Following the plan

Max lives in Ephrata and heard about Tabor’s financial counseling services through the Ephrata Mennonite Credit Union (now Everence). He was working two part-time jobs and one full-time job, but still had nothing to show for it. “I always had an income, but I didn’t know how to spend it or plan to make it work for me. It was ‘easy come, easy go’ “. He was very reluctant to attend the classes because “I didn’t need anyone to tell me how to spend my money”. However, the classes had flexible daytime and evening hours, so he decided to attend. He attended all five classes, and even though he kept receipts and documented his spending, his input was still not equal to his output.

In Max’s words, “When they mentioned budget, to me that meant no freedom, something like putting chains on me”. That was the first wall he tore down. “I learned that a budget is just a plan and I needed to follow the plan to reach my destination. I changed my way of thinking”. The classes are free, the students get certificates along with “goodies”, i.e., pens, calculators. He loves to collect things, so he started collecting the certificates.

In the past Max borrowed money, but from the wrong places, where 25-28 percent interest rates were charged that damaged his credit. He now knows how to borrow money, when to do it and where to do it.

Max developed an outlet where he justified his spending. He had an allowance of $20/week and went to Goodwill or Re-Uzit Shops instead of the mall. In 1-1/2 hours he spent $12.50 for two bags of merchandise including a great pair of running shoes. He harnessed his spending and his controlled, restricted spending got him to a better place. A financial advisor wrote a program for Max and developed the stages of the plan, and Max needs to be disciplined and follow the program.

Max recommended the workshops to two members of his church. The church helps the member with money and in return the borrower needs to register at Tabor and attend financial courses.

Some of the instructors teaching the classes come from financial backgrounds. Some of them were in a bad space at one time. Max says, “They walked the road. There was no pushing or forcing anything on anybody. People from all walks of life attend the classes. Some had been in prison, some had gone through bankruptcy, and some had losses through divorce. They shared their experiences, and ‘we feed off each other’ which benefitted me.”

Max finishes by saying, “It is a very humbling experience to learn from your own mistakes. Tabor is a very good outreach to the community, and I hope others will attend their programs.”

Tabor offers workshops that help individuals improve their personal financial management skills. All workshops are FREE and open to the public with one topic offered each week at two different times. All workshops are 90 minutes long and are designed as independent courses which can be taken individually or as a series.

For more information on workshop descriptions, schedules, and registration - click here.

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