Is Your New Year’s Resolution To Take Control of Debt?

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Many people make resolutions for the New Year such as eating healthy, losing weight, increasing savings, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, etc. Was yours to make better decisions about money?

If your goal is to take better control of your finances, here are some quick tips for staying on track:

  1. Have a vision board with your written goals on it. As items are completed, check them off. A vision board is a constant reminder of your goals. People who have vision boards are reminded every day of their goals, and are most likely to complete them. It might be on your refrigerator, or on your bathroom mirror, on your car’s sun visor or at your desk at work.
  2. Know what your total debt is. Add up your total net income. Add up your current household expenses. Is there money left over after all the bills are paid? If not, then there are two options: increase income or current expenses need to be reduced.
  3. Are any of your current expenses “Want” instead of a “Need”? Is cable TV an absolute must-have for you or your family or can you cut it out of your budget? Can you make more meals at home rather than dining out? Do you purchase coffee on your way to work every day? Make a cup at home to reduce your daily expenses. It all adds up over time.
  4. Have you had an Energy Assessment done on your home? It could save you money on your monthly utility bills and cost you nothing. Visit NeighborWorks Energy Services to learn more.
  5. Look for ways to earn extra income. Working over-time, internet income opportunities, obtaining a better-paying job, selling some stored items in your attic or garage are all ways to increase your bottom line. Do you have items that are collecting dust that you do not use can be sold? Start preparing for a garage sale, virtual or real.
  6. Use any extra money you make or receive -a bonus, commissions, tax refunds – to start paying down your debt. Pay the bills with the smallest balances first and/ or pay bills with the highest interest rates first.
  7. Always make sure you pay your bills on time to avoid the extra late charges.

 

Once you start paying down your debt, your stress levels will reduce, and you will feel much better once you achieve your goal. And isn’t that what resolutions are all about?

If you feel you need more help to take charge of your debt, sign up for one of our Financial Fitness Classes by creating a Compass Account. Or give us a call at 585-325-4170.

Thanks to Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative, Rochester Homeowner can make needed repairs

Nate Sheppard from ABC and Al Rayburn, Technical Services Manager at NeighborWorks Rochester, with homeowner, Joyce Vereecke.

The following was written by guest-blogger, Elizabeth McDade, Program Coordinator for the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative (RSEHI)

In December 2014, Joyce Vereecke was served with divorce papers and asked to vacate her home with her two daughters. It was just before Christmas and the younger daughter was a senior in high school. Joyce, her daughters, and two dogs moved into a hotel room where they lived for over two months while Joyce searched for a new home. After deciding to buy a house and moving into it, it was discovered that the person who sold it to her did not have the right to do so. Once again, they had to move.

The family moved into a home on Dickinson Street in Rochester two years ago. The house was nice but needed some repairs and, as Joyce says, she was “not handy.” There was also the question of finding time to do home repairs—in addition to working part time and taking care of her children, Joyce also helped care for her mother who was in assisted living and suffering from dementia.

From the day they moved in, Joyce has slept downstairs in the living room because “one window fell right into the house when the wind blew” and the other window “couldn’t fully close or be locked.” Joyce slept on the couch because “If someone came in the house through one of those windows, I wouldn’t have heard them upstairs in my room…and I have two daughters!”

Joyce worked with NeighborWorks Rochester in Spring 2017 because her sewer line was backed up and needed repair. “We couldn’t flush the toilet or take a shower. You can’t show up at work if you don’t take a shower.” NeighborWorks brought this project to the RSEHI table because they couldn’t do weatherization work without getting the sewer line replaced, but their funding did not cover that scope of work. RSEHI approved a new sewer line (and sidewalk replacement) at $3,650.00. NeighborWorks was able to provide $7,365.99 worth of insulation and health and safety interventions for a total of $10,995.99.

This Fall, Joyce qualified for the ABC Weatherization program. ABC suggested that Joyce apply for the City of Rochester Window’s Program. ABC installed a new furnace and various health and safety items worth $3,168.00. The City of Rochester provided windows valued at $1,316.00 and RSEHI provided $1,600.00 to install the windows for a total of $6,084.00 worth of work.

Through various programs with NeighborWorks Rochester, Action for a Better Community, City of Rochester Windows Program, and the Rochester Safe and Efficient Homes Initiative, Joyce and her family have received a new sewer line, insulation, a high efficiency furnace, air sealing, a new door, other health/safety and weatherization interventions, AND eight new windows that close and lock.

For the first time in two years Joyce is sleeping upstairs in her own bed.

