Meet Penny, the grand-prize winner of the 2011 Summit Credit Union Project Money competition!
As a divorced, single mom, Penny knew that she had to reduce her debt and take charge of her finances in order to have a secure future with her 12-year-old son, Dylan.
Under the guidance of her financial coach, Mary Johnson, Penny says she learned about more than just managing her finances. “It was amazing learning about myself and my family, and how we all feel about money. Mary made me realize that I could do it on my own instead of being a follower. She empowered me to take charge of my finances.”
In addition to paying down her debt by $6,779 and boosting her savings by more than $6,000, Penny began sharing the tools and wisdom she learned with her colleagues, friends and family. Her son has learned how to search for bargains and her adult daughters have learned how to manage their own finances, too. She says the experience has “changed my family tree.”
Summing up her Project Money experience and how it’s changed her life, Penny explains, “It’s given me peace of mind. I don’t have to worry if an emergency happens with my car or my health. I have got it covered. I have proven to myself that I can make anything a focus and accomplish what I set out to do!”
Q&A with Penny:
What are the key things you learned from your experience in Project Money?
I learned that I could pay off bills and save at the same time, and that I could accumulate money for savings at a fast pace. Your life can turn around in a few short months.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s in a similar financial situation to where you were seven months ago?
Go get help today. You will see progress in a small amount of time.
What do you think were the key factors in your success?
Planning where my money will go and what our meals are going to be ahead of time.
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently/change?
I would try to relax and enjoy the process. I was intense, and I didn’t need to be. It really flowed well.
What was your “aha” moment?
I really saw the progress that I made in just a couple of months. If you plan out your paycheck the day before or the day you get paid and put every penny where it should go, it works like a miracle.
More savings! Helping other people to get to where I am. Sending them to Summit.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In a nice house that I can afford with an emergency savings in case something breaks. Also, traveling once a year at least and paying for it BEFORE I go.
What word would you use to describe how you feel about money/your financial situation as a result of your Project Money journey?