Money Makeover

Money Makeover: Transform Your Finances

Money Makeover

Hello and welcome. We know why you’re here. As hectic as life is, you’re refusing to go another day with chaotic, frustrating finances. If you’re ready to do the work, we promise you’ll see and feel your life transformation as you navigate through these exercises.

Feel free to peruse the topics a bit, but don’t be intimidated by all that lies ahead.  Your transformation isn’t meant to happen overnight but rather, like the path to any type of fitness, is the result of simple, intentional efforts that evolve into regular habits.

We’ve designed each task to take less than an hour, but the ebb and flow of your money may mean that your end goal isn’t achieved for months or even years. With a Money Fit Makeover plan in action, you can be assured that with every step, your finish line draws nearer, and with it, the life you’ve hoped for.

Money Makeover

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Creating a Financial Overview

We know how it feels to open bank accounts when you come of age, then you add more accounts as you finance cars or take advantage of a new credit card. Then comes the student loan accounts, and lastly you have retirement plans. Soon, you’ve lost track of how much money you have and where not to mention how much debt you owe and to who. The stability you’ll feel when you reacquaint yourself with your whole picture will amaze you. It may seem overly simplified, but you need to trust the process. Here’s how to get started with varying levels of intensity:

For Beginners:

Before you start tracking down information, first decide where you’ll store it. You may consider using a notebook, some type of spreadsheet, or a board that you hang on a wall in a private place in your home. We suggest somewhere that allows you to see everything all at once.

Next, create a three-column, twelve-row chart for every account you can think of, whether old or new, closed or open. If there’s a balance, include it in your overview, even if the balance is negative.

Now, write the account name above each chart. Then, label the top of each column with the words, “Payment,” “Balance,” and “Date.”

Consider placing your charts within three distinct areas: checking and savings, debts, and investments. For a visual idea, refer to the summarized image below:

Money Makeover

Your checking and savings section should be filled with all assets or positive accounts – money you have access to, not money owed.

The second section, debts, should identify all debts including loans, credit card balances, medical payment plans, collections, store cards, etc.

Your last section will consist of money that is hands-off such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, stock portfolios, or pension plans.

Pro Tip: Use nicknames as identification instead of account numbers. You wouldn’t want all your sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

From here, you’ll want to obtain and fill in up-to-date balances and information in the first line of each chart for each account. Voilà! Your overview is finished! You should now be able to identify what areas you might want to improve.

Kick it Up a Notch:

For a more intermediate approach, you can track your progress over the next year. Each month, ideally on the same day, update your account balances in the remaining lines. Over time you can watch your helpful accounts grow and hurtful accounts shrink as you carefully guide your money to your goals.

Money Makeover

Optimize Performance: Give Your Income Direction

Now that you have a financial overview, you are likely considering what kind of changes you’d like to make if you could. Certainly, you are hoping to beef up certain account balances while eliminating certain others entirely. Obviously, the common factor in accomplishing these feats is extra money! So, the question is, where can you find some?

Down the line you might consider picking up more hours or responsibilities at work, getting a temporary part-time job, or switching careers to something more lucrative. However, for this exercise, we are going to make the most of what you already have.

Part 1

We’ll start by weighing your income verse expenses. First, write down your monthly household income listing the source and amount. This might include a partner or spouse. It may be from employment, unemployment, social security, retirement-related income, dividends, real estate, or any other source that fuels your bank account during the month.

Second, write down all your expenses, listing their description and amount. It may be easiest to organize them by categories like those that follow:

  • Housing and Utilities
  • Includes rent or mortgage, gas, electricity, water, trash, sewer, etc.
  • Food
  • Includes groceries and supplies, treats, bag lunches, etc.
  • Transportation
  • Includes bus fares, car payments, gas, parking or toll road passes, maintenance, etc.
  • Insurance
  • Includes home, car, health, life, etc.
  • Family
  • Includes clothing, extracurricular activities, haircuts, beauty services, etc.
  • Entertainment
  • Includes subscriptions for movie and TV streaming, cable or satellite, cinema tickets, dining out, outings to venues, shopping, etc.
  • Debt Repayment
  • Includes credit cards, payday or personal loans, student loans, medical or collections repayment plans, etc.
  • Miscellaneous
  • Include school supplies and tuition, pet costs, gift-giving, etc.

