Just over two years ago, Taya Bullock received a flyer from Clarifi advertising the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program and figured it was the perfect opportunity to get her finances in order. She explained to her counselor, Christy Napolin, that she had two goals: to finally become a homeowner and to one day open her own childcare agency.
“My first obstacle was the over 8,000 dollars I owed in debt” Taya explained, “I didn’t realize how much I was overspending, until I sat down and made a budget.” Christy taught Taya some tricks to stay organized like keeping receipts, “I put everything in envelopes,” said Taya. And with the lessons she’s learned, she’s making real progress – she’s brought her debt down to less than $200 and increased her credit score by more than 35 points.
“I had a plan to take my kids to Disney World, I had it all plotted out, that driving down would be the most affordable way. But I had to sacrifice that to keep in line with my goal. It’s so easy to fall into a ‘treat yourself, you work so hard’ mindset” Taya said. “I would go out and spend, but then the bills would catch up with me. I’m so grateful to have Christy in my corner. She helped me stay on task, making sure my bills were paid on time. She never cancelled on me, worked after hours, accommodated me while I was working, and kept in touch throughout the pandemic.” Taya explains that Christy also gave her tips when she received her stimulus payments.
“Christy was so helpful, I started telling my neighbors about what Clarifi did for me” Taya says enthusiastically. With an extensive background in childcare, she’s eager to start her own daycare business. She has children of her own and has passed down her lessons from Christy to them. “I have a son who’s a senior in high school, going to college next year. He started working last year, and I passed on all the budgeting tips I had to him, and now he’s saved about $1500!”
With regards to her goal of becoming a homeowner, Taya says that the process is “stressful, but I focus on the steps. If you take it all piece by piece, it becomes a lot more manageable. The idea of taking care of yourself, is so important, before the pandemic, but especially now. It all takes time, but you’ll be okay. The small steps add up to big steps over time.” These small steps, when taken together, may even lead to Disney World after all.