MADISON (WKOW) -- Changing bad habits is tough. Changing bad money habits can be even harder.
"My biggest problem was picking something that was realistic. Because the budget that I created for myself didn't include those things that I know happen and come up," says Anglinia Washington, one of four Project Money teams.
Fortunately for her, part of the Project Money contest is help from a financial expert.
"Anglinia is doing very well. She's certainly had her ups and downs along the way," says her 'coach', Carrie Benz of Summit Credit Union. "She has had to change some behaviors to make it work."
They first tracked Anglinia's spending. Then, after coming up with a realistic budget, they went after Anglinia's five-digit credit card debt.
"I have balances on a total of seven cards, so that's a lot."
"This month we're expecting to see that she's paid off her third credit card. So, that's definitely a highlight for her."
Anglinia's challenge has been to cutback on how much she spends to eat out and to stick to her $50 per week food budget. And she's put her credit cards on lock-down.
"She's been spending from the money she has and not from the charge cards. She has no new charges on her credit cards the past few months, and that is outstanding."
"What she's doing now is taking the time to think about it. Sometimes taking 24 hours to decide if it's a need or a want and does she really need it right now."
Of course, the other part of Project Money is saving; and team Washington is doing that, too.
"She's actually increased her savings 10% since we started the program. She does have a full month's pay in a savings account and she's got some automated savings set-up now."
Anglinia knows she only has Carrie's coaching until the end of the contest, but it seems to be just what she needed to get off to a good start.
"It's nice to have someone else there to tell you, this is reasonable, this is not so reasonable."