Fabulous (Financial) Friday Thanks to Summit Credit Union’s Project Money

by Nikki Morrison

I’ve always thought that $1.8 billion Summit Credit Union, Madison, Wis., had a huge community focus and did a great job. But on Feb. 22, I sent out an email telling everyone on the CUES staff that I was in awe of what a financial coach from Summit CU had helped my family do in six short months!

You see, we found on that “Fabulous Friday” (a term CUESers see in email at least weekly as someone shares and celebrates a work or personal success) that we had won the CU’s “Project Money 2” contest. By being the family among the 10 in the program that had saved the most and paid down the most debt, we won $1,000 and the peace of mind that comes from being more in control of our finances. We also–at least with that staff email–became promoters for the credit union.

We met with our coach, Senior Financial Services Advisor Christine Bethke, every other week for a while when the contest first launched last June. Our goals were to create an emergency fund, become free of credit card debt, and save enough to pave our driveway and take a family vacation to Disney. In the time we worked with Christine, we saved $8,571 and paid down $7,491. And we are meeting with her monthly going forward.

For a while Christine had us track where we spent every penny. It really helped to more fully understand where our money went. We built up the emergency fund first. Within a month or so, we were able to have $1,000 in our savings. We also paid off my husband’s car, paid down credit cards and refinanced our house to a 10-year mortgage. It was amazing how many things we could do within six months and still have pretty good savings and not have to give up things. Now we know where we are within the budget each month.

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