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Success Online Financial Education Newsletter
Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCCESS NewsletterMay 23 2013 newsletter
How to actually live with your budget

how to live with your budget

By Jesse Campbell, Copywriter

A good budget is a beautiful thing – a perfectly balanced harmony of words and numbers, woven together like an exquisite tapestry. It feels good to put together and it looks great on the wall.

But it’s not really there for looking at. It’s supposed to help you get from A to B. It’s supposed to help you pay down debt and build savings and fix your credit and get a house and maybe remember to buy some broccoli once in a while. A good budget is a theoretical framework for how to successfully handle your money, but it doesn’t do any of the actual work for you.

So that’s the thing – you’ve got your budget. Now what?

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Thinking of starting your own business?
Entrepreneur's Guide to Personal Finance

Starting your own business is an enormous undertaking and a great idea isn't enough to guarantee success.  You need a smart business model, hard work and good money management. 

Before you make the leap and start your own business be sure that you've covered all of your bases.

A great way to start is to download our free financial eBook The Entrpreneur's Guide to Personal Finance today!

Ask the Experts

ask the experts

Q: Do creditors have to honor the terms of a divorce decree?

"I’ll skip to the basics. My husband and I bought a car and we made all payments like normal. In our divorce, he was court-ordered to pay for the car, but he must not have paid because the car was repossessed. They have sent me a letter demanding the money. I don’t know what to do, he was court-ordered to pay for it."  -Jan

Jan, I know this is not what you want to hear, but I must be honest with you. Creditors legally do not have to honor the terms of your divorce decree. The divorce decree was between you and your spouse and not your creditors. Your creditors are not involved in this settlement and have no input on the results. Consequently, the contracts have not changed and cannot be changed by the divorce decree.

Your only recourse now may be to file contempt of court charges against your husband for his failure to abide by the terms of the divorce decree. An attorney can help to you better understand your rights.

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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

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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



Understanding your credit score

You may have recently seen your credit score and wondered how you could improve it. Understanding what is used in the calculation of your credit score is the first step. While the exact formula used in the calculation of the score is proprietary, there are some known factors. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, creators of the FICO score, the five key factors are:

  • Payment history
  • Amounts owed
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit
  • Types of credit used

There generally isn’t any action you can take that will immediately result in a higher credit score, but applying good credit practices over time can help improve your score.

Making payments to creditors on time is the most important thing. While not all creditors report on time payments, they do report payments that are delinquent. The length and severity of delinquencies is also considered.

In addition, you should make sure that you aren’t using the full credit limit available to you. Creditors generally report to the credit bureaus once per month, and even if you pay off the balance every month, it could be viewed negatively if you are using a higher percentage of your total credit.

If you do have some negative items included in your credit report and score, those items will most likely not be removed for at least seven years from the date the negative activity occurred. However, making on time payments in the future will continue to improve your score, as more recent history is given greater weight.

In most cases, keeping credit accounts open is likely to help you, not hurt you. While potential creditors do look at the amount of outstanding credit you have available, they also look at the length of your credit history, as well as the percentage of credit used. Closing older, lesser-used accounts can hurt your score by decreasing the length of history you have, as well as increase the percentage of your total credit you are using. New credit, which is one of the factors used in calculating the score, includes number of recent account inquiries, and number of new accounts opened.

It’s also important to review the type of credit that you are currently using. Different types of credit cards, for instance, are viewed differently in the scoring algorithm. While getting rewards points and a first time discount sound appealing, department store credit cards are generally not as good for your credit score as a major credit card. Mortgages, automobile loans, and student loans are also considered “good” kinds of credit.

The largest impact you can make on your score is continuing on time payments, and taking on debt with a thoughtful approach.

MMI Debt Management Plan Client Corner
Tips for Success

Don't risk missing a payment.
Sign up for DepositDirect! It's secure, convenient and easy! Enroll online today!

Update your account balances online. When you receive your creditor statements, update your balances by visiting your MMI account .

If you would like more information about a Debt Management Plan, visit

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