About Andrea and Aaron
Despite working hard at stable jobs, Andrea & Aaron began their Project Money challenge feeling like many newlyweds: living paycheck-to-paycheck. With dreams of starting a family, they first wanted to get on solid ground financially.
Together with their coach, Aimee Adams, they figured out where their money was going each month and developed a plan they could both stick with. “We literally reviewed register tapes with totals of our various spending habits, and determined our needs versus wants. With this acknowledged, and after a discussion of our goals for decreasing debt and increasing savings, we developed a budget. Knowing that budget and sticking to it was a great piece of advice Aimee gave us.”
The result? A whopping $17,053 boost to their savings and $10,477 reduction in debt.
More importantly, Andrea & Aaron say that finances are no longer stressful. “We have a great plan for reducing debt and increasing savings, and our money is working for us. Overall, we developed positive habits that will stick with us throughout our future.”
Q&A with Andrea & Aaron:
What are the key things you learned from your experience in Project Money?
Project Money was truly an educational experience. Over the past seven months, we learned that understanding one’s finances does not have to be scary and can, in fact, be very empowering. In knowing where your money goes, the areas where you can save are highlighted.
To help us remain on target regarding what to save and spend, we determined a budget and tried our hardest to stick with it, knowing that at times, we may deviate due to unexpected expenses. We also learned that setting both short- and long-term goals is necessary. Though we know it is crucial to plan for long-term items such as retirement, we also made sure to incorporate short-term events such as birthdays, holidays or something as simple as date night.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s in a similar financial situation to where you were seven months ago?
Be honest to:
- your bills, in order to decrease debt;
- your goals, to increase your savings;
- yourself, to ensure you still have a little fun along the way!
What was your “aha” moment?
Project Money was filled with “aha” moments. Perhaps naturally, the first “aha” moment for us is the most memorable. At our first meeting with Aimee, she asked if we were ready to see where our money went. From groceries, to eating out to coffee, gas and miscellaneous items, Aimee totaled up how we had spent money for the last three months before Project Money. With jaws dropped, Aimee calmed us with her plan for the next seven months.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In the next five years, we will be well on our way to having student loans paid off and the only remaining debt of concern being our mortgage. Additionally, we plan to maintain our strategy for adding to our savings accounts and retirement plans and hopefully establishing additional savings accounts for our hoped-for children!
Using one word, describe how you feel about money/your financial situation as a result of your Project Money journey.