We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.
Buying a brand new car at 18 years old felt like a dream for Dyana King. It soon turned into a nightmare.
“I was up to my eyeballs in debt. I didn’t think I could find a way out of the mess I had put myself in,” says King, now a 30-year-old single mother of two. Before long, she realized she had accumulated over $35,000 in loans from various sources.
Rather than wallow in despair, the Arkansas-based mom decided to get serious about achieving financial independence, and created a plan in 2016 to become debt-free and build wealth for her family. Fast forward to today, and King has built a $78,000 net worth, paid off all her consumer debt, and secured a six-month emergency fund — all while earning less than $55,000 a year. Wanting to help other parents, King founded Money Boss Mama, a financial education platform that helps single moms take control of their financial lives.
If you’re managing debt and taking care of a family at the same time, here are King’s top four tips for taking control of your financial future.
Tip No. 1: Start Small — Even If You Feel Intimidated
When King turned 18, she decided to buy a new car to celebrate becoming an adult.
“I decided to get a new car because I defined financial success as owning material possessions,” says King. “I figured if I bought a new car, people would think I was doing well financially.” King didn’t have a credit history, so she relied on her mom, whose credit score wasn’t the best at the time, to co-sign for a loan. The auto loan came with a hefty interest rate and a payment that required half of her monthly income.
Her wake-up call came when she became pregnant with her first child and realized she could not afford to look after her baby (and herself) on the remaining 50% of her monthly income. King searched online for tips on reducing her auto loan, and came across advice from personal finance gurus using strange words unfamiliar to her.
“I’m a regular girl from Arkansas. I didn’t understand 99% of the terms I was reading in these articles,” says King. “I felt intimidated because the articles I was reading seemed like they were written for people who have expert knowledge in finance, and here I was struggling to understand …….