We are excited to announce the January 2023 Financial Goals Scholarship winner is Maya! Congratulations!
"I'm so grateful to have been given this opportunity. This scholarship will help me pursue a college education, support my passions, and allow me to discover new passions as well. I will remember 1st Financial Bank USA for encouraging me to set financial goals, work hard to achieve them, and always strive for success. Thank you 1st Financial Bank USA!" - Maya K.
Setting and achieving financial goals as a student can kick-start good money habits that will carry into your life post-graduation. Whether you’ve saved money to pay for college, opened a credit card to build credit, or eliminated a poor spending habit, your financial wins are worth celebrating—no matter the size. In her essay, Maya shares how she put her small business on hold in order to help raise money for charity.
"Three plastic drawers sat on my childhood bookshelf. Each drawer was labeled in magenta Sharpie: save, spend, give. I split any scrounged-up cash into those three categories. One time (not so skillfully) I even ripped a dollar bill in thirds. I learned that lesson… but was still ruthless in sticking to my system. At the end of the month my savings drawer would be full, my spending drawer would be dwindling, and I’d donate whatever was in my giving drawer. I was methodical. It felt good.
Eager to be able to afford Choco Tacos, I learned some additional business techniques: sell cookies to big houses by the water. Hold bake sales on Sunday mornings (people feel generous after church). My business instincts were born.
At fourteen, with my savings drawers forgotten but my business sense intact, I took things a step further. My dad’s brewery was trashing pounds of spent grain every month. A quick Google search informed me that these grains could be used to make dog biscuits. Seizing what I saw as a wasted opportunity (and a lot of straight-up waste), I started selling.
For the next four years I built my business. I sold at local businesses, events, and online. I crafted an identity for Boomer’s Biscuits while simultaneously working two part-time jobs and babysitting during the year and working full-time during the summer. My dedication to saving was going strong, though now it was for university instead of Choco Tacos. Despite all that, my greatest financial achievement actually came when I put Boomer’s on pause.
I had forgotten about my 3-drawer-system when one evening I found the box in the back of my closet. I could just make out the label on the bottom drawer: give. Flushed with embarrassment, I realized that nine year old me had been more purposeful about fundraising than nearly-adult me. I needed a change.
That night I took my treats off Etsy and scaled back my local sales. I took up a new responsibility instead: Co-Director and Head Scheduler for The Youth Pond Hockey Festival. The festival is a fundraising tournament for The Laura Foundation which provides recreational/educational programs for individuals with autism/epilepsy. Frankly, it changes lives.
After hours of staring at spreadsheets, the festival rolled around (on the coldest weekend of the year). My hair froze, a generator caught a tent on fire, and some teams didn’t show up. But crisis after crisis couldn’t sway me when it was a cause so astonishingly worth solving crises for.
That weekend we made over $70,000 for The Laura Foundation.
I used to be proud of the younger me for her business instincts, and while selling cookies after church was undoubtedly clever, the greater achievement was putting a third of that money in the drawer with “give” scrawled in magenta. It follows that the money I made with Boomer’s was indeed a success, but the money I raised for The Laura Foundation was the greatest financial success of my life.”
Established in the year 1910, 1st Financial Bank USA (1FBUSA) provides quality community banking services in South Dakota, credit card and other financial services to college students and college graduates, and construction lending to builders, developers, and investors from coast to coast. 1FBUSA will award a $2,000 scholarship to a new winner each month. View full rules and eligibility at 1fbusascholarship.com.