” teaching the same principles she learned from Indy Saves and the Making Your Money Work program. Shelton says, “Saving helped change my life in that I now have a plan for unexpected emergencies. It’s good to know that if something major happens with the car, the house, or with my children we have money in the bank.” 

“The hardest part of getting out of debt was working with limited funds. In the beginning, I did not believe I would ever get out,” said Shelton. Her story proves that nothing is furtherfrom the truth.

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Second saving strategy: Save for emergencies http://ow.ly/sj3vP

Share Your Tip or Story

And if we feature you in our newsletter, you get $25.

Share

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Getting Out of Debt

In 2004, Tonya Shelton was facing financial ruin. Barely making more than minimum wage and having lost her home to an unexpected family crisis, Shelton and her family were forced to live in a rundown hotel.

Read more...

Saving is a Family Affair

Saving is truly a family affair for Jeff’s household. During America Saves Week 2019, he pledged to save for retirement. But making a commitment and creating a plan to save isn’t a new concept for him.

Read more...

A Think Like A Saver Attitude

Melissa has always been thrifty with a #ThinkLikeASaver attitude. This served her family well when her husband lost his job in 2014. Using their savings, Melissa’s family stayed afloat while her husband found a new job. During his job search they used a majority of their savings, but that is OKAY. Savings are fluid! They’re supposed to be used in the case of emergency, and this qualified as such.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Sign Up