It was the summer of 2003; I was 17 years old and was gearing up to attend school at North Carolina A&T (Aggie Pride). As soon as I stepped onto campus, they had a table set up for students to sign up for credit cards. Bruh! I was like a kid in a candy store as I approached the table and signed my name on the dotted line. I just had to get my hands on one of those cards! Mistake #1.
I knew nothing about how credit cards REALLY worked, and how much trouble they would ultimately get me into. So picture me, a young naive ‘carefree black girl’ with a credit card. A CREDIT CARD! I would just ball out with no remorse; frequent shopping trips to the local mall and going out to eat and footing the bill for all of my friends was the norm. I must have thought I was Diddy or something. Like who does that? Just being RECKLESS! Not realizing that I actually had to pay all of that money back plus extra (just kidding), I was living the good life as a poor little rich girl (I was spoiled SMH).
When the credit card bills started to roll in, I didn’t know what to do! I was almost in a state of denial. I did not want to face the reality of me actually owing money to this company. I would call home on the regular and beg mom and dad to dig me out of the hole that I put myself in and they would come through and help me out like always. My parents have always been super supportive of me and willing to go above and beyond to make sure that I was taken care of. At that time though, this was a recipe for disaster. When was I going to learn from my mistakes if I always called them for help? On top of that, growing up, I was never taught too many things about finances and how to manage money.
Time for Adulting
Fast forward 4 years, here I was at the age of 21, walking across the stage to obtain my BA in Psychology. All of the blood, sweat, tears, and MONEY finally paid off! Immediately, I was thrown into the real world without a clue on how it really went down. I was thrown into a world where people actually did adult things, like go to work everyday, pay rent/mortgage and a ton of other bills. What fun right? I wasn’t ready for all of that responsibility! I started my first real job the week after graduation. So here I was making money of my own and I had NO idea what to do with that money. I didn’t know how to save it or how to spend properly. So what did I do? Only what I knew best of course, I shopped until I dropped! Mistake #2.
As a young adult, I was having some of the best times of my life, that’s until the bills started showing up on my doorstep. Man, let me tell you I was ducking and dodging phone calls, afraid to open up any of my mail, and just couldn’t face the fact that I owed so much money. Crazy right? I was running away from my responsibilities. I kept deferring my student loans as I was trying to buy more time to pay my bills. But what good was me trying to buy more time if when that 6 month deferment period was up, I still didn’t want to accept my responsibility?
Alright now it was of summer 2013. And I was fresh out of grad school. Ready to do big things. I just knew life would be sweet. I was totally wrong about that. Thinking that I would easily find a job in the mental health field with my new degree under my belt, I stepped out on faith and went to Atlanta without a job already lined up. Mistake # 3.
I quickly learned that a degree doesn’t guarantee work! I was down there struggling for 6 months without being hired by anyone. Before I moved, I had a pretty good amount of money saved up. I had almost $15,000 to be exact. But of course I blew all of that money within the 6 months of me trying to survive without a job. I was one step away from being homeless because I definitely couldn’t afford to keep paying the rent, which was almost $1100 a month! I hit rock bottom. The crazy thing about all of this was that even though I wasn’t working, and was struggling to survive, I still made a way to buy multiple pairs of Jordan’s. I would literally stand in line at the mall overnight just to get my hands on the latest shoes. I think that I purchased at least 4 pairs of Jordan’s while I was living in Atlanta. Now if this isn’t backwards, then I don’t know what is. That mentality was such a stumbling block for me. I should have known better, but unfortunately I didn’t. My mind was on a whole different level back then.
For some reason, I just could not get any calls back within the mental health field. This made me feel really low. I didn’t feel wanted or qualified. I doubted myself. I was sad. I was sad a majority of my time. I felt low and knew that there was something out there for me, but that I needed to work on my own mental health. I started seeing a therapist that I couldn’t afford to see, but was in desperate need of someone to talk to. I would continue to experience all types of emotions over the course of my time in Atlanta. I was the most depressed that I’ve ever been. I needed an outlet so we worked something out where I paid her like $10 a session or something crazy cheap. I loved going to therapy; it was my escape! At this time, a lot of things started to come into perspective; I started to change the way that I thought. I started working on losing weight. I gained a ton of weight while in Atlanta due to me eating as a coping mechanism (40 pounds to be exact). I would sleep all day and eat all night. I was out of control!
After 7 long, hard months, I packed up my things and decided that it was time to move back to Maryland. It just was not designed for me to move to Atlanta and thrive. I went down there with no plan. I feel like everything went wrong because I went against everything that I knew. I was put through that terrible period in my life to become who I am today however. I desperately needed Atlanta to happen. I needed to struggle financially. I needed to reach one of the lowest points that I ever have been at. That experience taught me so much and I am forever grateful for my experiences there. I am much better spiritually, physically, mentally, and professionally. I am doing things that I’ve never done before; I am making plans for my future, I am responsible with my finances, I am making wise decisions regarding my health, and I am happier than ever before! I’m at peace right now in my life.
Why I Started DFBG
This is what led me to you…
God gave me the vision to start DFBG randomly one day in March of 2016 as I was laying in bed. It had me pretty dumbfounded. I never would have thought that I would be called to inspire people to take control of their coins, especially because of my background. But then I thought about it some more. I would be able to use the DFBG platform to document my own personal journey and to keep myself motivated along the way. I would be able to be a relatable and valuable resource to women of color who didn’t know where to start. I wanted to create real conversations about money, as money is usually such a taboo topic. I wanted to incorporate my psychology expertise, as I believe that mindset is a big determinant in a person’s ability to change their habits long term. I wanted to make finance fun because when I was desperately searching for resources, I quickly discovered that I couldn’t really relate to what was out there.
I’m so grateful for the journey that I’ve been on since creating DFBG…it’ll be 2 whole years in a few months! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the brand this year. I know that God’s got me! This is only the beginning.
Thank you for reading every blog post, IG caption, tuning in to my stories and live streams. Basically putting up with my shenanigans lol. Whether you’re a newbie to DFBG or a certified vet, I appreciate you wholeheartedly and hope you continue to stick around.
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