Announcing the Winner of LearnVest’s Financial Literacy Challenge!

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105942712In April, we held a contest in honor of Financial Literacy Month, asking LearnVesters to tell us about their biggest financial stumbling blocks—as well as how they overcame those challenges.

We received many great entries. Thank you to everyone who shared a story.

We’d also like to congratulate Megan from Columbia, Md.—the winner of our Financial Literacy Month Challenge! She received $250 to put toward her financial goals.

Here’s her inspiring story:

“I worked and supported myself through college (rent and everything!), and once I graduated, I was hired full time. But I was only making $28,000 a year—and I was saddled with $30,000 in student loans. I was determined to support myself without asking for help, so I waited tables on the weekends for spending money. I barely scraped by.

Two years later, I got into an accident on my way to work, totaling my car. Although my insurance paid for the car, I was faced with huge medical bills—and my health insurance only covered about half of them. I didn’t have any money in savings, even though I had been working six days a week for two years. My parents had recently divorced, so they were not able to help support me.

I was hit with the reality that I was completely unequipped to handle an emergency. I had this sunken feeling in my stomach for weeks, knowing that I was injured and broke. So I committed myself to patching my life back together and building a savings account.

Over the next few months, I found a new job with a 50% pay increase. But even with my new job, I kept my spending the same, and I kept my part-time job. As a result, I was able to pay off my medical bills within six months.

This year, I have set a new goal for myself: I want to put $15,000 into emergency savings. So I set up two savings accounts—one for emergencies and one for vacations/big purchases. I put at least $500 a month into the emergency fund, and a maximum of $100 per month into the other one. I also contribute $200 a month into my 401(k). And I’ve picked up freelance jobs—all of that extra money goes straight into savings.

I’m a third of the way to my goal, and I am proud of every dollar I have saved. My friends are now buying houses and new cars, and I sometimes feel a bit left behind because of my past financial problems. But I value my hard work—nothing can replace that feeling of knowing that you have a safety net.”

We congratulate Megan for taking control of her finances against the odds. She really embodies the LearnVest spirit.

Ready for a new challenge? We’re looking for the one money lesson that your family taught you that you’re planning to pass on—or have already passed on—to your own family. By sharing your story in the comments here, you’ll be entered to win $250!