Shortly after relocating to Madison, Nick began Project Money with hefty student loans, credit card debt and a self-professed habit of spending on “future income.”
Ready to make some serious changes to his financial situation, Nick worked diligently with his coach, Emily Lane, to build a budget and stick to it. Seven months later, he’s reduced his debt by a whopping $6,715 and increased his savings by more than $3,793.
What’s more, in addition to reducing his debt, Nick says he has greatly reduced his overall stress. “With having a good chunk of debt paid off, I can feel weight lifted off my shoulders. I enjoy the things I choose to spend my money on, and it helps me sleep better knowing I have a solid plan to pay the rest!”
Q&A with Nick:
What are the key things you learned from your experience in Project Money?
Build a budget and stick to it.
You don’t need as much as you think you do! Try getting by with a little less; you might be surprised at what you don’t miss.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s in a similar financial situation to where you were seven months ago?
Start now. Don’t wait for some imaginary future where the timing is perfect. Also, build a budget. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.
What was your “aha” moment?
Instead of buying anything for myself during a shopping trip with my girlfriend, Jennifer, and her mother, I just helped out with decisions on their purchases. After a while they asked me, “What do you want?” If I was in a cartoon, a light bulb would have lit up above my head, because it was at that moment that I realized my way of thinking had changed. I didn’t think about “wants” anymore, I was thinking about “needs” – and I didn’t need anything!
What was the best advice you received from your coach?
Pay yourself first — make sure that you have something going into savings, even if it starts small.
How has taking control of your finances changed your life?
I feel like there is a light at the end of the debt tunnel. I feel less stress overall, and I’m carrying that energy over into other areas of my life and have been starting things I had been delaying—like exercising again.
Project Money was just the start for me! I’m going to keep paying down my debt, and hopefully be able to put some money in a savings account along the way for a vacation and an engagement ring.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself a lot closer to paying off my college debt and one day, owning a home.
What one word would you use to describe how you feel about money/your financial situation as a result of your Project Money journey?