Once fully listed, add up all your expenses. Subtract this amount from the sum of your income. This will reveal what money you have to work with. If you find your balance in the negative, consider the areas where you may be able to cut back.

Either way, these results should give you an idea of how much money you can squeeze out of your budget to re-purpose for repaying debts, building savings and security, or getting a little more lasting enjoyment out of life.

Feel free to take a break before moving on to part 2 or come back to it the next time you can.

Part 2

The next step is essential in your Money Fit Makeover. It’s great that you now know how much money is left over, but in the follow-up exercise, you’ll find out when this money is available to use. This is also referred to as cash flow.

The process of tracking cash flow might remind you of the days of filling out a checkbook account register. If this isn’t ringing a bell, dig up your checkbook and skim through the last few pages. This section of the booklet was once used to calculate your new balance when you either made a deposit or a withdrawal or purchase.

You’ll be doing the same kind of adding and subtracting in this exercise, only you’ll be referring to your main (or “rotating”) account’s transaction history.

The easiest way to start determining your cash flow is to figure out what amount on average you start with on the first day of each month. This will vary for everyone depending on where paydays and bills fall. There isn’t a right answer, so long as the number isn’t negative.

From here, you’ll want to list every expense up until your next regularly occurring deposit, such as a paycheck. Subtract these expenses from your initial balance. What’s the difference? Be sure to note it in its own column. What can the purposeful use of that money accomplish for you?

Continue on with your calculation adding your inflow of income to your previous balance and then subtract the next set of bills that occur before you are paid again or otherwise receive income. Complete this process until you reach the end of the month. Looking back, you should be able to gather from your notes, the best times to siphon off your excess money for more intentional use. Nail down what these amounts are and save the number for activities later on in your Money Fit Makeover.

Money Makeover

Play by a Budget: Sideline Excessive Spending

It’s great to open up financial conversations with friends and family, but it’s never a good idea to assume that their lifestyle or budget is right for you. Your financial situation is unique to your income, expenses, and values.

To begin this exercise, print out any bank statements that record your spending for the month. Go through it line by line and assign each expense a category. For ideas on categories, refer back to the previous section under Income.

Once all spending has been accounted for, find the total amount spent on each category.

Simple Budget Calculator
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Not required, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Your answer here must be your personal reason for budgeting. This is what will motivate you to create and live by this spending plan. Examples include: Buy a home; Stop collection calls; Qualify for an apartment
AFTER Taxes. Include state assistance or nonprofit help you receive.
Monthly Contribution to short-term savings and long-term investments
Do NOT include dining or ordering out
Mortgage/rent, repairs, landscaping...
Heating, Cooling, Water, Sewer, Trash, Cell Phone, Internet...
Average monthly loan payment, insurance, maintenance, repairs, registration, gas...
Tickets, memberships, hobbies...
Average out-of-pocket healthcare related
Streaming, landscaping, cleaning, car washes...
Student loan(s), credit cards, medical debts... but NOT home or vehicle
Any monthly expense not identified above

Your Estimated Monthly Balance is Balanced

At the end of the month, your balance appears to be EXACTLY BALANCED.

If you don't have any money in saving, then this budget projects you will be living paycheck-to-paycheck. The slightest bump in your financial road could cause trouble.

We recommend you consider the following:

  • Earn additional income
  • Cut some spending
  • Do a bit of both

Your Estimated Monthly Balance is Positive

At the end of the month, you should have this much money left over:

Consider the following ways to use it:

  • Save more
  • Invest more
  • Pay down debts
  • A Combination of the 3 options above 

Your Estimated Monthly Balance is Negative

Your Estimated Monthly Balance

At the end of the month, you will likely have a SHORTFALL of this much money:


Consider the following ways to adjust your budget:

  • Earn additional income
  • Cut some spending
  • A Bit of Both
Additional Assistance Is Available
Please contact me about a program (not a loan) to pay down my consumer debts FASTER, and at LOWER interest rates with my same creditors, and generally at LOWER monthly payments in 5 years or less. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit credit counseing agency, we have helped tens of thousands of consumers annually since our founding in 1996.

