Rashala’s Story: Saving Money For Her Daughter

Meet Rashala, a Youth Development Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club for America who lives with her daughter in Tennessee.

Tell me about your job.

During the pandemic, we’ve been focusing more on virtual learning. For my role, we’re that means helping the kids out with their school work and teaching them life skills. We recently taught the kids etiquette and how to be kind to people of different backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities.

What does a day in your life currently look like?

I wake up at 6:30 am, make coffee, get my daughter dressed, drop her off at school, then I go to work. After she’s done with school, I pick her up, we eat dinner together, relax, then go to bed and get ready to repeat the process the next day.

When I have time to unwind, I usually read a few blog posts from people I follow, journal a bit, and watch tv.

What did you learn about money growing up?

While I learned a lot about saving money, I wish I could’ve learned about credit, investing, and student loans at an early age.

Also, even though I came from a single-parent household, I never went hungry. And I knew it was a struggle sometimes.

Do you have student loans? What does the payment process look like right now?

The student loan moratorium has really helped. Because I don’t need to pay my federal student loans at the moment, I’ve been able to establish a savings account for my daughter. I’ve also been able to save a couple of months’ worth of income in my emergency fund.

Did you receive both stimulus checks from 2020? What did you do with them?

Yes, I received both. I saved a lot of the first one, and the second one came at a time when I needed to use it for bills.

What does saving look like right now for you?

Saving has been really hard during the pandemic. My hours at work have been tremendously reduced, so I’m making less. I don’t have a lot left over in my paycheck after I pay my bills. But in terms of saving, just knowing that I have a bit of savings has been helpful. It’s what’s been keeping me afloat since my hours were reduced.

How has the pandemic affected your life?

Because the Boys and Girls Club for America has been servicing essential workers’ children, this job has brought me most of my income. On the downside, sometimes we’re shut down due to a COVID-19 exposure. And when I’m at work, I have childcare on my mind. I live in the city by myself and don’t have family around, so I’ve had to rely on childcare facilities and programs for my daughter. I get some financial assistance from the state, but I still have to pay a small portion of the cost of childcare.

Are you saving for anything in particular?

Right now, I’m just trying to save money for my daughter’s future. I want her to be financially prepared for the future—whether that’s college or whatever she decides to do.

Have you had to dip into your savings to help weather the pandemic?

Yes, we’ve had to do that especially since I might be out of work for two weeks at a time. It’s been a blessing to have any savings at all, but when you need to use that money, the tough part is restarting that savings process again.

Tell me about your biggest financial achievement.

Paying off debt increased my credit score. Now when I’m able to pay off more debt than I owe that month, that gives me a chance to only pay the minimum amount next month.