Money Tips & Tools
Here are helpful ways to


Do you know where your money is going? Do you keep track of what you spend? Do you tell your money how it will be utilized?
Many of us have never had a positive relationship with our money and unfortunately, we have had no control over our finances. Well, you are in luck! Project GREEN is here to help you get into the driver’s seat and regain control!Project GREEN has developed a budget spreadsheet to assist you with “Knowing Your GREEN.”Budgeting helps you identify the amount of GREEN you have coming in. You are able to track your expenses and visually see where your GREEN is going and how much is left over each month. A budget spreadsheet is a very helpful tool used for your finances and now that you can see your GREEN, you will be able to set SMART goals, make a plan, adjust your habits, and gain control!

When was the last time you pulled your credit report? Your credit report is a great way to identify your debt to income ratio and will help you get a better grasp on your GREEN. This will also be a very important tool to help you set your budgeting goals by tallying up your debt and making a realistic plan for how to gain financial freedom. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once per year. You are able to request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the only website that is government authorized to provide you with free copies of your credit report.

You can also contact the credit agencies directly if you have any questions or if you need to dispute information in your report.


Do you qualify for programs in Grand Rapids to help you find the money you didn’t even know you have?

  • 2-1-1 Programs: KENT COUNTY TAX CREDIT COALITION[Click Here]
    • Every year millions of dollars in tax refunds and credits go unclaimed by those who need them the most. Through 15 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout our community, the Kent County Tax Credit Coalition helps working individuals and families achieve economic success through free tax services and financial literacy courses.
  • DO YOU KNOW ALICE? Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed[Click Here]
    • Standing for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet. ALICE households earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Combined with the number of people living at or below the poverty line, ALICE equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs.

Did you know that the State of Michigan has a site where your GREEN can be sitting unclaimed waiting to be found?
Visit this site Unclaimed GREEN-State of Michigan and FIND YOUR GREEN!

  • 50 percent toward fixed costs. Fixed costs are expenses that don’t vary and that you must pay every month. Rent, student loans, car payments, utilities, gym memberships, Netflix, and tuition all fall into this category.
  • 20 percent toward financial goals. Your goals might include paying off high-interest debt, saving for retirement, or creating an emergency fund.
  • 30 percent toward discretionary spending. Flexible spending includes things like groceries, gas, eating out, entertainment, hobbies, and so on.
Here are helpful ways to
  • Check out movies from GRPL or KDL. Save $1.50/wk vs RedBox. 52 wks = $78/yr
  • Kids Eat Free @ 616 Sports Lounge, Mon & Tues. Save $4.99 per meal. 1 time per month x 12 mths = $59.88/yr.
  • If you live in the city of GR, recycle everything that you can! It’s free. 96 gallon trash dump is $7.15 per dump. 96 gallon recycle cart is free. Saving $7.15 x 26 weeks = $185.90/yr; 52 weeks = $371.80.
  • Use your garbage disposal instead of throwing food in the trash. Save about 1 bag per month = approx. $1.50 month x 12 mths = $18/yr.
  • Children’s Museum: Thursday Family Night is $1.75 per person; EBT Card discount is $1.75. Regular fee is $8.50. Save $6.75 x 2 people = $13.50 x 12 months = $162/yr.
  • Purchase refurbished computer hardware from CompRenew.
  • Go to Kent County Tax Credit Coalition for free tax preparation at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or AARP sites.
  • Use the envelope system – give (10%), save (10%), and spend (80%). This doesn’t account for long-term investing.
  • LMCU Max Checking pays 3% each month if you have direct deposit, use your debit card 10 times, and check your online banking 4 times per month. On a $1,000 balance, that is $30/year.
  • Instead of going to payday lenders, sell unwanted household items on Facebook groups: Grand Rapids MI Garage Sale; Grand Rapids Online Garage Sale; or Kentwood Online Garage Sale.
  • Home Repair Services Fix-It School. Save money on household repairs by learning to do it yourself.
  • Savings/ Checking Account Deals
  • Baxter Community Center – In collaboration with the Kent County Tax Credit Coalition and AARP, Baxter’s Marketplace offers a Free Tax Preparation Program to low-income families and individuals in Kent County. Thousands of volunteer hours make this service possible.
    • TRUTH Card – A New Way to Pay
      • The Truth Card lets you do all the spending you normally do–like paying bills[1] or shopping in stores and online.
      • There’s no credit check,[2] no activation fee, and no minimum balance.
      • Give back to yourself with The Truth Card via the rewards program.
      • Earn Cash Back – Choose Payback Rewards offers and receive cash back from many of your everyday purchases.
      • Savings Account – Set aside money by enrolling in the optional tiered-rate Savings Account.

Baxter Center

  • Dental Care[Click Here] – Baxter’s Community Dental Office offers high-quality dental care for those that might otherwise be unable to afford it. Services are exclusive to those without any form of dental insurance (including Medicaid/Medicare). Baxter’s Dental offers examinations, cleanings, fillings, extractions, and X-rays.
Here are helpful ways to


How do I grow my money when I don’t have any?

How do I have my money make me money?

If you’ve asked yourself this question, then look no further than below at the great tips you can use to GROW YOUR GREEN!

Complete the challenge and receive $1,378.00!!!!

Click here to download the challenge

BLOOM $4 to $79 a month $0 VISIT BLOOOM


Acorns is an app that puts your spare change to work by tracking your spending, rounding up your purchases, and automatically investing the difference between the rounded total and what you actually spent.


Robinhood is another investing app that allows you to quickly start playing with investments without requiring a lot of money upfront. You can buy and trade US-listed stocks and ETFs and pay $0 on commission.


Understandably, you may be interested in finding an investment app that strikes a balance between the simplistic Acorns and the more complicated Robinhood. Enter “robo-advisor” platform Betterment.

Forex Hero

Price: Free


Forex Hero is a fun little simulation game where you attempt to make money by trading currencies. It uses actual strategies and information about trading stocks to educate you on how it’s done. It’s a unique and fun way to dive into the world of investment. You’ll learn about things like trends, trading principles, and even some trivia on the finance world. It also has some pretty good, if basic, strategies that it’ll teach you. It’s unlike most investment apps, but it’s great for beginners.

FRED Economic Data

Price: Free


FRED Economic Data is one of the most useful investment apps out there. It has 40,000 data sets from 37 regional, national, and international sources. You can use this information to see how companies have done in the past and look for trends. There are a variety of browsing options. You can also save your favorites once you find them. It’s a free app with a lot of useful information.


Price: Free with in-app purchases


investment.com has one of the most popular investment apps out there. The name of the app isn’t great but don’t let that fool you. It boasts to give real-time information on over 40,000 financial instruments traded in over 70 global stock markets. There is also live charts you can follow, news you can read, analysis by experts, and information on emerging markets. This is a great way to get some information quickly and effectively.