MADISON (WKOW)--The Project Money teams all began with two things in common: lots of debt and very little savings. Changing those situations presented different challenges.
"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 contestant Anglinia Washington.
For other teams, it wasn't coming up with a plan, it was sticking to it.
"I think the hardest part is discipline. You're supposed to save money, but something comes up, the yard or whatever, and you spend the money because it seems like a good idea," says contestant Willie Feltz.
Each team was assigned a Summit Credit Union financial coach to help them reach their ultimate goal of cutting their debt and saving the most.
"I think Project Money, because we have that financial coach who we're accountable to, that's the difference. That's the turning point between the other times when we sort of tried to do this before. Tried not to use our credit cards for awhile," says contestant Kari Faber.
And once they turned the corner with their new money habits, the teams found it became second nature.
"At this point, it's more of a lifestyle and a mindset. I'm always thinking about it, whereas before, I'd feel like eating out, and I'd go eat out. I didn't even think about the money I was spending," says contestant Rachel Reinhart.
"I feel like we're not just changing our habits, but we're changing our entire mindset on how we perceive, and handle and deal with money," echoes Faber.
We'll announce the winner of the $10,000 first place prize early next month.
Online report by Greg Jeschke