Making Ends Meet on a Budget - Brittney's Story

 Brittney Finner

Brittney was struggling to meet her family’s basic needs on what she received each month in disability, was newly separated, and was not yet receiving child support from her children’s father.
Brittney grew up in the small southeast Nebraska community where she still lived. She had previously worked for a local law enforcement agency and her two children had previously attended preschool at SENCA Head Start. Being somewhat familiar with the variety of programs that Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (SENCA) provided families experiencing similar emergency situations, Brittney contacted the Richardson County Outreach Office and scheduled an appointment.
During her initial visit with one of SENCA’s trained Family Development Associate’s (FDA), Brittney was asked to provide basic household information including income verification. Brittney qualified for rental assistance to help with her first month’s rent. As a program requirement she began working one-on-one with the trained FDA to complete six months of case management. Brittney’s first assigned task was to identify her income, itemize her expenses, and create a budget that she could maintain. Once her budget was established, Brittney felt more organized and better prepared to handle her finances. 
Maintaining a monthly budget provided Brittney with the assurance she needed to successfully manage a household for her and her two children. While in case management Brittney was the recipient of an iPad that SENCA was giving away. The iPad has provided Brittney with the ability to organize her bills, life, and budget in an easy and efficient way, thereby reducing stress and increasing her self-confidence.    
More than six months after exiting case management Brittney and her children are still benefitting from the budgeting and money management skills Brittney acquired from SENCA’s Family Development program. Brittney is staying on budget each month, meeting basic needs and paying her rent and utilities on time. There are still financial goals that Brittney wants to achieve, such as paying down previous debt and establishing a savings account for future wants and needs.       
“Throughout this entire experience my mental health has never been better,” shares Brittney, who courageously took the first step in making a positive change in her life. In addition to achieving the peace of mind a feasible budget can provide, Brittney has also improved her organizational skills. She now has both the time and energy to help her ten year old son and twelve year old daughter with their homework, and as a result, both children are doing much better in school. 
Brittney comments on her experience of participating in two of SENCA’s programs. “Head Start was such a neat experience for my children in helping them prepare for kindergarten and Family Outreach provided much needed relief and support to our family during a difficult situation. I would definitely recommend SENCA programs to others.”