Donna is an incredibly hard worker with a heart for helping people. She is the mother of two grown children, ages 33 and 30, and a grandmother of two cute young kids. Donna is one of 10 CEF leaders participating in our new Renter’s Savings IDA Program, saving regularly to build an emergency fund and working with advocates to strengthen her overall financial security.
Donna first heard about CEF when she was in the shelter, but didn’t get involved until after she moved out. She came to CEF “just to help me get my finances in order. I’m getting older, so security and future planning are very important to me.”
Donna has been incredibly successful. On March 28th Donna will celebrate four years of sobriety. She has been working full-time at Cruizers for three years and in her apartment for two years. She recently started computer classes, dreaming and visioning for her next career move.
On the savings program, Donna says, “When you’re starting over, it’s hard to know how to live again. The savings plan was a godsend. I don’t know really how to save because I don’t make a lot of money, so all my money from my two paychecks is really used up. And if I put it in my regular savings that I can take out, then I usually end up having to take it out.
“This gives me an opportunity. If I take $50 out of my savings that is not planned, I owe it back to myself. And you better believe my advocates hold me to it!”
Donna has two savings accounts with CEF – Safe Savings and Renter’s Savings. Here’s how it works for her: “I have things coming up like my renter’s insurance; it’s $130 right off the bat, and I don’t have that just out of a check. So Safe Savings is for that — I save for stuff that I need and take it out when it’s time. The Renter’s Savings account, I don’t take that out for anything. That is going to be for when my car breaks down or I need another vehicle. And I am just not allowed to touch that. It really makes me feel better, knowing that’s there.”
To fully take advantage of her CEF savings accounts, Donna has completely mastered her budget. As Donna says, “I learned that if I don’t stay on track with my budget, I’m lost. I kind of already had a system when I came to CEF, but being in CEF makes me stick to it.” With her CEF advocates, she set up a mint.com account (personal expense tracking website) to monitor her income and expenses. Look at how amazingly she reduced her monthly expenses over time! That big dip in expenses in June? That’s when she started saving in her CEF account.
Our major kudos and thanks to Donna for her perseverance, diligence and dedication – to herself, her community, and her family’s future. Keep up the amazing work!