When we last spoke with Chris White, 43, she struggled to grow her savings and curb her spending. Despite maintaining a budget on Mint.com, if White had a bad day her response was to go shopping.
Among her other issues, White has been working to restore her FICO score after watching it plummet from 710 to the 500s.Â In 2009, she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to pay off $90,000 in business loans, and personal and business credit card debt after being robbed. With on-time payments on her car note and paying back two small business loans from the Intersect Fund in New Brunswick, New Jersey, she has been able to boost her score to the high 600s. “I’ve been slowly inching up, but I want to be in the 700s by next year,â€ says White.
But White’s main focus has been on growing her cash reserve. Since making the decision to change her mindset and how she manages her money, she puts $350 a month on a prepaid card for shopping, dinner, and entertainment. “Once that money that I budgeted for the month is gone then it’s gone. Before, I was going overboard and not giving myself boundaries,â€ says White, who has reduced her monthly spending by about $300.
To avoid dipping into her savings, White has set up online banking, but does not carry around the debit card. Having the money out of sight and out of mind is a strategy that has helped White grow her savings from $7,000 to $24,000 in the last year. She’s been saving about $500 a month from her job as an office manager for a tax-consulting firm in addition to the $2,000 she brings in per month with her consulting business and $5,000 a year from bartending.
(Continued on next page)