An Almost Home Testimony

Posted by Markolline Forkpa
Hits: 413

By: Almost Home Alumni, May 2016

 

Eight weeks ago, I walked into that classroom feeling skeptical about the mission of Habitat for Humanity and whether I would benefit from the Almost Home program. Now I am firm believer in the mission of Habitat for Humanity and have benefited tremendously from the Almost Home program.

Eight weeks ago, I was living check to check and had no savings. According to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, there are several baby steps to take in order to achieve financial peace. One step is to have at least $1000 in an emergency fund.  During class, we brainstormed ways to save up the $1000. I temporarily stopped my 401k in order to contribute that money into an emergency fund. I stopped buying coffee from fast food restaurants and bought a coffee maker. I packed my lunch. I even put of some money from my incomes taxes to reach my goal of putting $1000 into an emergency fund. I am happy to report that I have reached my goal and I am now prepared for a rainy day.

 

I’ve also learned the importance of making my money work for me, instead of wondering what happened to my money. I have learned to budget my money better by using the envelope system.  According to Dave Ramsey, people have an emotional connection to cash and have feelings when they are spending cash and have no connection to their money when they are using a credit card. For example, I was in the market the other day and pulled out $100 to pay for my groceries and I had an emotional reaction to spending my money. My budget was $100 and I only spent $93. It felt bad to give away $100; however, it made me stick to my budget because I did not to want withdraw more money from the ATM. If I was using my credit card, it wouldn’t bother me one bit if I had blown the budget and had to spend a few more dollars to cover the bill. I feel when I spend actual cash. The bonus was I came in under budget and had $7 to add to the pot for the next grocery trip.

This program helped to restore my faith in humanity.  It was more than just achieving financial peace, but treating the whole person by helping to remove those obstacles that stood in your way of becoming homeowners. Habitat for Humanity understands that there are hardworking people who can’t buy a home the traditional way; however they are no less deserving of a decent affordable home than those who can. They don’t offer a hand out. They offer a helping hand. I didn’t believe that mission when I stepped in those doors eight weeks ago. Each week I saw that you cared, the volunteers cared, and Habitat for Humanity truly cared. You were wonderful at creating a judgment free environment. We were provided with experts in the industry to discuss issues such as legal aid, we were matched with financial coaches, and were connected with organizations such as Careerlink, and offered help with our resumes.  During a resume writing course I was asked to participate in a mock interview. I am interested in changing careers. After the mock interview with Marianne Lynch, I was connected with someone who works for the Pennsylvania government who can offer career advice on how to make the transition from the private sector to the public sector.

I could go on forever. I have gotten so much out of this program. I enthusiastically endorse this program to anyone who will listen. Michele, thank you so much for all of your hard work and dedication to working with us. If it’s anything that I can do to help you, please let me know. It was a pleasure to get to know you and I hope to continue to work with you in the future.