Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles (upbeat music) Hi, I'm Tonya Rapley, entrepreneur and financial educator. And I can say in all honesty, I've never seen anything like this. My income has been disrupted. Okay, my daughter's at home now all day every day. We essentially lost a third of our income. And we don't really know when it's coming back. Which is why we brought together this digital community. A group from around the country, with Bank of America specialists, for a series of open and honest conversations. How do I make credit work for me? Don't get overwhelmed by the numbers. Let me see if I can bring the bill down at a different clip. We have tools to help you understand contribution levels. If you fall in love with the process itself, then those sacrifices will pay off in the long run. This is Better Money Habits, Money Talks. Brought to you by Bank of America. Alright, so this is gonna be a money conversation like you guys probably have never had before. We're gonna pair you with specialists from Bank of America. And I would love to learn more about you, Rachel! So yeah, I've had to take a huge shift. I went from teaching in a classroom to teaching on my computer. I went from working five days a week to my only stable income is once a week now, which is scary. Coronavirus is a lot of people's rainy day and their big emergency. But for me, I was in a traumatic car accident of January 2019. I was rear ended on the freeway, my car flipped over onto its side. Not only do I have the debt I had before, I have medical debt on top of that and it feels really overwhelming. It's like running a marathon and not knowing where the finish line is. Yup! I've been speaking with a lot of people who are dealing with that, it feels like that. So we were coming up with a great financial plan, life was looking great, and then the pandemic hit. My main job as a design engineer, I was asked to take a pay cut. And then I lost my second job as a performer inside the city during nights. We weren't able to do the show, so, I lost a second income entirely as a result of it. Me and my fiancé, we're just talking about this last night... weddings are not cheap. No, no! We don't know if the wedding is gonna happen anytime soon. As our income got disrupted, yeah, we definitely had to look at expenses that just, come out, that you don't even realize. I do want to shout out to my fiancé, because she was like, "I'm not buying any new clothes for at least a month." She just started going on thrift sites. Why do I want to pay full price for something, when I might be able to get a deal on it? And I thought that was like, really savvy. My landlord knows that we're both looking for full time work, and so she's given us a laundry list of things to do. And she says, just count your hours, I'll pay you 25 dollars an hour and just take it out of rent. We did 400 dollars worth of work for her before we even moved in. So, we were able to take that out of just the first month's rent. That's amazing! So we decided to plant a garden and we almost half our grocery spending. We're both chefs! We are both chefs. We like to eat food and make food. We had just bought our new house, and then we lost kind of like a third of the income stream coming in. So... We do all this budgeting beforehand and you can never really budget for the unexpected. Making spreadsheets. Really, we're just trying to find all the little hacks to save money. We actually learned how to can as well. We have sauces and vegetables and fruit compotes. And one day we will eat them, right? We're gonna have to, we have so much of it now. Meal prep and meal planning has been the very thing that I think changed my budget. So something really cool that has happened for us during COVID is that my daughter and I got to move into our own space together, our own apartment. We have never been able to live on our own because I couldn't do it financially on my own. A year and a half ago, I was living paycheck to paycheck. Like there were times where I had to ask friends for gas money. And here we are now a year later. And I'm really excited to change my family tree and break those generational curses. And that is such a fun and exciting thing to look forward to for the future for me and my daughter. Yes! Kudos. So much good has happened. I know that Chelsey is a new mom. Hi, I'm Chelsey, I live in Northeast Ohio. So I did not have any maternity leave, nor did I qualify for FMLA. And my husband did not have any paternity leave. Because both of us are working from home, my husband is able to see our son way more than he would if he was at work 8 hours a day. This is where we used to eat dinner. And now it's been our workstations. Both of our parents are close to us and there have been times where we've asked them to come over and babysit so we could clean our house. So just taking advantage of people who want to help and not being afraid to ask for that help. Each of you have different goals that you're working towards, different things that you'd like a little more insight on how to navigate during this time. And so what we'll be doing is you'll pair up with a bank specialist to answer any questions that you have and really get a plan of action. And then from there, we will reconvene. And so, does that sound good to you? Yeah. (upbeat music) Amanda and Andrew, you are in for a treat. We have joining us, our Bank of America specialist Anthony Dinello. Give Anthony a little rundown of what your pressing questions are. We essentially lost a third of our income and it was right around the time we bought this house. At this point, we've kind of normalized and kind of stabilized a little bit but we really had to sit down and think about what the wants versus the needs were. I think the first, most important thing is what are the monthly expenses that you have? What are the bills that you have that you can count on having to be responsible for every month? That should be your floor. Now, let's see what money we have leftover. And what is our budget going to be for the month? He actually helped me write my first budget in an Excel spreadsheet. I'm glad there's an Excel wizard in the house, that always helps to have. An honest mistake or two will happen along the way, so it's very important that you set up alerts. I actually have an alert on my phone. For every single time a debit card is swiped, I get a text message. That's a good idea. I like the alert thing, so that both of us know that the spending would be happening Keep the communication open! You know, it really helps establish checks and balances because then you're accountable to someone other than yourself for how you're spending. I do also have a Bank of America credit card, which I love because the system they have on the backend is really useful for money management. The alerts is something I do have set up on my end, and that's just good to know whenever your card is being used, or whenever your budget's close to being exceeded. Even if it's like 14 dollars under, you know? It feels good that you're within your means of what you're trying to do that month. You're gonna probably say okay, our goal would be to save this much, this month. I would have two numbers in mind and I would really strive for that stretch goal and really challenge yourselves because I think you would be surprised what you're capable of. It's like the Chinese food last night. We are close to our eating out budget for the month, but last night I was craving Chinese food and he looked at me, and was like, we're close to the budget, we can't get it. So we had leftovers. Yeah, you guys are great. It was good leftovers, I'm glad we did it. There's a lot of value, right? And starting to look at longterm and how much overall you could save when consolidating debt. What type of debt is it? How much do I owe? How much is your minimum monthly payment? And then, what is your interest rate? For me, it's my favorite spreadsheet. That's the one where I'm like, things are getting done. I think that's a pretty cool idea. I never really thought honestly about doing anything like that. It allows you to see what your most expensive debt is or what's the smallest balance. It allows you to focus your game plan. Some people say start with the biggest balance first, because the more you can knock that down the better. Personally, I like to start with the smallest ones first. That smaller amount, you could pay off quickly. It feels good when you get one paid off. And then you have that extra money to go towards the other payments that you have. Until now I didn't really think of it as a bunch of small pieces. I kind of just think of it as this big wall. If we look more at it, more of it as like a bunch of bricks on a wall, and you're just taking pieces out one at a time, I think it's gonna seem manageable. And it will encourage you to continue to do more and more. The first thing we're gonna do is make a spreadsheet with our debts and interest. So like, Date night, date night! I'm gonna, no, it's not a date night... It is! I need it to be fun. It's a money date! There's no such thing as a finance date night. I mean, maybe there is now. (upbeat music) When trying to stick to a budget, stretch goals can be highly motivating. Organize all of your debt by balance amount and interest rate to help determine the best debt reduction strategy for you. (upbeat music) And so Chelsea, I know that you're in good hands. We have our bank specialist, Marcella Gallego. I don't think there's anyone more perfect to assist you with your goals. So we may need to look into some childcare. And so, wondering some different ways that we can budget for that. What works for me best when I was doing this exercise was I did the decision tree. Writing down, if I had to go with a nanny. What exactly do I want?