Paul’s Story: A Kiss T-shirt, finding bargains, and shoes

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When you strike up a conversation with Paul, he pauses thoughtfully, considering how to respond to your question. He has a thick crop of short black hair, a peppered goatee, and wears a black Kiss T-shirt. He’s precise, friendly, considerate, and quiet—but he’s also the kind guy that when he does speak up you are instantly drawn to what insightful thing he has to say next.

He’s been a regular at Community Living Alternatives in Southeast Denver for several years as part of their program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gregg Wilson, the director of CLA, affectionately said, “Paul thinks he runs the place.” He added, “Paul likes to make friends, to help out, and to show newcomers around. He also likes the trips and classes available at CLA.” The past few months Paul has been taking ResourceAbility classes once a week, made possible by City and County of Denver Mill Levy funding and a partnership with Rocky Mountain Human Services.

According to Paul, the ResourceAbility classes are “helping me to learn more about the prices on all the produce that we are buying, to see if it’s either too high or if it’s just right.” And, he’s learning how to shop, learning about choices and how to save money. Paul says, “It’s been helpful to know about how to handle the prices—what to do about prices.”

Paul lives with his mother and seven siblings in the Westwood neighborhood in Denver and likes to go shopping with them. Since taking ResourceAbility classes, he has been able to influence his family’s shopping. “Sometimes I go out shopping with my mom and if she gets something to cook, I look at the price and I tell her, ‘Mom, this is too much—you should get this other because it’s cheaper.’” Although his mother purchased the more expensive item that time around, Paul continued to educate her and explained, “But then last week, she got the same one and I compared the price with the other one. I said ‘Mom, this is cheaper. The other one you bought is $6 and the one I picked out is the same product and this one is $1.15.’ She goes, ‘Let me just get the one you picked.’ The class helped me think about the prices—and it helped my mom, too.”

Paul is learning about money management and how much he and his family spend shopping; having that awareness of how much you spend is one of the best ways to begin the process to spend less and save more.

Words of wisdom from Paul when you go shoe shopping: “Check the prices on it. If I want to buy some shoes and it’s over $30, I just walk away from it.”

Financial Health Institute’s ResourceAbility program provides educational services that help individuals with I/DD and their support networks manage their resources, reduce financial stress, and improve health.