Learn more about the RSEHI program

Learn more about NeighborWorks Rochester Energy Services

NeighborWorks® Rochester Proud to be Part of Solarize the Flower City Campaign

RocSpot logoROCSPOT, an organization devoted to the implementation of solar technology to create jobs and reduce poverty in Rochester, announced today that that Solarize the Flower City 2016 is one of 31 Solarize campaigns across the State beginning this spring. Solarize the Flower City 2016 will kick off with a launch event on March 20, where local and state leaders will come together to celebrate with ROCSPOT, NeighborWorks® Rochester and other partners, and the local community. Governor Cuomo announced the program awards on February 19, funded through Community Solar NY, a NYSERDA program.
As a component of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy and NY-Sun program, Community Solar NY makes implementing solar easier and more affordable by supporting locally-organized community outreach aimed at getting a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and obtain competitive pricing, thereby lowering the cost. Historically, Solarize campaigns lower the cost of solar 10 to 20 percent.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 will be selecting designated solar installers using a thorough pre-qualification process. Residents and businesses who sign up for solar installations by September 15, 2016, will be able to take advantage of group rates below market prices. The more customers who sign up, the lower the price will be for everyone.
“New York is blazing the trail when it comes to transitioning to sustainable energy practices and building a clean energy economy,” said Governor Cuomo. “By helping communities across the state install solar technologies, we are opening the door to new opportunities that will lower household energy costs while protecting the environment years into the future.” “I am proud to partner with ROCSPOT and support the Solarize the Flower City Campaign,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The citizens of Rochester are committed to protecting the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Developing more sustainable and more affordable methods of energy production through solar power will play a critical role in that effort and help us create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and provide all of our children with a quality education.” “More so now than ever before, the Finger Lakes Region is on the cutting edge of green and renewable energy development, with solar technology being an important part of the equation,” said Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport). “I thank ROCSPOT, NYSERDA, and all partners involved in Solarize the Flower City for helping to make solar generation more affordable and accessible for both residents and employers alike across our community.”
Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester said: “NeighborWorks® Rochester is excited to be a partner in the Solarize the Flower City 2016 campaign. Increasing Rochester’s solar capacity, and decreasing household energy usage, will help to reposition our community both by supporting households struggling to meet energy costs, as well as neighborhoods looking to become more sustainable”.
Additional partners and participants include NYSERDA, the Town of Brighton and the Town of Irondequoit.
Solarize the Flower City 2016 is supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative as well as the City of Rochester, through the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Five Cities Energy Plan program. Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun will invest up to $1 billion in solar power through 2023 to significantly expand solar installations across the State, ultimately transforming New York’s solar industry to become self-sustaining. The City of Rochester is investing over $800,000 from the NYPA Five Cities program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, positioning itself as a leader in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Unique Collaboration on Solar Installation Project to Bolster Community, Save Residents Money and Energy

solar house imageWe are excited to announce that, with support from NeighborWorks® America and Rochester Area Community Foundation, NeighborWorks® Rochester will be coordinating solar installations on two homes in the City of Rochester during the week of November 10th. The organization is also collaborating with GRID Alternatives, the country’s largest nonprofit solar installer, to install the solar panels on the two income qualified, owner occupied homes.
The two-day installations will take place at 262 Fernwood Avenue and 78 Woodbine Avenue in November. The average household pays nearly $170 each month in energy costs, and the typical homeowner saves more than $1,000 a year on electricity by installing roof-top solar panels.

“This has been a great team effort,” stated Maureen Murphy, NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Executive Director. “It will make a huge difference to the families that benefit from this, and it is the first solar project that is targeting low to modified income households in Rochester. NeighborWorks® Rochester is proud to lead the way in using alternative energy as an effective way to not only save money, but also build community, along with our partners at Rochester Area Community Foundation and GRID Alternatives. Together we are increasing the access of low-income families to solar power.”

Mary Hartstein, Program Associate, Community Programs at Rochester Area Community Foundation stated, “We welcome this opportunity to invest in providing sustainable financial relief to our low income families. We hope this effort will help build momentum for a residential solar panel movement in Rochester.”

In addition to providing the homeowners with money-saving opportunities, the project will also provide hands-on professional-development opportunities in the booming solar industry for local trainees. Volunteers will be able to have a hands-on experience to help further their education and to make them more employable. According to the U.S. Census, solar installation jobs offer wages of $20-$24 an hour, but usually do not require advanced education. Call (585)327-4705 if you’re interested in volunteering for the install.

