Sunday, January 12, 2014

Planning ahead to get ahead!

The 52 week savings plan

If January’s credit card bills or other holiday-related debt have you down, it’s a perfect time to put together a holiday spending plan.  Decide how much you can comfortably spend on gifts this year.  First, put together a list of all the people to whom you would like to give gifts.  Then decide how much you would like to spend on each person.  Don’t forget to include the costs of decorations, wrapping, and cards in your spending plan.   Parts excerpted from

Then use the 52 week savings plan below to get you there!

Faces at TRIP: Bobbi Carter

Bobbi CarterBobbi Carter joined TRIP as the first director of its NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center which opened in 2001.  She had previously worked in the lending industry for 18 years.   Despite the pressures of a growing demand by people who want to become homeowners, want to save or preserve their homes from disrepair or foreclosure, or want to turn their financial position around, Bobbi loves her job.  Her staff of five is like family to her, as are many of their customers who become life-long friends.  That is the key to her happiness; she most enjoys working with people who come in with financial problems and little hope – and leave her with a new understanding of what’s possible.  She’s quick to add that that doesn’t necessarily mean being a homeowner, since not everybody wants to or should own a home. Learning how to manage your finances, however, creates the path toward any dreams. 

When Bobbi is not working, she is able to spend time with her four-legged family, Max and Cutie, her mini Schnauzers. And are they the cutest!  

And what else do you think Bobbi might do when not working?  Talk about taking your work home with you, she did several  – what else?  -- home improvement projects recently.  Read the accompanying DIY article to see her story.  

New Year, New Skills

Learn to DIY

toolsWhile holed up at home recently taking some time off from work, Bobbi Carter, Director of TRIP’s HomeOwnership Center, took a mental inventory of house projects that needed to be done and pondered repair people to call.  Perhaps because it was during the holiday season when she often counsels people about how to manage their money, she realized there is no reason why she couldn’t try to do the repair, even if it ended with her needing to hire a professional to finish it.  

It started with doing the necessary research, in this case, searching the internet for “How do you….”

With a great deal of help from the web and YouTube videos in particular, Bobbi was able to learn each step of her repair project and the materials needed.  She even learned the names and uses of the many tools left her by her father, about three of which she knew how to use.  

Armed with knowledge, Bobbi tackled the inner mechanics of the downstairs toilet and replaced the corroded pop up drain and trap for the sink in that room.  Hours later, she successfully mastered it and had changed its inner parts, replacing old corroded pipes that will conserve water use and ultimately save her some money.

Next up was bleeding the radiators, draining them of any air that is caught within which reduces heat and increases costs.  First, YouTube, then get the right tool (in this case, the key), then get to work.  Again, a success. 

Bobbi is planning next to replace her old thermostat with an energy-efficient, programmable one.   The only thing she is worried about for this project is making sure the power is off before tackling it, so her task this weekend is to buy a good tester (the one tool her Dad didn’t seem to have)!  After this it’s back to the list that that seems to be growing daily along with expertise and YouTube, and confidence.

She will be taking the money she is saving with contractors & energy efficiency and adding it to her 52 Week savings so this time next year she can actually take a Vacation and not a Staycation!   And you can too!