Oh What a Ride This Will Be
Imagine riding a roller coaster and the feeling you get from strapping into your seat, hearing the safety belts click into place, knowing you are about to embark on a wild ride. The coaster begins to move, slowly inching up the really big incline, and you have butterflies in your stomach as you near the crest of the first peak. A little bit of fear of the unknown, a little bit of excitement for what’s to come. When you reach the top of that first peak, you see all that is ahead of you, and for an instant, you think, “I got this”.
And then, the coaster plummets and your journey begins through the peaks and valleys and loops, up and down, round and round. You can’t see the end, but you know it’s there somewhere.
Allow me for a moment to share with you how Ashley and I ride the coasters – Ashley has her eyes wide open, smiling and laughing, taking in every moment of the ride with me by her side. I, however, close my eyes, hold on tight and scream. I scream loud. Really loud. And I don’t stop until the ride is over.
You ask, how does this have anything to do with Project Money Jenniffer? So what? Well, last year started like any other year, where I had plans to take a nice mother-daughter vacation, do some house renovations and knock off some activities on my “I’ve always wanted to do that” list. I was inching up to the first peak. Then, in an instant, Ashley suffered a serious soccer injury requiring two surgeries and countless doctor appointments. Down the first hill we go. And just when I think I can manage some of the medical bills, I have several hundred dollars’ worth of unexpected visits to the veterinarian. Through the first loop we go. My paycheck is going to bills and I use credit cards to pay for most everything else. There’s that backwards loop the loop. And it’s only May. So goes the rest of the year. My financial life was a roller coaster. A long and crazy ride, and I was holding on for dear life.
In comes Summit Credit Union’s Project Money. Somehow, in my whirlwind of bills piling up, frivolous spending (did I forget to mention I have a Starbucks addiction?), and never knowing which direction I was coming from or in what direction I was going, I was able to get off that crazy roller coaster ride long enough for my head to stop spinning and ask for help. THAT was not easy.
About a month ago, I met with our Project Money coach, Melanie, to start preparing for the new ride Ashley and I were about to get on. Only this time, Ashley and I will have Melanie riding with us to share the excitement during the ups, help us get through the downs, and show us how to hold on tight during those unexpected loops.
Throughout this roller coaster ride called Project Money, Ashley and I will share our experiences here and on social media. Each week, we will have a new Financial Fun Fact that will provide you with useful tips and techniques that can help you decrease debt, increase savings and become financially fit.
So, here’s our first Financial Fun Fact, and it also happens to be what I’ve learned so far in preparing for Project Money: to decrease debt and increase savings, you MUST shift your money mindset. What does that mean? Your money mindset are those thoughts, beliefs, emotions and experiences about money. In short, before Project Money, mine involved never appreciating the value of financial goals – short and long term – and believing that everything I spend my money on is a need. Did I mention Starbucks?
Project Money is surely going to be a roller coaster of a ride. It will not be easy, but Ashley and I will do it together with Melanie’s help. While I still have those butterflies in my stomach as we approach our first peak in Project Money, I know that this ride will be better. Because I’ll have my eyes wide open.