Survive This Economy: Meet The Wrights

CHICAGO (CBS) — We want to help you survive this economy. Meet the Wrights, a suburban couple with four children. They are ready to save some cash.

Every week, CBS 2 will have experts work with the Wrights on everything from tackling credit card debt to retirement savings to cutting everyday bills.

We’re talking about real tips and real savings – things you can do, too.

As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, we don’t know exactly where this money saving journey will take us, but we do know where it needs to start.

This series is about taking one step at a time to help all of us improve our financial health. You won’t see any quick fixes.

The Wrights are a real family, with real struggles that get in the way of saving money.

Marcus Wright describes his family’s financial life as “chaotic.”

“The reason I would describe it as chaotic is because we’ve gotten away from having a structure on what we need to do daily, on what we need to do as far as saving, on what we need to do to put away a college fund,” he said. “I’d like control.”

His wife Sinora said she wishes for “peace of mind.”

“For me, it means not worrying about how we’re going to pay our bills,” Sinora said.

It’s a simple wish, but a difficult goal. The Wrights are upside down on their home – it’s worth less than the value of their mortgage. They have thousands of dollars of credit card debt and student loans. They’re helping two kids get through college and have two at home.

Sinora’s a stay-at-home mom and Marcus works as an IT consultant. He brings home $5,800 a month. About $5,200 covers the monthly bills. The $600 left over goes for food, transportation, everything else – including life’s little surprises.

“We had a dishwasher go out, we had a stove go out, we had a microwave issue, so it’s been rolling expenses,” Marcus said.

They’re a typical family, trying to survive a tough economy and they’re looking for help. Enter psychologist and life coach, Dr. Amy Johnson.

“You’ve committed to something,” Johnson told the Wrights.

While Johnson applauded their commitment, she said before any family tackles their budget, they must adjust their attitude.

“A good analogy is, you know, losing weight,” Johnson said. “If, ten years down the road, you know, I weigh 20 pounds less or if, ten years down the road, I have this much in my savings account … whatever your ultimate goal is to really feel that and to really feel how awesome that would feel.”

And just like a physical diet, it’s important to surround yourself with motivating reminders.

“If you have to keep your budget or your diet or whatever it is taped to the refrigerator and also, reminders on your phone,” Johnson said.

Asked what will be the biggest stumbling block for them, Sinora said, “sticking with it.”

“For me it needs to be done, so we just have to just do it,” Marcus said.

Dr. Johnson gave the Wrights an assignment this week. They have to spend a week tracking all the money they spend, so they get an idea of where they can trim their budget.

Already the wrights are already seeing results – a simple phone call saved them more than $100.

CBS 2 will have that story next week.

More from Dorothy Tucker
  • JB

    They’re probably on public aid and now cbs is giving them more handouts.

    • Chaim Chitterling

      You must be right. A Black family that works and earns money?? Maybe on an episode of the Twilight Zone.

  • Jerry

    They seem like a nice family but why is she a stay aT home mom if they’re having financial difficulty. The 2 youngest are in school.

  • Building Automation Experts » Blog Archive » Survive This Economy: Meet The Wrights

    […] reading here: Survive This Economy: Meet The Wrights « Teaching kids financial literacy? Don’t forget entrepreneurship Copyright […]

  • Cmella from Texas

    His salary is over $69,000.00 a year which is too much for that family to qualify for public aid! Furthermore, Mr. JB, maybe you are single and a millionaire, so you don’t understand what families are going through during these hard times. Public aid is for families transitioning and not meant as a lifestyle! I am a married mother of 6 kids. I am a Registered Nurse and my husband is a Freight Hauler. But even with the salaries we make, prices have sky-rocketed! From gas, food, clothes, formula etc… it seems like there is not enough money! You may be more fortunate than others, but in a blink of an eye you can be a dollar away from homelessness. When you exalt yourself to look down on others, God may allow something to happen to get your attention for a serious reality check! So be careful! GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS, MR. AND MRS. WRIGHT!!!!

    • JB

      No, I work for everything that I have. The scam that blacks run is the mother stays at home and collectsw public aid while the husband or boyfriend works.

  • Jean Collin

    I don’t understand when you honestly mak an effort to provide a home for you & your family. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and have endured many side effects from treatment. My husband drives truck for a living. We have lost a great deal of our income with me not working and my husband pay being decreased. We can’t get BENEFICIAL Finance to approve us for a Loan Modification for our mortgage. We make too much money. I can’t even afford to fill my cancer medication since May when I was dropped by my insurance company. I am lucky to have money for groceries to feed my husband & I. Alot of refinace companies won’t even bother because BENEFICIAL is not “Freddie Mac” or “Fannie Mae” affiliated. I have been in my home for 15 years and I guess when you fall ill and can’t make ends meet no one is willing to work with you because it’s not their problem. I hate when “WE” have made attempts at working with BENEFICIAL and we keep getting these bogus letters of how we have failed to make contact or make proper arrangements. Why is it companies can record our phone calls but once you are recording the conversation as well they get on the defensive. I want to keep my home very much so…. I didn’t ask to get cancer, lose my income and not be able to make ends meet. BENEFICIAL make me feel as if I have failed my family because I can no longer help support them. Everyday the people we entrusted our finances to are getting greedier and pushing the hard earning AMERICANS out on the streets with the many other homeless people who lost out on their dreams.

  • Shell

    Seems like that wife need to stop being lazy and get a job. If she cared that much about her family, she should do what it takes to help out!! So many woman, think a man is suppose to take care of them and the kids. NEWSFLASH this is 2011, a man wants a man with substance that can pick up the slack when he is not able to. So the that lazy lethargic wife, GET A JOB!!

  • Michelle L.

    First of all, Marcus works very hard and NO they are not on Public Aid. Marcus is a tax payer who supports his wife and children. He has worked at one time two extream high end professional jobs. They are both college educated and Sinora has started two very well implemented online businesses. Now the question is, If Marcus and Sinora were Caucasian would anyone be making statements that they must be on Public Aid??? No you would not. I happen to work in North Oak Park where every mom is a stay at home mom almost. They too are suffering this economic economy. They both have two children in college besides the little ones, so stop being so Ignorant to what you may think other people are going through. These are hard times and some times you are better off with one car and travel exspesnces than two cars going with two people trying to work.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live