Aurielle Johnson’s Story
At only 18 years old, Aurielle Johnson, now 26, was thrust into the role of a parent to her three younger brothers when illness forced their mother to move into a nursing home. Five years later, Aurielle got her own home with the help of Habitat for Humanity. With her brothers now attending college, Aurielle is focused on raising her 6-year-old daughter.
OYO: How did you feel about money growing up?
Aurielle J.: I didn't really have any money growing up. My mom gave me money when she could, but it wasn't all the time.
OYO: When you did get money, what would you spend it on?
AJ: I always wanted to get my nails done.
OYO: How did you learn to manage your money?
AJ: I started paying the bills when I was 18 and took my brothers in to live with me. Every month, I start with the total amount of [income] and then I calculate each bill I have to pay.
OYO: What was the process for you to move into a Habitat for Humanity house?
AJ: It took about three years for me to get my house. I had to submit all of my paperwork and tax forms and several years of my cellphone bills. Then I had to do 250 hours of community service and put down a deposit. I also had to take classes on home maintenance and managing finances.
OYO: What is one of the worst money experiences you’ve had?
AJ: My car broke down on me at the same time mortgage was due, which put me behind on my mortgage because I had to fix my car.
OYO: Describe your personal money philosophy.
AJ: Bills and the most important things come first, and then whatever is left goes to the things that I want.
OYO: What are your money goals?
AJ: I want to have money for my daughter to go to college. I didn’t have money to help my brothers when they went to school, and I don't want to run into the same problem with my daughter. I also want my daughter to have a car by her senior year of high school. That is what I daydream about, and that's really important to me. Also paying off my debt. If I can do those three things, I’ll be so happy.