A reader of JosephSangl.com shared her story with me recently. It sums up why I do what I do. With her permission, here is her story …
I was OVERWHELMED with JOY as I dropped my oldest child off for college last weekend! NOT because I was happy to have her leave the house…she has been such BLESSING and a BIG part of my life since I was 17 years old and learned I was pregnant… but because I have PRAYED, PLANNED & PREPARED for this day for YEARS.
I made a lot of COSTLY mistakes. I turned my back on God and did things my way! I maxed out my first credit card at 15 YEARS OLD! That was the beginning of several bad financial decisions since I didn't put any thoughtful planning into them! They were "this will due 'til the next bill arrives" solutions which is NO solution at all!
I hit rock bottom and was in BONDAGE financially, spiritually & emotionally by my early 20s. After a divorce, I was living in an apartment I couldn't afford and my car was being repossessed so I swallowed my pride, went to D.S.S. and applied for assistance. I was denied for everything. I was told that my full time job paying minimum wage put me over the limit for any assistance for myself and two children. I was devastated. I asked the lady how anyone would qualify if the standards were so low. She advised me to lose my job and showed me that if I would stay home with my children instead of working then I would actually make MORE money on welfare. I left and never went back. I got sick of hot dogs, grilled cheese and pb&j sandwiches but kept working.
I EVENTUALLY came to the conclusion that this wasn't the life that I wanted for myself or my children!! I was raised in a Christian household and accepted Christ at seven years old. I KNEW that how I was living was wrong. I wasn't going to church, tithing, or budgeting my money. I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit when I made bad decisions whether they were moral or financial. God had more in store for me than I could ever imagine and I was cheating myself by cheating Him!
I began going to church, budgeting my money and planning for the future. I saved what I could… as often as I could. I got life insurance on myself and my children. I started a Future Scholar 529 College Savings plan (direct so I managed it myself and didn't pay anyone a fee) for both of my children. I started saving the minimum amount allowable. $50 per month. It was A LOT to me but I am so thankful that I did. I was able to raise the amount over the years and I am pleased to say that my daughter's first tuition payment was paid in full directly from that account!! AND she is driving a car that is completely paid for!! I think I was the happiest mom at the college last weekend. I literally found myself skipping with joy as I transported her belongings from the car to the dorm!!
If I could say anything to the moms & dads out there it would be this, "Don't let time get away from you! Start saving NOW!" Ideally, you should save $200 per month per child to plan for their college expenses but WHATEVER you save will help!! God has great things in store for you and your children!! I am still saving every month for college expenses because I know there are more tuition bills on the way.
My goal now is to help my daughter through college with NO student loan debt. I don't know what's in store for us over the next four years but I know that I will keep PRAYING, PLANNING and PREPARING every day!!
THAT FIRES ME UP!