Contact Information

Do any of your results surprise you? Last-minute, impulse, or unrestricted spending can often add up to more than you would think. Take what you’ve learned and create a plan (or budget) for next month.

Some areas you might consider monitoring closer include coffee runs, groceries, shopping, alcohol, dining out, tobacco usage, vaping, etc. Curbing hard-set habits takes time, so it’s perfectly reasonable to only cut 5%-10% the first time around. Continue to do so until you feel your budget category is as lean as it needs to be.

To finish, jot down all your monthly expenses by category and note what you aim to spend on them in the coming month. Review this budget every few days in your first month so you’ll know if you’re staying on target. As you make a conscious effort to alter your spending, it will eventually become second nature and you’ll soon feel confident in the way you manage your money.

Money Makeover

Shed that Debt

No one needs to tell you how stressful debt can be. It seems we’ve all been there. One of the best things you can do for not only your financial wellness but also your physical and mental health is to pledge to get and stay out of debt for good. If your credit-related bills have begun to weigh on you, take this moment to research the following debt management options and decide which solution is best for you:

Pay On Your Own

You can find detailed instructions about how to use the Debt Avalanche, Debt Landslide, Debt Snowball, Debt Cascade, or a combination of these methods to whip your debt into shape in the Money Fit Academy.

Debt Consolidation Loan or Balance Transfer Credit Card

These two tools work similarly. Essentially, you’ll pay off your old debt and consolidate many credit or loan accounts into one new account. The main reason anyone would do this is to simplify their repayment process while at least attempting to secure better repayment terms, such as a lower interest rate. If you chose this method, you would need to be sure you can afford the payment and abide by the set timeline. Additionally, you want to make sure you don’t run the balances of your paid-off accounts back up after consolidating them. Pay them off and either cut them up or close them down.

Debt Management Program

Sometimes associated with credit counseling, debt management gives guidance and structure to help clients repay their debt in a more comfortable way. Look for a program that is low-cost and delivers multiple benefits. You may want to ask about lower interests, waived late and over-limit fees, mediation between the client and creditors, and a single, consolidated monthly payment. These concessions often give households the advantage they need to begin surmounting their debt.


Before starting any legal process, consult a certified credit counselor to see if your debt can be remedied with other solutions. Bankruptcy is a drain on emotions and your credit rating. If there is any chance you can reconcile your situation by negotiating with creditors and practicing a bit more self-discipline, the effort will be worth the outcome.

If bankruptcy does become your final option, you will need to meet with an approved credit counseling agency for a budget briefing anyway. This is why we recommend meeting a counselor from Money Fit first.

As you wade through debt repayment, remember that with a plan in place, this uncomfortable phase will come to end. You can look forward to re-purposing this part of your budget for bigger and better things in the future.

Money Makeover

Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Set Meaningful Goals

While remarkably beneficial, the exercises leading up to this point will never be described as fun. Cheers to sticking it out anyway because this is where your Money Fit Makeover gets exciting!

Your more sensible goals, like paying off debt, may have brought you here, but we believe you deserve to achieve your more exciting goals as well. When it comes down to it, good financial health will mean very little if it’s not providing real-life fulfillment. So, this is the part where you plan to accomplish the things you care about.

As is most often the case, let’s start with a list. Freely write what comes to mind when you envision your dream life. Include necessary things like being debt-free, having an emergency fund, securing your retirement, but also giving yourself permission to acknowledge what you desire most. Gain some inspiration from the list below:

  • Fully Funding a Hobby
  • Moving
  • Buying a Second Property
  • Shifting Careers
  • Ability to Be More Charitable
  • Build Generational Wealth
  • Owning a home
  • Taking a Yearly Vacation
  • Funding Children’s College
  • Buying a Newer Car
  • Live on a Single Income
  • Seeing a Bucket List Sight
  • Related Articles

Essential to this exercise, you’ll need to prioritize these goals from most to least important, taking into consideration the timeline in which they can be achieved.

