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Project Money: Making a successful budget and sticking to it

Summit Credit Union Coach, Rachel Slesarik, shares insight on best practices to reduce debt and increase savings
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 5:18 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 6:38 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Increasing savings and reducing debt – that’s what our four Project Money teams have been working on over the last six months. They’ve been getting guidance from their financial coaches at Summit Credit Union.

Rachel Slesarik has been working with Team Betsy and Noah. She shares what the two have been working on to meet their personal financial goals.

1. What did you advise Betsy and Noah to do to help reduce debt and increase savings? What were they able to accomplish to reach these goals?

Slesarik: “We took steps to consolidate their debt and then applied the debt snowball method by paying off the highest interest debt and applying extra payments to that one debt. We worked on reducing spending and increasing saving by reframing their mindset. Betsy and Noah reduced their food and eating out budget by planning ahead, shopping at different stores and making eating out a treat. Because of these changes, Betsy and Noah were able to completely pay off an auto loan and still managed to build their savings while paying off this debt. They now have an emergency savings and separate savings accounts for other things like family vacation, house repairs, vet bills and sports activities for the kids.”

2. Explain how their personal finances changed during the program. How did these changes help make strides in reaching their goals?

Slesarik: “They changed their communication around finances and learned how to plan ahead, make financial decisions together and started making thoughtful choices with their money. Communicating and working towards a shared goal gave them the momentum they needed to make big changes. They discovered that finding savings in everyday decisions really does add up! When the garbage disposal broke, rather than call a repair person, they worked together and used YouTube as a resource to help them repair this themselves which saved them hundreds of dollars. "

3. Explain how Betsy and Noah felt starting the program, compared to now. How do you think Project Money will help them to continue to move forward with their financial strategies after the program?

Slesarik: “In the beginning, they felt as if they were making a lot of sacrifices and not seeing immediate results – but it can take time for financial changes to build results. Now, they have less anxiety regarding their finances. They feel more confident, secure and have other financial dreams and a plan in place.”

If you’d like to reduce your debt and increase your savings, you can register now for Season 13 of Project Money. Applications are due March 6. Click here to apply.

The winner of Season 12 will get $10,000. The results will be announced soon.

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