You Stuffed Your Money Where?
Join financial experts Katelyn and Scott as they answer a call-in question about budgeting and the envelope system. Plus, you’re not alone if you ever fall victim to a fraud scam. Our own fraud expert Kristy joins Lynne on why instead of being embarrassed, you instead should focus on taking action.
00:00:06:23 Lynne Jarman-Johnson (LJJ): Money, I’m Home. On this week’s segment—have you ever heard about stuffing cash? People actually leave cash in envelopes at their home. Is it safe? I’ll tell you what, our experts are here to talk about it and also a way you can digitally enhance your life.
I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Let’s get started. Joining us today is Katelyn Huntington and Scott Dobson. They are our experts in financial education here at Consumers Credit Union. They help companies and people all over West Michigan and they can help you, whether you’re listening from as far as France—I know you are—to as close as Fremont. Let’s have some fun. Welcome in you guys. So, it’s a brand new year and we’ve got so much to talk about.
We have a brand-new idea for you, and that is our hotline phone. So, we’ve got some questions that already our members have called in. I’m going to start with the first one. It’s the hottest topic that we’ve heard about. It’s about new technology. And Sarah called in to ask us a question about digital envelopes. She said she saw a TikTok where people were stuffing money inside their houses—like real cash—and it got her a little nervous, which made me think of digital envelopes. Katelyn, I’m going to start with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and then we’re going to get into the topic.
00:01:24:17 Katelyn Huntington (KH): Well, here at Consumers, I am a business development representative. I work primarily with a program called Consumers @Work, where we work directly with businesses large and small, providing onsite financial wellness and education and onboarding.
00:01:38:14 LJJ: It must be so exciting. Scott, you help out, you’re coordinating this program. Every day you see different people who have such great stories.
00:01:46:06 Scott Dobson (SD): Absolutely. And we get great ideas from them as well. So, we’re out in the community trying to help people with their personal finances. I’ve been doing that for 20 years in the community. We’ve come up with some good ideas. And we hear good ideas from our members and try to turn them into great ideas, which I think what we’ll talk about some today.
00:02:02:06 LJJ: Well, let’s take a listen to Sarah. Sarah, thank you for your call.
00:02:05:22 Sarah (Caller): Hi, my name is Sarah, and I have a quick question about the envelope method. It seems to go well at first, but then it seems to come up that I need to borrow from one of the envelopes to make ends meet. Do you have any advice on how I could get back on track and stay there?
00:02:22:29 SD: Hey Sarah, that is a great question. I like my budget. I like to set it and forget it. But there will be times in your life where you will have to make changes. That’s a great time to sit down and say, “Now is the time to do a redo.” Maybe you come into our office and talk to one of us, or you really look at it and say, “All right, I’m going to move money from here to here and here. Here’s how I’m going to pay this one back.” So very individual, but we’re here to help with those.
00:02:45:29 KH: And Sarah, one thing to add with the technology we have at Consumers. You can hide your envelopes online. So, if there’s one that you are considering maybe borrowing from, you can go into your online banking and you can hide it and then you won’t even know it’s there.
00:03:02:22 LJJ: Katelyn, you meet people all across Michigan and you talk with them about their personal finances. Has this been a game changer for many?
00:03:11:14 KH: Yes. And along with the envelope system, I always talk to them about having a budget. Because if you don’t know the money you have coming in and going out, you don’t know how much to put into those digital envelopes. And so, starting with the budget, so you know what you have and then having an envelope or many envelopes—depending on what you want to do based on your preference—and putting that money in and knowing that those bills are being paid, whether automatically or manually. I’m a manual person. I like to physically click the transfer button. And I want to know that it’s being sent. Some like automatic, but it gives people peace of mind.
00:03:46:10 SD: And I’ll say quickly that one of the things that I think is weird about personal finances for me, it’s about how you feel about it. It’s less about, you should do this or it’s how … So my feeling is I want it set up and automatically done. Katelyn’s is she wants to see it and just push the button and say, “All right, I’ve got it.” And that makes her feel better. So, we’ve both chosen a different way. And with the credit union, we’ve got the ability to do it any way that you want. Some people have 50 different envelopes of different savings for grandkids, or for a new TV, or for Christmas and for their bills. And me, I have two: savings, bills and that’s all there is to it. So—
00:04:20:16 – 00:04:37:33 SD: The fortunate part is our systems will work no matter how you feel about your personal finances. Our job is just to get you comfortable so that the system— you have a system and it’s working for you. A lot of people have no system and they feel like every day they get paid … it’s just a mess and they don’t really feel like they are getting ahead.
