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Success Online Financial Education Newsletter
Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCCESS NewsletterJuly 11 2013 newsletter
Budgeting tips for people who hate to budget

Woman faces budget confusion

By Jessica Horton, Community Manager

Do you know the true purpose of a budget?

According to a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) poll, the majority of people don't. In fact, 57 percent of respondents viewed a budget to be nothing more than a restriction on their spending.

The irony here is that it’s just the opposite! It may sound surprising, but look at it this way:

“A budget actually provides the structure through which a person can be in charge of his or her spending, directing the dollars to their best use,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Spending should be a reflection of a person’s priorities, but without a plan, the priorities often get pushed aside in favor of the tyranny of the urgent.”

If you are reluctant to create your own budget, think about the real reasons you’re avoiding it...

 Read More

Ask the Experts

ask the experts

Q: How do I get out of debt after a divorce?

"I'm in the middle of a divorce and I can't seem to get out of the pile of debt that was accumulated in our marriage. It seems I was "awarded" the bulk of the credit card debt, which is around $40k. I pay about $1k in child support. I currently make $85k plus bonuses. But, I can't seem to make it to the next paycheck without checks bouncing. I'm 34 yrs. old and I'm considering filing Chapter 13. Do you have any suggestions?" -At Wit's End

Dear AWE,

Unfortunately, debt and divorce, more often than not, go hand-in-hand. In fact, divorce is one of the top reasons consumers seek MMI’s help to get out of debt.

read more


Put your debt on a diet

debt diet

Are you carrying around extra debt? Are your bills weighing you down? Learn how to get fiscally fit by putting your debt on a diet.

In this free debt diet webinar, you will learn:

  • The true cost of credit and debt

  • The fast-track payoff plan and how to implement it to pay off debt faster

  • How to formulate a budget using the step-down budgeting process

  • How to implement a savings plan

register now

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Sharpen Your Financial Skills with Online Courses

The goal of our highly trained professionals is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to take control of your financial situation. Our online seminars stress the development of skills that can assure long-term success. Take the first step toward financial wellness by enrolling in a Web seminar today!

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In-Person Workshops Are Also Available In The Following Areas:

Alaska | Arizona | California | Connecticut | Colorado | Idaho | Illinois | Louisiana | Maine | Massachusetts | Mississippi | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Texas - Fort Worth Area | Texas - Houston Area | Virginia | Greater Washington D.C. | Washington State

View upcoming financial education workshops


About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit



How much do you need to buy a home?

Before you begin the home buying process, it’s important determine exactly how much money you can afford to spend on your new home. Knowing this information upfront can save you a lot of time and effort and is one of the keys to long-term successful homeownership. Here’s how:

To determine how much you can realistically afford, you’ll want to determine how much you will have for a down payment. In general, you will need to have at least 10 percent of the home’s price for a down payment. If you want the best loan terms, you should plan to have at least 20 percent for a down payment.

When making lending decisions, banks also consider the cost of housing in comparison to your income. Your monthly housing expenses including your mortgage, taxes, and insurance should be no more than 28 percent of your monthly income. Of course, your other debts also play a factor.

In general, lenders want your total debt-to-income ratio – which includes things like credit card debt, child support payments, and student loans – to be no more than 36 percent. So, in addition to a good credit history, these are some of the things that lenders are looking for.

But it is very important to remember that qualifying for a loan and being able to afford that loan are two different things. Before you make such a large commitment, you’ll want to consider a number of other factors too.

For example, what are your other monthly expenses? And how secure is your income? In other words, what is your comfort level? Keep in mind that there are some hidden costs of homeownership that you’ll need to factor in to your budget when you become a homeowner such as maintenance costs, association dues, and utilities.

For a handy mathematical snapshot of how much you'll need to put down in order to get monthly terms that fit in your budget, check out our calculators:

MMI Debt Management Plan Client Corner
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