The next part will take some careful thought. You’ll want to take the amount of excess money that you calculated in the earlier exercise on income and expenses and divide it between your top goals.

If you are paying on a debt, the amount you assign may be determined by the minimum amount due every month. If you are paying it back on your own, you will also want to pay more than you are required in order to get ahead of accumulating interest.

Whatever is leftover can be divided as desired. As an example, one might be working toward five separate goals. For example, they might include paying off student loans, paying off a personal loan, building an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, and contributing to retirement. This individual has $750 in excess each month. According to their priorities, this is how they might divide the amount between their goals:

  • Student loans (minimum plus extra): $150
  • Retirement (3% of income): $150
  • Emergency Fund: $100
  • Vacation Fund: $50
  • Personal Loan (minimum plus extra): $300

Note: It’s recommended to contribute between 10% and 15% toward your retirement monthly. However, if that seems impossible at this point in time, work your way up to that amount little by little.

Now that you’ve assigned your extra money a purpose, you can take a breather. When ready, move on to the next step in the Money Fit Makeover.

Money Makeover

Pump Up Savings: Automate with Purpose

When you set up an automated transfer to your savings, you are making a commitment. Taking this action is an effective way to work toward the goals you identified in Step 5.

To accomplish what you’ve set out to do, you may want to set up one or more new, separate savings accounts. This will make your savings process easier and more organized. You can research savings accounts at your current bank, or a local credit union, or browse online options. The objective should be to garner the highest Annual Percentage Yield (interest your money earns for you) while avoiding any monthly fees or cumbersome conditions.

You’ll want to make sure that whichever institution you choose, your accounts are secure and insured. You may also want to experiment with just a small amount of money to start as you get to know the service and its features. Savings is a part of your long-term plan to find a bank that is satisfactory in the most important ways.

Once this is settled, arrange a monthly automated transfer of your decided amount. Then sit back and watch your goals work themselves out. You will want to check back every month to update your financial overview from exercise one and ensure that nothing needs your attention. Each time you increase your income or finish paying off debt, consider funneling this newfound money toward one of your goals. Once you’ve taken this initiative, your accomplishments will start to snowball and you will begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Money Makeover

Invest in Your Health: Plan for Your Future

The last step in your Money Fit Makeover is fortifying your finances against misfortune and securing your future. Part of being or becoming a self-reliant adult is thinking not just about today, but tomorrow also. You’ll find that when you’ve protected yourself against what could happen tomorrow, you’ll spend far less energy worrying.

Part 1

If you haven’t already set up a short- and long-term emergency fund now is the time to nail those down. The former is for unexpected expenses such as a car repair, and the latter is for events such as job loss. Even if all you can set aside in these accounts is $10 a month, you will still be less burdened when an emergency occurs than if you save nothing at all.

Having a nice buffer saved increases your freedom of choice reduces daily expense-related stress and makes crises manageable. Panic will be a thing of the past. Take time now to consider how much you can save monthly and get a plan into motion. Let these questions guide your exercise:

  • What is my goal total for my emergency funds?
  • How much can I afford to save monthly for emergencies?
  • How quickly do I need to be able to access this money?
  • Where should I keep my emergency fund?
  • Should I set up an automated transfer to savings monthly?

Part 2

For one of your final exercises, research insurance opportunities. This might include health, dental, auto, business, and life insurance. You may want to consult your state’s Department of Health and Welfare, or your company’s HR representative, or ask your friends and family for recommendations.

Insurance may seem like an unnecessary luxury at times but can help save money if you find the best plans for your household. The key is to strike a balance between what’s affordable and what will most reduce your risk of taking on expenses you can’t handle upfront. Think of it as a trade-off: paying a little all along the way so that when the unexpected happens (and it WILL happen), your insurance can provide the funds to cover costs.

If you decide to add an insurance policy or two, be sure to adjust your financial overview with the monthly payment and reduce the total amount you have to distribute in your savings plan.

