For this month’s Females and Finances feature, we’re highlighting NBC15 anchor Leigh Mills. Like many of us, Leigh has worked hard to achieve her dreams and learned a thing or two about finances along the way. She has been able to truly Own It, responsibly using her finances to spend, save and give, while staying within her means. Read on to hear some of Leigh’s financial tips and see how she is Owning It!
What does “Owning It” mean to you?
"Owning It" means taking responsibility for your life and your actions and making things happen. I truly believe that each of us can do whatever it is we're most passionate about, but it takes owning that dream and the path to get there. When you take control and take responsibility for both your right and wrong choices, you're more invested in your future.
Tell us how you got to where you are today.
I knew in high school that I wanted to be a news reporter and anchor, so I started putting those plans into motion right away. I attended Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism and started working at both the city government channel and the local PBS station my first year of college. By my senior year, I was anchoring a live two-hour election show and the nightly PBS newscasts. After graduation I took a reporter job here in Madison at NBC 15, where I worked my way up from weekend reporter to evening news anchor. It's hard to believe I've been here almost 13 years!
What would you say are your most important lessons learned about finances?
I've lived on varying income levels, so the most important lesson I've learned about finances is living within your means. I accrued a lot of credit card debt when I first graduated from college. I now have a budget that I follow monthly, which includes putting money into multiple savings buckets such as general savings, vacation, gifts, home and car (something I learned through our partnership with Summit Credit Union for Project Money). Another really important lesson I've learned is to find ways to be philanthropic within your means. It feels really good to donate to important work that's happening in our community, and I've learned that even a small donation can make a big difference. I like to think of my finances as having three main parts: money I spend, money I save and money I give.
What’s your favorite current financial education resource?
I would honestly say Summit Credit Union! As a member, my husband and I have worked with a financial advisor on our budget and our goals. It's great to have that resource available to you in person. The website also has a lot of great information. We've used the budget worksheets and the savings & investments articles to make sure we have a good handle on our current financial situation and where we'd like to be in the future.