and custody for two of the children, Jerilyn, 6, and Sydney, 5. The grandparents took in the other two children. “She was such a nice lady,” Regenia says of her patient. “She had cancer of the pallet, the back of the mouth, and nasal area. Her husband had left her, and before she died she said, ‘Help my babies.’
“Financially, the girls are not a drain on us,” Regenia says. “Their grandparents provide them with clothes and toys and have set up a college fund for them.” In December the sisters extended their generosity further by taking in Rachel, a 17-year-old family member who attends Houston Community College. “Our grocery bill is higher,” says Regenia, “but our lifestyles haven’t really changed that much.”
To achieve their financial goals and position themselves to help others, Patricia and Regenia followed these rules:
MAKE SAVING A PRIORITY
The Washington sisters stress that learning to save and invest early was the key to their financial success. The lessons their mother taught them about money guide their lives, and they plan to pass those lessons on to Jerilyn and Sydney. The Washington sisters have already set up accounts for the children, and they take them to the bank just like their own mother did years ago. “Learning the importance of saving money and making it work for you is crucial. We want to expose the girls to the concept,” says Patricia.
PAY OFF LOANS AND PAY CASH
By paying off her loans, Regenia saved thousands of dollars in interest that she would have paid had she spread out the payments over several years. To do so, she worked overtime on weekends.
The Washington sisters also believe in paying cash for items when they are able. They buy all their Christmas gifts and most household items in cash. They also limit their credit card use.
LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS
The Washington sisters believe in bargains. They buy groceries in bulk and choose store brands instead of the more popular brands. They also save by shopping for clothing and home accessories over the Internet.
To cut down on expenses further, the sisters now eat at home more, especially since Jerilyn and Sydney came to live with them.