About Andrea & Jason
Andrea & Jason began their Project Money journey as a team, but on separate paths. For nearly 20 years, they split everything from their mortgage and bills to groceries and restaurant tabs. Their goal was to start working together and with their coach, Steve Gehrmann, they did just that.
Jason’s lay off early in the competition gave the couple additional challenges, which they overcame in part by starting their own LLCs. Despite the income loss and costs that come with starting new businesses, the couple made some impressive strides in reaching their goals. Andrea paid off her credit card and Jason’s credit card bill was rolled into a low interest, refinanced car loan.
Together they increased their savings by $5,358 and decreased their debt by $6,377. In addition, the duo combined their finances, giving them a clearer picture of their situation and allowing them to work better together toward their goals.
“The Project Money experience motivated us to live comfortably within our means and avoid overspending,” says Andrea. “Jason will be employed again very soon and we’ll be able to use the good habits we developed to make big gains in savings and debt reduction.”
“The best advice we received from Steve was to stay positive because it’s our life we’re spending, as well as our money.” As they look toward the future, things keep getting brighter as they make broad strokes together and keep the big picture in sight.
Q&A with Andrea & Jason:
What are the key things you learned from your experience in Project Money?
We learned …
that tracking expenditures is the best way to find and reduce excessive spending. It gives you a full picture of where money is going on a monthly basis so you can see where and how much you can reduce expenses.
to love planning meals and making food at home. Making coffee, lunch, dinner at home is a great way to reduce spending. It’s also a great family activity.
ways to move debt around in order to lower the interest we pay on it.
a lot about how credit unions are different from banks. Summit offers better financial counseling, much lower fees and lower interest rates than we had ever gotten at a big national bank.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s in a similar financial situation to where you were seven months ago?
Do not carry balances on credit cards. Pay them off every month.
Track expenses for at least one month to get a clear picture of where your money goes.
Build up an emergency fund that can get you through 6 months of unemployment.
What do you think were the key factors in your success?
Andrea’s rigorous tracking of expenses.
Dramatically reducing food expenditures.
Establishing a rigid weekly limit on personal spending.
What was your “aha” moment?
Our “aha” moment was when we realized that our lives are completely different than they were 18 years ago when we decided to keep our money separate. Now that we’re in a committed long-term relationship, and so much is interconnected anyway, it makes much more sense to combine our finances.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, we’ll have no debt except our mortgage, we’ll have doubled our retirement savings and our emergency fund and our finances will be completely combined and operating smoothly.