What I do with Backer: Sandra's story
Learning to make coffee, saving for her two children, and how college debt can make you feel. Sandra’s story is emotive and educational for new parent savers.
This week, we speak to Sandra Williams, about how college debt makes her feel, saving for her 4-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter, and learning to make coffee!
Tell us about your family set up, the kids you love you are saving for and why you started?
My modern family includes my husband, Ty, we’ve been together for 15 years and married for eight. I have a 4-year-old ball of energy named Cameron and a 8-month old baby, Charly, who is all about the action and has major fomo all the time. I work full time and so does my spouse so we support ourselves. Our extended family (both sides) are located out of state so we are doing this parenting thing alone in NJ.
I started Cameron’s college education fund with Backer shortly after his birth in 2017. I started one for Charly in 2021 after she was born.
My goal is to save as much as I can for them and their education, whatever that may be. We have approximately six backers at any given time. This includes parents, grandparents, Aunts/Uncles and extended family/friends.
I don’t have a solid number in mind, I just figure there are a lot of unknowns (thinking grants, scholarships, things like that) and ballpark figures of what I’d like to have set aside for each kiddo.
What was your saving approach from childhood, and how has your approach to money and saving changed?
I am a terrible saver. My parents never taught us to save. This has carried over through my adult life and I still struggle to save because of poor money choices made in my past that I am still on the hook for. I can't save as much as I’d like because my debt to income ratio is all skewed but, slowly, I am working out of this.
I did have a full ride to college but, halfway into my sophomore year, my parents moved out of state and I lost all my state aid since I was being claimed as their dependent and no longer considered in state. I could have emancipated, but still would have lost out of many of my grants. I don’t know if this has since been changed but it’s a lesson to be aware of if you have college bound kids and plan to leave the state. It’s not something I could have predicted at all.
What does saving money with Backer mean to you?
Saving money means a lot. It means peace of mind and relief. Knowing that you have some financial security and freedom, for anyone parenting, is awesome.
I have student debt and absolutely despise how it makes me feel; like I did all the wrong things. Not much I can do though. I have refinanced a few times and lowered the interest rate and I try to get whatever side gigs I can and thrown money at the problem. I only have a few more years to go! Saving money to me means restraint. I can clearly identify needs and I want to make smarter choices.
What’s something you’d pass on to the next generation of kids when it comes to saving for their futures?
Save. Material things are 100% not worth it in the long term. You will feel much much better having peace of mind than the latest thing. Also, learn to cook and make your own coffee!