MADISON (WKOW)--Over the next seven months, four local families; 11 people, will become the face of the challenges many of us are up against these days when it comes to money.
"We were sick and tired of having more month at the end of the money." says Kari Faber, 34, a mother of three and restaurant worker from Mt. Horeb.
"I over extended myself a little bit, ended up losing a job," says sales rep and single mother Rachel Reinhart, 26, of Middleton.
"Currently i'm living paycheck to paycheck." says single, 27-year old state employee Anglinia Washington.
Four teams make up Project Money: there's a couple with a newborn, a single mother of one, a single career woman and a family of five.
Summit Credit Union chose them from hundreds who applied to be matched with a financial 'coach' who helps them identify and, hopefully, solve their money problems.
"It's a very common situation; people trying to get control of their finances, reduce credit card debt, learning how to save," says "coach" Scott Hoerth.
Teams meet with their coach every week or so. One of the first things each of them did was to keep track of exactly how much money they make, how much they spend, and where they spend it.
"It was between $200-$300 a month we'd spend on meals out," says 29-year old technical writer and new mother Cassie Feltz of Madison.
"I'm an implusive spender, like to shop, imagine that," admits Reinhart.
"I eat out a lot. You go from being a poor college student to, let's go out today," says Washington.
Although how they got there is different, debt, especially credit card debt, is a problem shared by all of the Project Money teams.
"We have about $14,000, which is three credit cards combined and a personal loan," says Feltz.
"I would say that our biggest ever was $30,000," says Faber.
"Right now i'm close to about $70,000, a little over. It's a lot of money," says Washington.
Paying off that debt and getting into a savings mode is the teams' ultimate goal.
"I want to do things; I want to travel, buy a house, so many things I want to do and the only way I can achieve those is if I get this debt under control," says Washington.
And, if that isn't reward enough, there's added incentive: a $10,000 prize from Summit Credit Union for the project money team that makes the biggest changes over the next seven months.
The other families will get $2,500 each.
We'll get to know the teams better as they share their lessons with us a few times a month and you can keep even closer track online; click here for the Project Money website.