Three families count their savings after financial freeze - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Three families count their savings after financial freeze

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Three families have set out on a journey to save. The Nitzke's, the Conway's, and the Christianson's have stocked up on groceries and gas, ready to freeze their finances for one week.

"We definitely would spend money every single day," Abbey Nitzke said.

But, four days in Abbey and her husband Bert are staying the course.

"I was surprised at how much we spend on little errands, we say ‘oh we're right in town it's not a big deal', but it really adds up," Abbey said.

But, for Bert, things are about to get a little tougher. He's on his way to a 3-day business trip in Milwaukee.

"If I do go out, it will be a cup of water for me," Bert said.

Committed to not spending a cent, he packed enough food to last him the entire week.

"You're literally taking a brown bag lunch on a business trip," I said to Bert as he packed his bag. "Yeah, a little unique," he answered.

"I'm usually the one saying ‘lets go, lets go,' I'm the leader of that pack so it's going to be kind of weird when I say no I'm not going out," Bert said.

But in the end it was successful.

"It's nice to see that we can go a whole week, maybe longer," Abbey said.

At the end of the week the Nitzke's estimated they saved roughly $100. But, they say it's the lessons in frugality that proved to be the most valuable.

"The biggest thing is that if you can stay home, and have fun doing things at home, stay home," Abbey said.

And experts agree. Financial Adviser Jim Koehler says just by planning meals for one week a family could save close to $50.

"Most people don't think $10, $2, $8 means anything, but put it all together it adds up," Koehler said.

Over in Wausau at the Conway's, something unexpected has come up.

"We had a toilet issue, our toilet wasn't working," Kristen Conway said.

"It needed to be fixed."

But with finances in mind, the Conway's decided to fix the toilet themselves instead of calling a plumber.

"I think total in parts, what we spent was like 8 dollars," Kristen said.

In fact we looked it up, the Conway's saved almost $75 with just the one do it yourself project.

Doing it yourself is something Koehler says can really save you money.

"It is very overlooked," Koehler said. "The amount of money you can save is hundreds, thousands."

Finally we head to the Christianson's where it's lunch time.

"Our fresh fruits are dwindling," Vickie Christianson said.

But, with a calendar full of activities it's the constant carpooling that's created the biggest problem.

"Only about 200 miles left," Leif Christianson said as he started his car.

But, at first the family didn't experience the savings they thought they would.

"We saw savings throughout the week, but at first with that initial shock, we didn't think we were going to be saving any money," Leif said.

So, in the end, three families and three different lessons learned.

"Just being held accountable, we realized what we need versus what we want."

And experts say, that's the key to maintaining a balanced budget.

"Prioritize what you need, put that money aside, pay everything that you need to pay and then money left over is savings that you could use on those things you want," Koehler says.

Lessons these families say they've learned in this Spending Freeze Challenge.

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