00:04:37:33 LJJ: You know, I love to say that every one of our team members are financial experts in helping you get on the road to success. One of the great things that you talk about, Scott, when you’re presenting to companies is that it doesn’t matter what your paycheck is. Like, doctors and lawyers who might make six figures can be in the same boat of not having that budget and overspending. How important is that face to face assistance or a phone call to really have that open conversation and not be embarrassed?
00:05:14:14 SD: Yeah, it’s super nice to be able to say to know that we’re all regular people at the credit union and we’ve all had struggles with our personal finances of how to get it so it’s most comfortable for us. So I think that’s the great thing about the credit union. We have so many options to make it work for you and be comfortable for you, because—always start to say, “I wish I could manage my paycheck better.” Like, who wants to say that? No one. No one does. But we’ve all been there. Like, how can I manage my paycheck better? How can I make sure that I have enough money left over for groceries next week when I get paid every other Friday? We have a ton of services, great digital online. You can connect with us that way. We have a ton of offices. You can stop in, and we have experts everywhere that will sit next to you and say, “Here’s how you set up a sub account. Here—we’ll set it up for you. Here’s how you transfer money into it. Here’s how to set an alert.” We have the greatest technology so people can get exactly what they what they want. But I think the most important thing is we have real people digitally or coming into in our offices who will really help you one on one and make you feel like a valued individual and help you get to your next step.
00:06:17:24 LJJ: Katelyn, what is, you know, really quickly, as we wrap this topic up—and Katelyn and Scott will be with us all year long, so don’t forget to use our hotline. You can call in a hotline question for them too. But Katelyn, what’s a question that just pops up to you that you think, boy, this is asked quite often.
00:06:35:00 KH: Can I get more money? Ah, that that’s the number one question I get jokingly when I’m on-site visiting employees. And really, it’s: they don’t know what money they have really in their account. And so helping them sort that out, get them on an envelope system so they’re on track, is probably honestly the biggest question. Everyone laughs, but I think they’re partly serious, it’s like, how do I get more money? Well, knowing when you have and then putting it into a system where you can have your bills paid and have fun …
00:07:04:17 SD: And we always—money is: how much you spend depending on how much you make. So if you make $100,000 and you spend $102,000, you don’t have any money. So we just wanted people to have a system, say, “Boy, I make this, spend that.” And then if you can pay off a bill or reduce your debt, you feel like you made more money just because you get to keep more of it. Like my fun money, I get more of it if I have a lot of less debt. So it’s a great way to be able to see and get a picture of it. My biggest question, though, is always, is like, does it cost anything and how hard is it to open another account? And we’re always like, no, you can have 50 accounts if you want. They don’t cost anything, and they’re super easy to open.
00:07:43:04 LJJ: What Scott said is so true. It doesn’t cost money and it’s easy. And you know what? We can help you to get it done. It’s time for our Money Minute. Expert Kristi Desimone is our fraud expert here at Consumers Credit Union. Every day she is talking with our members to keep fraud at bay. Just this week, I listened to a national speaker, who was local, who told us about the fact that she was frauded and she was public, and she said it was so embarrassing. But this is happening everywhere.
00:08:18:18 Kristy Desimone (KD): Right. You are not alone, especially listening to our podcast. You know that I have fallen for a scam before. And Lynne’s fallen for a scam before.
(LJJ) Yes, I have.
00:08:25:06 KD: So we know we’re not alone. You have to talk to us! There is no embarrassment. The only way to combat fraud is communication and education.
00:08:32:08 LJJ: What do you do if all of a sudden you realize, oh no, I just took the bait?
00:08:38:08 KD: Yeah. So stop. Go to us. Call us. Reach out. Don’t deposit any checks. Don’t transfer any money. Talk to us first so we can help you figure it out.
00:08:48:04 LJJ: But if you have done that, you also again, reach out.
00:08:51:26 KD: Reach out, 100%. Come into the office. Sit down with us. We’ll walk you through it. We’ll protect your accounts. We’ll get new information for you. But yeah, definitely come see us.
00:09:00:20 LJJ: It is very important that we help you as members and in our community. So head to our website. We have a fabulous fraud prevention section here at consumerscu.org. Hey, thanks so much for joining us. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson, Money. I’m Home. Don’t forget to call our hotline. And also, you know what? We’ve got experts across the realm of anything you can ask us to help you get on the road to financial success.