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  • (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.