Money Makeover

Take some pride at this moment! You may not realize it just yet, but your new life is beginning now. We may have provided some guidance, but it was your effort that accomplished this feat. You did it and the power lies within you to continue your path toward a stable and fulfilling life. The best reward will be watching a better future unfold.

Be vigilant in the areas discussed, revisit your priorities from time to time, and when feeling a little lost, feel free to reach out for help. We’re happy to offer support all throughout your transformation.

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You hereby authorize and instruct Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS, dba Money Fit by DRS) and/or its assigned agents to:
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  • Request verifications of your income and rental history, and any other information deemed necessary for improving your housing situation (for example, verifying your annual property tax obligations and homeowner’s insurance fees)
Your credit report will be obtained from a credit reporting agency chosen by DRS. You understand and agree that DRS intends to use the credit report evaluate your financial readiness to purchase or rent a home and/or to engage in post-purchase counseling activities and not to grant credit. You understand you may ask any questions pertaining to your credit report. However, while DRS will review the information with you, the company is not able to furnish you with a copy of your credit profile. You hereby authorize DRS to share your information from your credit report and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the entities listed below to help DRS determine your viable financial options.
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  • Lenders
  • Mortgage Servicers
  • Property Management Companies
  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Social Service Agencies
Entities such as mortgage lenders and/or counseling agencies may contact your DRS counselor to evaluate the options for which you may be eligible. In connection with such evaluation, you authorize the credit reporting and/or financial agencies to release information and cooperate with your DRS counselor. No information will be discussed about you with entities not directly involved in your efforts to improve your housing situation. You hereby authorize the release of your information to program monitoring organizations of DRS, including but not limited to, Federal, State, and nonprofit partners for program review, monitoring, auditing, research, and/or oversight purposes. In addition, you authorize DRS to have your credit report pulled two additional times to conduct program evaluations. You also agree to keep DRS informed of any changes in address, telephone number, job status, marital status, or other conditions which may affect your eligibility for a program you have applied for or a counseling service that you are seeking. Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

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NOTE: This sheet is to inform new or returning clients about our services, records, fees, and limitations that may affect you as a consumer of our services. This form also discloses how we might release your information to other agencies and/or regulators. If you do not understand a statement, please ask a Debt Reduction Services (DRS) counselor for assistance.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS) has put into place policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of your nonpublic personal information. This notice explains our online information practices and how we use and maintain your information to conduct our financial education and credit counseling sessions and to fulfill information and question requests. This privacy policy complies with federal laws and regulations.

To provide our financial education and credit counseling services, we collect nonpublic personal information about you as follows: 1) Information we receive from you, 2) Information about your transactions with us or others, and 3) Information we receive from your creditors or a consumer reporting agency. We do not share this information with outside parties.

We use non-identifying and aggregate information to better design our website and services, but we do not disclose anything that could be used to identify you as an individual.

You hereby authorize DRS, when necessary, to share your nonpublic personal, financial, credit, and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the following entities in order to help DRS provide you with appropriate counseling or guide you to appropriate services: third parties such as government agencies, your lender(s), your creditor(s), and nonprofit housing-related and other financial agencies as permitted by law, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online. We limit access to your nonpublic personal information to our employees, contractors and agents who need such access to provide products or services to you or for other legitimate business purposes.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. complies with the privacy requirements set forth in the HUD housing counseling agency handbook 7610.1 (05/2010), including the sections 2-2 Mc, 3-1 H(2), 3-3, 5-3 F, and Attachment A.5. At all times, we will comply with all additional laws and regulations to which we are subject regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of individually identifiable information.

  1. Services: DRS provides the following housing-related services: counseling that includes Homeless Assistance, Rental Topics, Pre-purchase/Homebuying, and Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase); Education courses that include Financial literacy (including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding use of credit), Predatory lending, loan scam or other fraud prevention, Fair housing, Rental topics, Pre-purchase homebuyer education, Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop (including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners), and other workshops not listed above.

Please refer to for details of our services.

