Tamiko’s Story: Pay Yourself First

Meet Tamiko: Tamiko lives in Dothan, Alabama with her two children, Ayonna (13) and Aidan (8). She has worked as an administrative assistant for her church for 16 years.

What did your upbringing teach you about finances?

My mom was a single parent, so she always managed money. It was a struggle for me, but as I got older and had kids, I saw that I needed to save money.

My mother had savings accounts, one in particular called her “emergency cash” to keep at home. She put away money out of each paycheck.

When I was younger, I didn’t think about saving. But as I got older, I had bills and I realized I can’t spend the way I wanted to, as though I was younger. When you have kids, the dependency is on you now.

What are the lowest and highest financial points in your life?

My highest point would probably be now because I have money to do the things I couldn’t do.

My lowest point was during the time I was transitioning away from my kids’ father. All the financial responsibilities fell on me. At some point, I couldn’t see a way to pay for it all.

What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve received?

My grandmother’s sister used to say, “Pay yourself first.” At first I didn’t understand what she was saying, but then she said, “You know what your bills are every month, but put $20 or $30 aside first. Think of yourself first.”

I try to do that now. If I don’t save the money, I’ll treat myself and the kids to something special.

What are your goals for the future?

I’m working to finish up my bachelor’s degree and get a job in my chosen field, and to be financially stable. I’m getting my degree in health administration. In the past, I’ve worked in hospitals, and I’d love to get back to that in an administration role.

I only have one course and I’ll be done by the end of the year. I’m so excited!

What does money mean to you in your life?

Money means stability, being able to pay and do the things you want to do without asking anybody for it. It’s freedom.

Recommended Articles

JoTerrica’s Story: Veteran, Student, and Mother

Meet JoTerrica, a disabled veteran who is working on her Master’s in Social Work. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her children and partner. What do you do? I am a full-time student, I am a mother, and I am a Recreation Aide at my local VA. I served in the military from 2005… Read more

SaverLife has a new look!

SaverLife is starting a new chapter. Log in to check out the new dashboard, which allows you to more easily see your savings progress. In the coming months, we’ll be adding more helpful features, including personalized recommendations and more ways to win money as you save. Happy saving! Read more

Pashen’s Story: Lessons for My Boys

Meet Pashen, a Florida native currently living in Lake Wales with her three sons. What do you do? I’m a paraeducator at my local school district. I help my students who may have learning disabilities. What did your upbringing teach you about finances? As a kid, I was always worried if my parents were going… Read more