What Goes into Your Credit Score?

The City of Trotwood and The HomeOwnership Center Aim for Impact in Trotwood

The City of Trotwood partnered with the HomeOwnership Center to bring homeownership and financial counseling services to Trotwood! That’s right, clients of the HomeOwnership Center and the CCCS can make appointments and receive counseling and other services in Trotwood.

Thanks to an initiative spearheaded by Mayor Mary A. Mc Donald, the city made available the necessary office space in the Trotwood Community and Cultural Arts Center located at 4000 Lake Center Drive, Trotwood, OH 45426. The HomeOwnership Center will provide homeownership and personal finance counselors on Tuesday afternoons. Clients can book appointments with the staff members for counseling on subjects like homebuying, credit counseling, debt management, and more.

Would you like to book an appointment?  Call 938.853.1600.

What Could a DMP Do for You #1

While not the perfect solution to all financial problems, a DMP or Debt Management Program can be a real lifeline for consumers that are drowning in debt and struggling to make the minimum payments on their monthly bills. That’s certainly true for this month’s example family. Not all debt can be included in a DMP. For instance, secured debts like homes and cars can’t be covered. However, credit card debts and some other unsecured debts do qualify.

This example is from an actual client that just started our DMP program this past month.


Here is a picture of their current situation:

Total unsecured debt covered by the DMP: $38,000

Monthly payment without DMP: $2,859


Now, let’s look at their situation while on the DMP program:

Monthly payment on the DMP: $1,273

Monthly Savings on the DMP: $1,586

All unsecured debts covered by the DMP will be paid off in 5 Years


Want to Learn More?

As we said earlier, a DMP is not for everyone, but it just might be for you. You can learn more by calling 937.853.1600 or by visiting our DMP page.

1 in 4 Americans Don’t Have $400 in Emergency Savings

According to a 2018 Federal Reserve study, 1 in 4 Americans don’t have $400 in emergency savings. That means if they had an unexpected expense such as a medical emergency or car repair, they would have to turn to debt to cover the cost. The additional debt just leads to more financial instability as struggling families must find ways to make the additional payments. You can see how all of this becomes a vicious cycle.

You must have an emergency savings account!

Your financial stability depends on having an emergency savings fund. It doesn’t have to be massive. Start small and let it grow over time. Your first savings goal should be $1000. With just $1000, you can cover many car repairs and can handle an urgent care visit… all without needing to borrow money or turning to high interest credit cards.

Grow your savings over time.

Once you’ve established your emergency savings account, keep adding to it until you have 3 to 6 months of expenses saved up. At that level, you can weather a short loss of income like a lay off at work or a hospital stay.

If it’s not an emergency, don’t touch the money.

Seriously! It’s called Emergency Savings for a reason. Repairing your car so that you can commute to work is an emergency. Paying for medical expenses is an emergency. Buying a new flat screen TV is not an emergency, even if your only TV fell off the wall and shattered. Basically, if the expense doesn’t help you get to work and pay the bills, keep you and your family healthy, put food on the table, pay the utilities, keep a roof over your head, or meet any other fundamental requirement to live, it’s not an emergency.

If you use it, pay it back!

If you do need to dip into your emergency savings account, pay it back as quickly as you can. You’ll need that money soon enough. Life has a way of happening just when we expect it least and your emergency savings fund helps to smooth out those bumps in the road.


Budget Tip #1 – How to Budget for Periodic Expenses

How do you budget for those expenses that you know are coming, but that don’t show up every month? You know, like insurance payments, birthday and holiday gifts, or car maintenance? We call those periodic expenses and they can wreak havoc with your paycheck if you don’t plan for them. What happens if you didn’t save for the $600 it takes to replace the tires on your car? If you don’t have the money set aside, you probably have to turn to your credit cards and that’s never a good option.

The better solution is to plan ahead and work that $600 expense into your regular monthly budget. If you know that you will need to buy new tires for the car this year, then divide the cost of the tires into 12 monthly payments and set that amount aside each month. so, in our case, $600/12 = $50 per month that we need to set aside in savings for our new set of tires.

Go ahead and make a list of all of your periodic expenses and repeat the process. Do you have back to school expenses for your kids each fall? That’s a periodic expense that you can plan for. After you are finished, you may find that you should be setting aside $75 to $100 per month for your periodic expenses. That’s OK.  With the money accumulating in your savings account, you won’t need to turn to your credit cards when the bill comes due.

That folks, is how you budget for periodic expenses.


Bonus Step: Engage an Expert Advisor

If you’re struggling with your personal finances, our certified counselors have the experience to help you manage your money so that its not controlling you.

Find out more by calling 937.853.1600 or by visiting our Financial Counseling page.