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Kaila Jefferson wanted a fresh start in a new city.
After graduating with her master’s degree in 2020, Jefferson, 28, was living in Norfolk, Virginia. She decided to move to Atlanta, which she believed would bring her more career opportunities as a young Black professional.
One month after moving to Atlanta, Jefferson landed a full-time job in her field as a speech-language pathologist. But between graduate school and moving expenses, she had depleted her savings. Amid the uncertainty of early pandemic lockdowns and a growing wave of unemployment, Jefferson knew she needed to build her savings back up.
“I was trying to have a cushion of money saved up just in case for emergency expenses or anything since I’m down here living by myself,” says Jefferson. “Just to get myself back on my feet [after] I finished grad school.”
So she set a goal: She would give herself three months to save $10,000. Here’s how she did it, and her advice for anyone starting their own savings journey.
How She Saved
The first thing Jefferson did to boost her savings was limit her spending.
She replaced regular nail and hair appointments with at-home treatments. Rather than going out to eat, she ate more meals at home and began meal prepping. And when she did go out with friends, she set aside a certain amount to avoid overspending.
But just cutting costs wasn’t enough to achieve her lofty goal. What really allowed Jefferson to reach $10,000 was a combination of more income and consistent budgeting.
Multiple Streams of Income
While Jefferson’s full-time job kickstarted her savings journey, she boosted that with extra money she was able to bring in from side hustles. Building upon her passion for skin and haircare, she started creating content online and even launched a skincare brand. Experts say one of the best ways to start a side hustle is by starting with something you already love and are good at.
“For me, it just came down to finding something that I enjoyed doing and something that I was passionate about, and figuring out a way to make money from it,” says Jefferson. “These are all things that I was naturally good at and decided to share with other people.”
Her biggest success came from her YouTube channel, where she posted everything …….