The following blog post was written by Shannon Lu, a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
Abdul was a young man in his twenties with two young daughters and a common-law partner. When we began talking about saving money he said, “I have nothing to save. There is no money left at the end of the month.” But his heart was set on finding a way to save money for his daughters’ education. After taking financial literacy workshops with Momentum (in Calgary) and reading “Easy Money” by Gail Vaz Oxlade, his life began to change. Abdul learned two important principals: spend less and earn more. He learned, to his shock, that he was paying nearly $1,500.00 each year for two cups of coffee a day. He decided to buy only one cup per day. Then he started picking up cans and bottles in the classroom and on the street. This gave him $100.00 each month to save. He joined Momentum’s low income savings club and they matched his contributions 3 to 1. He was now able to save $200.00 each month for each child. By the time he had finished the one year program, he had learned to spend less through better budgeting and save more by paying himself first. He is now well on his way to being financially secure.
Reading “Easy Money” is a way to build financial empowerment and reading skills at the same time. Gail’s straight forward style is engaging and she makes the steps to financial independence clear. Watching episodes of her show, Till Debt Do Us Part can help learners to apply the principals they are learning and build their listening and speaking skills at the same time. What are we waiting for?