About Louise & Dave

At the start of Project Money, Louise and Dave said they felt their canoe was swamped and they were paddling hard to just stay in place. As Project Money ends and 2015 begins, say they are feeling like a family with a new boat and direction.  

“We used to be stuck and stressed,” they say. “Creating a budget has given our family a new map to achieve our dreams. Now we feel like we have a new canoe and we're paddling strong. We’re going places.”

The forward momentum they’ve achieved on their journey includes an impressive $13,668 reduction in debt and savings increase of $24,003.

“Once you have a budget, the little expenses take on new meaning,” they explain. “Every little change, like packing a lunch instead of going to a restaurant, will get you closer to your dreams.”

“Talking out loud about finances has had many unexpected benefits as well,” they add. “In particular, our kids have gone through a big transformation. They went from hauling sacks of money to county fairs to setting aside part of their monthly allowance for savings. We’ve all learned to think about spending in terms of needs versus wants.”

They sum up the conclusion of their Project Money journey by saying, “We are feeling relieved.” 

Q&A with Louise & Dave:

What are the key things you learned from your experience in Project Money?

Translating our dreams into specific goals that we could work toward was huge.  Cutting spending was easier when we could measure our savings in terms of car payments.

Also, finding changes that improved our finances and our quality of life, such as:

Having simple group birthday parties for our kids at home made them much happier than more expensive birthday outings.

Walking or taking the bus to/from work was a great way to save money, exercise and get some quality time.

Packing lunches meant we had to plan and cook better — Dave lost 20 pounds and we both enjoy eating our yummy lunches.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s in a similar financial situation to where you were seven months ago?

Dave became sick from his cancer when our youngest was nine months old. It’s taken us three years to come up for air from the general chaos of a chronic illness and a young baby.  I wish we could have taken the step of working with Summit sooner. If you or your family has been affected by an illness like cancer, get help when you come up for air.  Financial counselors at Summit can help you take stock of your finances. They can help you look at your cash flow and prioritize which debts to pay off first.

What do you think were the key factors in your success? 

Our kids, who rock. They are creative, hard working and fun.

Our families, friends and local businesses that have supported us throughout Project Money.

Our coach Sherry and her wonderful family, who have cheered us on.

How has taking control of your finances changed your life?

Talking about money with the kids is challenging.  Before Project Money, we didn’t have a strategy.  Now we have a framework of needs versus wants.  Difficult choices, like cutting our subscriptions to Netflix and Spotify®, and giving up restaurant outings were unpopular at first.

We are constantly working to find a balance.  One of the kids tried to give us $5 to make house repairs. This led to a discussion that we as parents are responsible for food and shelter.  Their job as kids is to learn to save and spend thoughtfully — which they have done admirably this year.

What was your “aha” moment?

While printing out the year-end summaries of our credit card expenses, we found that we had spent $825 at Noodles & Company® in 2014.  Our ‘aha’ moment came when we realized that our many small expenses were adding up in a measurable way that we could change.

How has taking control of your finances changed your life?

We buy less.  We eat better.  We spend better time together — less time acquiring things and more time playing together.

We try to make gifts really count.

We have a plan.  Instead of treading water we’re getting ahead of the game.

We’re in charge of our money, which can still be challenging, but is less stressful than worrying about having enough money for expenses. 

Any final thoughts?

You can do this.  You don’t have to be part of Project Money to use the tools and financial counselors at Summit.  If your finances have been sinking you, 2015 is a great year to plug those leaks. Life boats are standing by to help you at Summit.

Follow Their Journeys...