Welcome to Tru Direction ... our mission is to help you find your way to financial fitness with links to helpful tools & websites.   And we are now sponsoring a new program -- Plus Banzai -- an award winning online financial literacy program used by millions of teachers & students around the country. Now available to you -- to experience in the comfort of your home or wherever you use your computer.

-  Tru Direction is providing Plus Banzai FREE for all children, teens, and adults.

-  Choose from three courses: Banzai Junior (8- 12), Teen (13-18), or Plus (18 and older)

Plus Banzai teaches budgeting, saving for a rainy day, and navigating adult financial dilemmas.

Learn what you've been missing ...everyone has financial blind spots -- get better at those subjects with our content library.
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Scholarship applications due by March 31, 2019

Tru Direction, Inc. will award $500 to $2,500 per qualified applicant (maximum $10,000 per calendar year) as determined by the Scholarship Committee. Scholarships may be used for any related expenses for college, university, trade school or technical school.  Applicants must be attending school a minimum of 9 hours, or the equivalent, per semester; however, preference is given to those attending at least 12 hours.

For more information on who is eligible for the scholarship, please refer to the application instructions and read the FAQ's to assist you in filling out and submitting your application by March 31, 2019.

7 Financial resolutions for 2019 to ensure a healthy financial life

The New Year 2019 has come. People are done with all the celebrations and fun. And now many are busy checking credit card statements or other pending bills. Since many people had planned their holidays on their credit cards, they now have to repay the bills in full and within time. Remember, payments also need to be made on other household bills. Otherwise, painful debts will grow and rotten this New Year's financial life. If the bills are huge and there's no money to pay them off, then consolidating bills should be considered.

If you had solid savings in hand, then you may not fall into this kind of financial trouble just after the festive season is over.

Don’t worry! You can make yourself holiday ready for the next Year! But to do so, you have to be financially organized from now on. This is the perfect time for taking a look at some financial resolutions. 

Formulate a budget and start following it

By creating a budget and including all your financial goals, you will be able to achieve them in the long run. Address your basic expenses, put enough money into a savings account and write down everything that you spend in a particular month. Save receipts so that you can cross-check your statements whenever needed. If you can’t manage a budget spreadsheet, then use a free budgeting app to experience hassle-free budgeting.

Stick to the budget and make changes time to time

Make sure you stick to the budget throughout the year. It is very natural that someone who doesn't stick to a budget will be subject to financial worries since they will have no track on their monthly income. If you’re not sure about where your money is going, you can’t save money. Also, revisit the budget and make changes as per your requirement.

Pay your monthly bills on time

Pay your bills (utility, credit cards, and other debt payments) on time. When you’re using your credit cards, make sure you repay your bills in full and before the due date. Try to stay current with your payments so as to represent yourself as a responsible debtor. If you’re unable to manage your bills, then reduce your expenses so that you can avoid late payments or no payment charges. If you don't pay your monthly bills on time, it is easy to fall into serious debt.

Repay your debts as soon as possible

Getting rid of debt is important to ensure good financial health in coming years. If you have debts, then make sure you repay them as soon as possible. If you have huge debts, then making minimum payments is not enough. You have to follow a solid debt repayment strategy to get out of debt in a timely manner. If you have a good income, then you can follow the debt avalanche method. By following this method, you can get rid of your highest interest rate debts. If you are not able to manage your debts, then you should seek professional debt relief to help you structure a plan to repay your debts.

Review your credit score

When you’re using your credit cards, you should request the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian & TranUnion) provide you  credit reports annually. This will help you get a clear picture of your financial records. You should check your credit score to detect if they include any negative disputes. If you find any questionable issues, then ask your creditors or the credit bureaus to clear those listings. It will help you  build a good credit score.

Use cash as much as possible instead of credit cards

You should try to use cash as much as possible to avoid accumulating bills that you can’t afford to repay on time. Remember, you have to use credit cards responsively. If you use the cards to purchases things that you can’t afford with cash, then you will soon fall into credit card debts.

Thus, you can use cash to stay within your means. Also, when using credit cards, make sure you use only 25% of your credit limit. You shouldn't use an excessive amount of your credit limit -- that will increase your financial obligation unnecessarily.

Adopt healthy financial habits

Try to become a financially organized person in the coming year. Start practicing some good financial habits.

For example:

  • Eating at home and reduce visiting restaurants frequently
  • Living a frugal life
  • Setting aside a certain amount every month
  • Building an emergency fund
  • Growing your own food
  • Giving green gifts

Also, change the destructive behavioral practices that can drag you into the debt trap. If you use your credit cards as ATM cards, then you’re surely going to bury your head in the sand one day. Creditors are usually discontinuing the grace periods offered in a particular month and, therefore, the interest rates start accruing immediately.

Don’t forget to include your financial future in your budget plan now and think about your retirement days as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may need to stretch your working life to make ends meet. Your positive financial health depends on adhering to your budget and controlling your finances.

Contributed by:  Patricia Sanders, Financial Writer