Family wins $10K in 5th-annual Summit Credit Union Project Money competition

MADISON, WI (February 20, 2014) — Just seven months ago, Stacey & Brandon Steinmetz, a young couple wanting to start a family, were struggling to make ends meet and relying on plastic for day-to-day purchases.

Today, the Prairie du Sac duo has not only turned their lives around by increasing their savings by $14,402 and reducing their debt by an incredible $29,982, they are also the grand-prize winners of Summit Credit Union’s fifth-annual Project Money competition.

With the guidance of their Project Money financial coach, Chris Bethke, Stacey & Brandon say the competition not only taught them how to think about money in a whole new light, but also how to communicate with each other about finances.  “We used to hate talking about money and it was a real stress on our relationship. We went from living on a budget that was dictated by our latest paycheck, to a budget that has us planning for the future and living without credit cards.”

Stacey and Brandon were named winners of the 2013 Project Money competition and received the grand prize of $10,000 at the finale reception held by Summit Credit Union on Feb. 18.  Each of the Project Money runners-up also walked away with $2,500.

“Stacey mentioned that Project Money is not a sprint, but a marathon. They made changes that weren’t always easy, and new habits were formed,” said Bethke.  “In addition to almost eliminating eating out, they became the master of fixing things instead of hiring someone to fix things like their garage door, moped and exercise bike. To save money, they even made their own laundry detergent, salsa and had a veggie garden. Ultimately, they attained goals that they couldn’t even dream about six months ago.”

Since the program’s kick off in June 2013, Stacey and Brandon, along with three other contestant families, as well as the community members who followed their progress, learned how to do more with their money and achieve financial success.  Collectively, the four competing teams boosted their savings by $40,484 and reduced their debt by $62,916.

The other 2013 Project Money participants included:

  • Nicky & Troy Cross, and children, Josie and Chance, from Portage, Wis.
  • Ruth & John Otto, and children, Claire, Cameo and Owen, from Verona, Wis.
  • Michelle & Brad Samuel, and sons, Reece, Brody and Mason, from McFarland, Wis.

“To live our lives deliberately in order to achieve our goals and dreams is so important,” said Kim Sponem, president and CEO of Summit Credit Union.  “The Project Money contestants made very deliberate and difficult decisions over the past year.  They changed the way they did things, which is very uncomfortable, at first. They found that the little things make a big difference. While Project Money is a contest, it is really about making changes that will put people on a solid course toward reaching their dreams and being financially stable for their families.”

Visit to learn more about each participant’s journey and final results, as well as to learn about the next Project Money Challenge.  Applications for the 2014 program are available at Summit’s web site and will be accepted until March 15, 2014.

About Summit Credit Union
Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone in Wisconsin.  Summit holds $1.9 billion in assets and has more than 131,000 members with a total of 26 locations throughout the Madison and Milwaukee areas.   For more information, visit or call (608) 243-5000 or (800) 236-5560.

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