NeighborWorks® Rochester is one of nine grantees from across the country who will collectively receive $170,000 in grants to equip affordable single- and multi-family homes with solar power from NeighborWorks® America. Under the partnership with GRID Alternatives, 68 homes and 6 multifamily buildings serving 50 farmworker families will be equipped with solar panels at various locations across the country.

Shining A Light On Our Energy Services

save-energy-bulb-lgIf you’re interested in saving money and helping the environment, you may want to consider scheduling a NeighborWorks® Rochester Home Energy Audit for your home! here are some answers to FAQ’s: Does it cost money to have an energy audit done on my home? Energy audits are free to households with annual income of less than $137,000. Households with a higher income can have an audit done for a pro-rated fee. NeighborWorks® Rochester has energy programs available regardless of income, including grant funds for lower income households, and subsidy programs that can help pay for energy-related work. The audit is likely to save you money in the long run, as we can help point out areas in your home that can be improved upon for energy and money savings. In addition, as a non-profit organization, our focus is on you, the homeowner, making sure that you have reliable information and a high level of customer service. Why would I want to schedule an Energy Audit? Sometimes there are issues in your home that you might not even be aware of, such as appliances that are using large amounts of energy and needlessly inflating your gas or electric bill.We can show you simple fixes to your home that you can do yourself, potentially saving you money and headaches in the future. Do you have big icicles that appear every winter and thaw every spring? They might be doing more damage than you can see from the outside, which will be more costly as time goes on. And, because we can provide tips on how to cut down on drafts and air leaks, your family could be much more comfortable on those cold, blustery days of winter. In addition, as a non-profit organization, our focus is on you, the homeowner, making sure that you have reliable information that is not part of a sales pitch. Why are you so interested in saving me money? Our mission is to help people become homeowners and to give them the tools to stay in their homes. Equipping people with information that will make their home healthier and more comfortable and will better prepare them to be long-term homeowners. Long-term homeowners make better neighbors, and better neighbors, make better neighborhoods!

Who you gonna call? Your full-service partner, that’s who!

Your Full-Service Partner..

Owning a home of your own can be as stressful as it is enjoyable. How can you make your family as safe and comfortable as possible, without spending all your hard-earned money? Does the roof need to be replaced, or just fixed? How can you be sure that the contractor can be trusted to finish on-time and on-budget? NeighborWorks® Rochester is here to help.

As a non-profit, one-stop shop for homebuyers and homeowners, our goal is to guide you through the buying process as well as all stages of homeownership, including home repairs. If your home is in need of fixing, NeighborWorks Rochester can work with you to offer unbiased solutions to your home issues. We can give you the confidence that comes with knowing you have someone in your corner. And we’ll be there with you for years to come, building great communities, one dream home at a time. Some Frequently Asked Questions about our Lending Program are:house construction

Q. Are there qualifying income limits to receive your services?

A. No.  There are no income minimums or maximums needed to access our services.  We work with all ranges of incomes.

Q. Do you only work with City residents?

A. No.  We serve all the residents of Monroe County. The only lending service that we offer that is specific to city residents is our construction management service. Our lending services are available to any resident within the Monroe County area  looking to do repairs on their home!
Q. Do you do home repairs?

A. NeighborWorks® Rochester offers financing for home repairs.  But we, ourselves, don’t do them. We help to get the customer an estimate of all the work and to solicit bids from qualified contractors, so that virtually, any type of home repair the customer needs/wants to get done, our contractors can do!

Do you have a question that you don’t see here? Ask in the comments or give us a call at 585.325.4170 and one of our experts will answer any other questions you may have.

Why is Energy Efficiency Important? Start with Saving Money.

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Did you know that making a few small adjustments in your home toward energy efficiency can potentially lead to hundreds of dollars in savings each year? For instance, if electronic devices remain plugged in while turned off, they continue to use energy. According to Energy.gov, a power strip that turns on and off when devices are not in use can save up to $100 a year alone! A “smart power strip” is an easy investment that will pay for itself and save you money.

Bigger investments include replacing appliances that are 10 years or older with new, energy efficient models. These machines work better and use fewer resources, like electricity and water. Thinking about purchasing a new refrigerator? ENERGY STAR has a “Refrigerator Retirement Calculator” that allows you to estimate what your savings will be by replacing your current refrigerator.

To get a better understanding of your home’s energy performance, schedule an energy assessment (also referred to as an energy audit).

Click here for the Refrigerator Retirement Calculator. 

Sources:

Energy.gov:  http://energy.gov/articles/resolve-save-energy-year

ENERGY STAR: https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator