At Summit, we love to empower our members to take control of their financial lives. To highlight females in our communities who do an outstanding job of “Owning It” every day, we created the monthly Females and Finance Series! This month we’re featuring our 2015 Project Money winner: Katie Press!
Take a minute and read how Katie got on track to win last year’s Project Money competition and began totally “Owning” her life:
What does “Owning It” mean to you?
“Owning It,” means making responsible financial choices. Dave Ramsey is famous for saying, “If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else," and this message resonates with me. If we own our financial choices now, we own our financial freedom in the future. To me, this means choosing to live within my financial means, limit my use of credit cards and establish savings plans.
Tell us how you got to where you are today.
I’ve gotten to where I am today by embracing challenges and change. In March of 2014, I had a mortgage, credit card debt and 16 years left to pay off my school loans. Participating and winning Project Money 2015 wasn’t easy and required patience and persistence in learning to budget my spending, increase my savings and eliminate my debt. Then in March 2015, I found myself faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to leave the college at which I had worked for seven years for a new opportunity at a boarding school in Illinois. The prospect of a new school and slightly different career path intrigued me, and I ultimately decided to sell my house and move to the new campus. With the sale of my house, I was able to pay off all of my school loans, credit card debt and purchase a new-to-me car!
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about finances?
You absolutely have the ability to set and achieve your financial goals. Identify achievable short-term and long-term goals, then take baby steps towards achieving them. It's been helpful to estimate my annual spending in certain areas, like car and animal expenses, so that I can set aside a specific amount each month in anticipation of future needs. I have five different savings accounts and two checking accounts (one for bills and one for monthly expenses); it's amazing to see how quickly your savings can grow when you set aside a little bit each month and are careful about how you spend this money.
What’s your current favorite financial education resource?
I have two apps downloaded on my phone that I use nearly everyday: Summit Credit Union Online Branch and Mint (mint.com). I use these apps to track all my checking and savings accounts, credit card balances (which I pay off every month!) and retirement plans.