  1. Limits: Our services are limited to our normal weekday business hours. We do not provide individual counseling or education services after hours or on weekends, although our education courses are available 24/7.
  2. Fees: We do not charge fees for our financial management counseling and education. However, if you use them, you may have to pay for our Debt Management Program, Student Loan Counseling, Bankruptcy Certificate Services or certain financial education courses (homebuyer education, rental topics, fair housing, predatory lending, and post-purchase-non-delinquency including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners).
  3. Records: We maintain records of the services you receive, including notes about your progress or other relevant information to your work with us. You have the right to access and view your records by making a request to your counselor.
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Program Disclosure Form

Disclosure to Client for HUD Housing Counseling Services

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. and its financial education arm, Money Fit by DRS, offer the following housing counseling and educational services related to housing, personal finance, and bankruptcy certificates to consumers:
  • Housing Education Courses: DRS offers many online self-guided education programs classified as Financial, Budgeting, and Credit Workshops (FBC), Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops (FHW), Homelessness Prevention Workshops (HMW), Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops (NDW), Predatory Lending Education Workshops (PLW), Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops (PPW), and Rental Housing Workshops (RHW). These courses help participants increase their knowledge of and skills in personal finance, including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding the use of credit, as well as predatory lending, loan scams, and other fraud prevention topics, fair housing, rental topics, pre-purchase homebuyer education, non-delinquency post-purchase topics including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners, homeless prevention workshop, and other workshops not listed above relating to personal finance and housing. Course details are found below under “Housing Workshops.”
  • Home Equity Conversation Mortgage (HECM) Counseling (RMC): Via telephone and virtual platforms, we offer the required HECM counseling nationwide in addition to in-person counseling in Boise, Idaho. We also offer in-home counseling options in thirty counties across southern Idaho for an additional fee to cover our travel and additional staff time costs.
  • Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase) (FBC): Clients receive counseling and materials on the proper maintenance of their home and mortgage refinancing. Clients can find help and resources by phone, in our Boise office, or virtually on all topics related to stabilizing their long-term homeownership.
  • Services for Homeless Counseling (HMC): Clients receive phone, virtual, or in-person (Boise) counseling to evaluate their current housing needs, identify barriers to and goals for housing stability, establish a path to self-sufficiency, and connect with emergency shelters, income-appropriate housing, and/or other community resources (e.g. mental healthcare, job training, transportation, etc.).
  • Pre-Purchase Counseling (PPC): Clients receive counseling through the entire homebuying process. Assistance may involve creating a sustainable household budget, understanding mortgage options, building their credit rating, and putting together a realistic action plan to set and achieve homeownership goals.  Additionally, clients will receive materials and resources about home inspections and other homeownership topics relevant to successfully maintaining a home.
  • Rental Housing Counseling (RHC): Via phone, in-person appointments (Boise, ID), or virtual platforms, clients receive housing counseling relevant to renting, including rent subsidies from HUD or other government and assistance programs. Topics can also address issues and concerns having to do with fair housing, landlord and tenant laws, lease terms, rent delinquency, household budgeting, and finding alternate housing.
DRS also offers the following services:
  • A Debt Management Program (DMP) for consumers struggling to pay their credit cards, collections, medical debts, personal loans, old utility bills, and past-due cell phone accounts;
  • The Budget Briefing and Debtor Education Certificates that are required during the Bankruptcy filing process;
  • A Student Loan Repayment Plan Counseling and application service.

Relationships with Industry Partners

Through such services, DRS has established financial relationships with hundreds of banks, credit unions, and creditors such as American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Credit One, Discover, Synchrony, US Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, and others.

No Client Obligation

The client is not obligated to receive, purchase or utilize any other services offered by DRS or its exclusive partners to receive financial education or housing counseling services. Alternatives: As a condition of our counseling services, in alignment with meeting our client services goals, and in compliance with HUD’s Housing Counseling Program requirements, we may provide information on alternative services, programs, and products available to you, if applicable and known by our staff. Alternative DMP services include negotiating better repayment terms directly with your individual creditors, paying your debts as agreed, or, in extreme cases, filing for personal bankruptcy. Alternative credit and education services can be found through or the Jump$tart Clearinghouse of online financial education resources. Housing counseling alternatives can be found through HUD at
Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule


Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule


Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).