By Kirsti Charlton, Budget Boot Camp Coordinator
How do we know that the Budget Boot Camp program makes a difference? I recently interviewed two women, Mary and Gloria (not their real names), who completed the program.
Mary, who works full time, said, “I came to the preview session out of desperation.” Due to medical problems (no insurance), Mary was over $20,000 in debt. This was a new situation since Mary was used to living within her modest means, and knew the difference between “wants” and “needs”.
Gloria, who is a full time student and mom, came to the program through working with her church’s care coordinator. She was aware she needed help in tackling financial issues. She had no previous personal financial education and came from a low-income family.
Mary described her coaches as “wonderful, tender”. They made her work hard, she added, but she loved working WITH them. Gloria added: “My coaches were straightforward, positive, and encouraging. They believed in me! They truly believed that I could change my financial future, and that, in turn, empowered me to believe, too. It IS possible to have a positive economic future, debt free!” Note: Each individual or couple is assigned a coach and a co-coach (assistant) to be on their “team”.
Gloria also stated that she was so pleased in how much money she saved during these 12 weeks. She also appreciated the free childcare, commenting on how much fun her preschool daughter had!
People who successfully complete the program find strength to make better financial decisions and gain hope for the future. Mary used the words “relief” and “freedom”. “I am no longer a slave to credit card companies,” she added.
Gloria stated, “My behavior with money has changed for the better. I still have moments of spending when I know I shouldn’t but it has improved a lot and I can stick with a budget.”
Both Mary and Gloria are Christians. (Note: Being a Christian is not a requirement of the program, but Love INC is a Christian ministry, our coaches are Christian, and prayers are prayed for their success as they gain control over their finances). Gloria stated that the program strengthened her relationship with Jesus because she was applying His teachings to her spending habits. Gloria described her before and after program thinking: “Before the class when I was in “broke” phases, all I ever felt was fear and despair. I know that Jesus doesn’t want these feelings for me and by applying the Word to my spending and personal finances I know I don’t have to feel that way!”
Twelve weeks of weekly meetings of 2 hours each gave Mary and Gloria strength, support, and skills to get a handle on their finances. One now volunteers with the program as an assistant coach; the other continues her studies and is in her last year of school.
Could you be Mary or Gloria? Do you need, or know someone who needs, financial coaching and money management skills? Or perhaps you see yourself as one of those “wonderful,” “encouraging” coaches who would like to help people transform their lives by providing service In the Name of Christ. Either way, the Budget Boot Camp ministry would love to talk with you! Please call the Love INC office at 671-6201.