MADISON (WKOW)--Willie and Cassie Feltz had a big year in 2009; settling into their first home, having their first baby, and being selected to compete for $10,000 in the first Project Money.
So, getting financial advice from their coach, Mike Bunge, couldn't have come at a better time.
"He's given us a lot of ideas. Recommendations for stuff like consolidating credit cards," says Willie.
"We took three credit cards and did some debt consolidation. That saved about $225 per month," notes Summit Credit Union executive and Feltz coach, Mike Bunge.
Like many of us, the Feltz's found they spent a lot of money eating out.
"There were months when they were spending $300 going out to eat per month. Now, they're trying to keep that between $50 and $75."
Teaching also became a learning process for the coach, when he added-up how much his own family spent on eating out.
"Follow that advice for myself is a really 'ah-ha' moment. Because we're spending more than I thought we were."
Becoming first time parents also had a critical effect on the Feltz finances.
"The addition of Owen in April added $700 of daycare expenses they weren't planning for. So, not only did we have to save and cutback in some areas to get them on track, we had to cover that $700 monthly expenditure as well."
Ultimately, the Feltz's haven't been able to save as much as they had hoped in the seven months since Project Money began, but they know they're headed in the right direction.
"In the long run, most of what you cut out is beneficial to you. You don't eat out so much, you don't use the credit cards, that's going to help you in the long run anyway," concludes Willie.
"It takes a lot of work. It's not like you start the program and your financial troubles are suddenly over. It's something you need to work and be disciplined about," says Cassie.
Online reporting by Greg Jeschke