Lauren Deon Hawkin’s E.I. Money Savings Success Story

Creative Idea(s):

  1. Understanding my finances: Knowing my income and what I have to spend vs expenses
  2. Withholding the urge: Telling myself that I don’t want it but need it
  3. Maintaining a strong will: Sales are not always your friend especially when deciding between a plane ticket and a Beyonce concert
  4. Stop Impulsive shopping
  5. Implementing a Plan
  6. Utilizing my skills

Amount Saved: $4000.00

Their Story:

Money truly makes the world go round and it took me until I was a senior in college. I worked at the IT department at Spelman College so I could pay for some necessities like senior fees and gas for my car. It was not until after my last homecoming as an undergrad that it hit me, I wanted to do something extravagant for spring break and had no money saved.

Fortunately, I was enrolled in a mentor program that was preparing us for life after Spelman and what woes we would face in the real world. In the program, there were a variety of sessions that we had to attend in order to receive recognition of being apart of the organization. One session in particular spoke to me and was hosted by a fellow Morehouse man. He worked at Bank of America as a financial analyst. It was strange that he made his salary from telling other people how to spend theirs. As weird as it was, I caught my attention.

It was there I made my first budget. I had an income and was always wondering where was my money going. Now I had a projected plan, I just had to follow it. I will admit, it was easier said than done to follow my budget. With having a foundation before even leaving college, it set me up for life living in China. By saving money at home, I was able to maintain my money while abroad until receiving a monthly income which was 2 months after arriving.

In China, I teach English to middle school students. I get paid about 1,500 a month (not including taxes and social security fees). I do not have to pay for rent or utilities while I am here because I live in the school so it is taken care of. Needless to say, that is a good chunk of change to have for a month. Every check I make sure that every coin is accounted for.

I created a real time budget that I following using Excel. I personalized the labels such as: travel, food and dining out, saving, sending home, entertainment and misc. I put a projected amount of money with the corresponding label and set my monthly budget to add up to my income. I absolutely hate using a card no matter what part of the world I am in. I tend to be swipe happy and everything I thought I would save it gone.

To make this process easier for me, I withdraw all my money out of my account that I do not plan on saving which is about 1000 yuan a month (about $160). After I am home, I separate my money into labeled envelopes that correspond to my excel sheet projected budget. It gives me a sense of when this envelope is empty, you have no more money for that category until next pay check.

Being financially wise and alert allows even the youngest individual a sense how money can quickly disappear. I feel it is my duty to become a financial literacy advocate and hope to soon become a certified financial planner working as a financial analyst.

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