INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Getting a grip on family finances is clearly a top priority inmany homes. Thousands have already signed up to join 24-Hour News8's Money Watch8 Challenge - 60 Days to Change.
Getting a grip on personal finances can be so overwhelmingthat people develop what Financial Expert Peter Dunn calls "numbspending." People know they should be doing something to stopspending, but they don't know what or how.
Week 1 is under way. The three families who agreed toparticipate in the challenge are making progress in overcomingtheir own "numb spending."
The first family: Amy and Brent who are the parents of twoyoung children, are finding out taking control of their financesisn't a quick fix.
"Well, like today. She went out to lunch and there was allkinds of stuff right here," said Brent.
A purchase that created a little friction between them.
"I feel if I want to go to lunch every once in awhile thenthat's fine. I think I deserve lunch just like anyone else," saidAmy.
"Getting organized is the toughest part. The old step on thescale lets see how much you weigh before you lose weight. It'salways the worst part," said Dunn.
Dunn said getting organized means being brutally honest withyour self.
"You're going to want to take the latest two monthsstatements, for any account you spend money on. If you currentlyspend money on a credit card, you need to have that statement. Ifyou spend money on a checking account that statement's got to bethere as well. You need your pay stub, you need your insurancepolicies," said Dunn.
The second family: Joe and Merita, who have a 23-year-old sonliving at home with them, are taking a close look at theirfinancial lives together for the first time.
"She's the spender, I'm the saver," said Joe. Merita agreed.
60 Days to Change has them counting the number oftransactions, cash or credit they make in a week.
"If you're handing over your debit card or credit card orcash buying something 15 to 20 times a week, you're much morelikely to spend absurd amounts of money that don't need to bespent," said Dunn.
Dunn said married couples should keep their transactions atten or fewer a week, singles about 5 or 6 a week.
The third family: Single mom Nadia said its advice that ishelping her financial future take off.
"I find myself thinking about, like today, I was going tostop before I got home, I was going to stop and get fast food. No,no no. Not going to do that," said Nadia.
Learning to adjust to the realities of the new necessities isalso a part of week one. From buying your daily coffee, to the costof your cell phone, simple changes can make a difference.
"Don't give up your cell phone, don't give up cable, don'tgive up the internet, simply evaluate your usage and compare thatto your plan," said Dunn.
Nadia said that advice alone is saving her $130 a month.
"I changed my cell phone plan. I changed my cable internetand phone," said Nadia.
Our 3 families have taken their first steps on the 60 Days toChange.
"Yeah I've just been way too lazy on this. I come home fromwork and I just want to sit down and relax for awhile and play withthe kids and I'm not real interested in crunching numbers," saidBrent.
"Oh, I'll take over the card probably, hold it in my wallet,"said Joe. Merita said, "We'll see about that."
"I know that I have the ambition, the discipline, and themotivation to do it. Just someone, or something helping me make theright choices," said Nadia.
That's exactly what the Money Watch 8 Challenge - 60 Days toChange program is all about. It will serve as a guide to helppeople get their financial house in order.
To sign up for the Money Watch 8 Challenge click here.Also, 24-Hour News 8's David Barras wants to hear how the programis impacting your life. To let him know how it's going clickhere.
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