Friday, April 24, 2015

Financial Literacy for All

Getting Started in Financial Literacy

Did you know that the month of April is National Financial Literacy Month? Priscilla Reed, Special Projects Coordinator at United Housing, Inc., shares her knowledge as a certified financial capability counselor in the following blog post.
Priscilla Reed, MBASpecial Projects Coordinator, United Housing, Inc.

With a background in foreclosure prevention, I help people save their homes using many different tools, but one of the most important tools is building a monthly budget. During my time at United Housing, I have found that the basic rules of budgeting and spending are the same at various levels of financial health. Because of this, I am able to communicate and help people from all walks of life. I encourage you to read on in order to see what I've included in the essentials of financial literacy. President Obama declared April Financial Literacy Month in 2011, saying, “I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.” (

It is very important to achieve and maintain financial solvency.  Being financially literate helps you build savings, improve credit and eliminate debt.  On the contrary, as I have seen with past clients, the absence of financial literacy can cause a consumer to build no savings, increase debt and develop poor credit.  In addition, it can negatively affect health and is a known cause of divorce. Now that we have looked at the pitfalls of lacking financial knowledge, let’s look at how we can better achieve it.
What Is Financial Literacy? 
Financial literacy is the ability to understand money and make sound monetary decisions. According Investopedia, financial literacy also "involves intimate knowledge of financial concepts like compound interest, financial planning, the mechanics of a credit card, advantageous savings methods, consumer rights, time value of money, etc.” (, 2015.)
Get To Know Your Spending Habits
The first step of being financially sound is tracking your spending, which can also be one of the most challenging tasks.  It is very important to know what is earned and what is spent in order to increase savings and avoid debt.  How do you avoid overspending?  Create a budget.  If you don’t like the word budget then develop a “spending plan.”  A spending plan allows you to track what you spend and save. Yes, savings is an expense. If you treat it as an expense, then you will be sure to pay yourself.  Once you’ve established a budget or spending plan, you must periodically check it to ensure it's functioning properly and make necessary adjustments. 
Identify Needs vs Wants
On your road to becoming more financially literate and healthy, be mindful of the differences between needs and wants. Before making a purchase, ask yourself, “Is this a need or a want?”  You may have to step back from a purchase to think about it.  Although habits are hard to break, it can be done. It may take a few months to get into a good financial pattern and reap the benefits, but the important thing is to stay focused and determined.
Remember, no matter where you are in the process of financial literacy, the ultimate goal is to become financially capable.  National Financial Literacy Month is a great time to start!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Open House at Wolf River Bluffs Development

Join us for our Open House at our Wolf River Bluffs development in Frayser on Sunday, April 26 from 2-4 p.m. Located close to Midtown and just eight minutes from downtown, this development allows access to wooded parkland, providing a rural feeling in an urban setting. Starting at $129,000, these MLGW EcoBUILD certified homes feature an eco-friendly design with solar generated electricity, which can save the homeowner up to $50 per month in utility costs.

During the event, Crye-Leike Realtor Jimmie Hopson will be on-site to give tours of the model home, and Sheila Middleton with Magna Bank will also be on-site to pre-qualify buyers interested in these units. Arrive early because the first 10 attendees will receive Kroger gift cards, and all attendees will get a free t-shirt and complimentary refreshments!

This development is currently in Phase One and consists of 10 homes with open floor plans, real hardwood floors and large lot sizes. These units feature three bedrooms, two baths, a two-car garage and a separate formal dining room, great room and eat-in kitchen.

Not sure you're able to own a home due to financial reasons? Let us help you with your credit and provide you with tools to become a homeowner by enrolling in our free Homebuyer Education program. Learn how Tamika Walker, our first homeowner in Wolf River Bluffs, used our free services to purchase her first home.

At United Housing, we believe that Home Matters, and we look forward to meeting you at our open house to begin your path to homeownership. For more information, call (901) 272-1122 or visit

View images of the home's interior below.

 Each Wolf River Bluffs home features Energy Star appliances

The homes are MLGW EcoBUILD certified 

Living room and dining room feature real hardwood floors

 Universal design throughout the home and high ceilings in the living room

Covered backyard patio

Two-car garage and solar panels by Sharp Manufacturing

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Support United Housing's ioby Campaign!

We'd like to share with you information on our crowdfunding campaign for our NeighborScape Demonstration Garden. Our ioby campaign will fund the construction of the garden to encourage financial empowerment through learning how to budget for and maintain household lawns and gardens. This garden will provide the tools for individuals to create a safe and healthy outdoors for their family and neighborhoods. 

NeighborScape is meant to be a place of community building and learning, where our United Housing community can learn strategies for growing foods and herbs, as well as master low-cost practices for maintaining their lawns.

The gardening curriculum will be a no-cost add-on to our Homebuyer Education class, which teaches the basics of obtaining a mortgage loan. NeighborScape is free, optional and open to all Homebuyer Education customers.
Designed by Yasmine Al-Jafari, Dual Major Architecture and Interior Design, Department of Architecture at the University of Memphis

Help us make this vision possible! Give today and get your photo added to the supporters of NeighborScape! Call us 901-728-6937 to learn more and give online here.