GMA

May 13, 2013 7:47 AM by Kristen Holloway

Extreme Spending Forced One Acadiana Resident to Change Her Life

All month long we're showing you the money, one way by keeping more in your bank account by spending smartly. Owning a home for one Acadiana resident seemed out of reach but for Kirsity Joesph, she says she just couldn't give up.

Back in 2006 Kiristy Joseph was working in the medical field, happily married with three children. She wanted a home of her own, but was shocked at the state of her finances after meeting with representatives at Lafayette Neighborhood Counseling Services.

"I was spending $400 a month on fast food because I wasn't cooking at the house. I hadn't even considered it I'd just picked up something on my way home for the children," said Joseph.

So she made some tough decisions. Making matters worse, her husband was killed in an accident by a drunk driver. She was on one income, so the first step was making the decision to keep her job as a nurse temporarily to build up her savings.

"We like for everyone to have an emergency plan, where there's job loss, if there's illness or if there's a reduction in income. If you have a reduction plan in plan it makes it easier for you to transition from a place of having an income coming in and maybe recovering from a lack of income," said Kristy Hayes Neighborhood Services Counselor.

Next she forced herself to cook more often and start a strict budget for her family. Something they never had before.

"That was something I never thought that I would need, So when I would go to the store and we would buy everything that we would need for the month.
After I put a budget together my next meeting with Kristy was trying to figure out where my money was going and what I needed to start saving," said Joseph.

Today Kirstie is a homeowner, who says she now has a better handle on her spending habits, a happier home and she's attending classes a UL for what she's really passionate about becoming a pre-k teacher.

"Now I know that in order for my life to progress from one point to another that I need to make a budget and stay within my budget so that I can attain the different things I want out of life, so the budgeting class really helped me," said Joseph.

The Josephs story ended with a new home and a new career but more importantly, a lesson learned.

Here are some tips to help you spend smarter and save money

1. Use a list. You'll save money by reducing impulse buys.
2. Check for coupons online and in print before buying.
3. Create a budget, but keep track of your savings as well as your spending. Seeing the reward alongside the restraint can keep you motivated.

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