“I remember that day like yesterday,” Ayana said.  After buying groceries a few blocks from her house, Ayana’s 1991 Cadillac DeVille stopped working.  Financially unprepared for emergencies, Ayana paid out-of-pocket for the repairs because she didn’t have a savings account and lived paycheck-to-paycheck.  It was a major financial blow for Ayana, who works full-time and raises three daughters.

Soon after, she realized that things needed to change and opened a savings account when she filed her taxes for the first time at Prepare + Prosper in Minneapolis, Minnesota four years ago.  Before filing at Prepare + Prosper, Ayana spent hundreds of dollars at a paid preparer.

“It all started here [at Prepare + Prosper],” Ayana explained. “Opening a savings account was a door opener and a step up for me and my daughters, not to mention winning the SaveYourRefund contest! I plan on putting the $100 directly into my savings account.”

Before having a savings account, she would pay a fee to have her paycheck cashed and spend her entire paycheck without saving any of it.  Ayana now puts 10% from each paycheck into her savings account to save for emergencies and to be a role model for her three daughters.

Ayana’s daughters are her life. “I want to teach them that money doesn’t grow on trees so I give them a weekly allowance and ask them to save some of their money.” She teaches her daughters that saving money can help them in the future. One of Ayana’s daughters loves fashion and is saving her money to take a trip with her mom to New York City this year.

Ayana describes herself as a humble person. “I want others to know that it’s important to save and you won’t regret doing it because it’s an investment on your life,” she responded when asked what recommendation she would give to others about saving.

Story written by Taylor Putz of Prepare + Prosper in St. Paul, MN