Participant Profile: Brooke Erwin, Boothbay

 

Photo of Brook Erwin

Brooke Erwin, Boothbay

Q. How did you learn about New Ventures Maine?

 

 I learned about New Ventures Maine through the Boothbay Region Community Navigator. I met with the Community Navigator staff about a year ago because I was struggling financially and I wanted to learn how better to manage my money, as well as find ways in which I could save money for purchasing a home.
 
I was given a list of resources to contact, one of which was Erica-Quin Easter in New Ventures Maine’s Midcoast Center. I contacted her by telephone and set up an appointment to meet with her in her office in Brunswick.

 

Q. What led you to enroll in the My Money Works class and the Rainy Day Savings program? 

 
New Ventures Maine aided me in checking my credit report and drawing up a budget. I also learned many valuable bits of information about debt/income ratios, how to establish good credit, and many other useful avenues I could take or resources I could utilize.
 
One resource was the My Money Works class, which met once weekly over the course of a month. There were many other people in the class I attended that were facing the same issues I was. This was awesome because it is so comforting to see and to hear that you are not alone when it comes to having trouble with budgeting and also with having bad credit.
 

Q. What did you learn in the class, and how did it help you in moving forward with your money?

 
In class, I mostly took away understanding debt to income ratio and its relation to being a home buyer. We discussed credit and how it works – ways to earn good credit without having to use credit cards.
 
I also learned many ways to conserve my money and to honestly see clearly where it all was going and how much of it was available for other things that I desired, by keeping better track and being more conservative with my money. We were given many tools to help write down and keep a record of spending.
 
It is amazing to always feel like you’re broke – but then ultimately to find out that actually you have money to spare after calculating it all out.
 

Q. What advice would you give others who are following in your footsteps and working to get better control over their personal finances?

 
I would have others not be nervous about being alone in this situation or admitting they need help. So many others are in the same boat.
 
I would definitely recommend sitting down with one of the New Ventures Maine counselors one-on-one. I found this so valuable.
 
I would also encourage people to take the My Money Works class. It was wonderful, and the class size was so small that we all got to really ask our own questions and discuss as a group.
 

Q. What are your hopes and dreams for the future, and how will the My Money Works class and 1-on-1 financial coaching help you achieve those goals?

 
My goal has always been to purchase my own home. I got in what I thought was such a financial mess with bad credit and debt that I thought it was impossible.
 
Through meeting individually with New Ventures Maine and taking the My Money Works class, I was able to see that not all was lost. Actually, there are many resources and opportunities out there for people in my boat to help pull you out of the hole.
 
Also, I learned there are things that I myself could do to help repair my credit and pay off my debt – with a little education and direction from people with real understanding of how ‘My Money Works’!