Last week I, along with Penny Forward officers Liz Bottner and Eric Yarberry attended the 2022 AER International Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The Association For The Education And Rehabilitation Of The Blind And Visually Impaired offers this conference every other year to bring together professionals from around the world who work with people who are blind or visually impaired to learn about resources and techniques that can help them to help their students.
We were there to raise awareness of Penny Forward, and to form new partnerships that will help us educate more blind people.
Our message to them was simple. We want to help blind people understand how to confidently make, manage, and grow their money as independently as they want to. Being financially healthy gives us options, and independence, at its core, is being willing and able to choose the option that best fits your needs.
As I was writing this, I paused to answer a question from a blind woman who I’ll call Mary Ann. She was frustrated because she’d bought eggs at Walmart for $5 and found out that she could’ve spent $2 at several other stores. It’s frustrating to be blind. She felt frustrated because she felt like she had no other option than to be gouged by Walmart on her eggs or spend any money she saved on transportation to multiple stores. I need to acknowledge her frustration because I’ve felt it myself and I think we can all relate to it. Are there, however, things she could do differently to stay on budget?
Possibly. For blind people who are comfortable with technology, shopping around has never been easier. Apps such as Instacart have their accessibility challenges, but blind people are successfully using them and sharing tips and tricks for working around the issues throughout the blind community. And, with delivery fees starting at $3.99, they could be cheaper than taking Uber or Lyft to the store.
Even if you don’t choose to use them, though, delivery services like Instacart can be a great way to shop around. I was, for example, able to find a dozen grade A eggs at Aldi for $1.25, far less than the $5.00 Mary Ann paid at Walmart. I also found 12 Grade A extra-large eggs for $1.99 at Target and for $1.79 at a local place called Wedge Co-op. If Mary Ann had known that she had the option to buy eggs for less at another store, she may have chosen to use her transportation dollars differently. She ran out of options, though, when she waited until going to Walmart to find the price of eggs and, because she didn’t know her options, she paid more than twice the price she could’ve paid.
Penny Forward is here to help you find your options. Our online courses teach you the terms, concepts, and techniques you need to pick the best options for making, managing, and growing your money. The Penny Forward community, through our members only group chats, is here to help you put what you’re learning into practice. Finally, our one to one coaching, offered by trained professionals who are, in many cases, blind themselves, can help you navigate complex or private situations you may not want to share with a group.
There may, however, be times when Penny Forward isn’t the right option. If that happens, we’ll do our best to help you find the option that is right for you.
If you’re already a member of the Penny Forward community, thank you. We’re honored that you’ve made Penny Forward one of your options. If you’d like to become a member, please visit pennyforward.com/membership to join us today.