Hailey and Dustin knew they wanted to buy a home. With a little assistance, they are now paying into their equity, not paying for rent.

The family moved to Montana in July 2012 from a small paper mill town in Minnesota that had recently had huge lay-offs. After graduating from college, they packed a U-Haul, and a vacation turned into a move.

“We love Billings. It’s nice because there are options. We were 3 hours from Duluth. If you didn’t like schools you had to transfer to one 45 minutes away.”

With no hotels available, they set up camp at a KOA for more than 30 days.

When they found a place to rent, they were paying more than $1,000 a month. With the money they were paying for rent each month they thought instead they could be paying for a mortgage. “One day I mentioned buying a house, two days later I was sitting in Jace’s office (at HRDC).”

Hailey and Dustin enrolled in the Assets for Independence (AFI) program. The AFI program is a matched savings program. For each $1 you save, HRDC matches it with $4. When you reach your savings target, HRDC helps you use these funds to purchase your new asset. While in the savings program, you also complete a range of personal finance activities to learn how to better manage your money. The matched savings can be used for buying a home, paying for post-secondary education or training, or starting or expanding a small business.

Hailey attended all of the money management courses. “The classes were awesome. I needed help with my credit. It showed me the fundamentals; my credit has gone up 40 points.” At enrollment, she and Jace worked to determine an appropriate amount to save each month based on their budget and asset goal. “Budgeting classes were great–it showed me a lot of things I was doing wrong. I feel a lot more financial freedom since taking the classes.”

They closed March 26th, 2014 and moved in the beginning of April. Hailey and Dustin met their saving goal of $1,000 and were matched $4,000. “The extra match of $4,000 covered all of our closing costs.”

Hailey and Dustin’s future plans for their new house include finishing the basement, re-siding, and putting up a new fence.

Their father-in-law came to check it out, and the new house got his stamp of approval. Raija, their daughter, also enjoys their new space. “I love it. It’s bigger. I love the yard. I want to learn how to do cartwheels.”

HRDC programs participated in: