Learning to live on a fixed income can sometimes be a difficult transition to make. Whether you’ve gone from 2 incomes down to 1, are faced with recent job loss, or maybe retirement is the cause. Establishing a budget can help identify the resources you have to access, the responsibilities you have to pay and the expenses you sometimes don’t realize you have.
Advantage Credit Counseling Service, Inc. has counseled thousands of consumers over the past 44 years. We’ve found that most consumers struggle with budgeting. This is why the Agency developed a free, online budgeting tool that will benefit all consumers, whether or not they are struggling financially. This free tool can be found at www.onlinebudgetadvisor.com.
Budgeting can be an overwhelming task. It can be a challenge to identify your financial obligations, monthly expenses and total your assets and liabilities. Your monthly budget should include the following expense categories: housing, food and clothing, transportation, insurance and medical and other expenses. In addition, you should also take into account your savings and retirement funds, all assets and liabilities, and creditor information too. It’s a lot of information to consider.
Online Budget Advisor takes the guesswork out of budgeting. It provides you with a comprehensive format to follow that allows you to easily input your budget information. The system analyzes your information and develops a complete budget analysis, determines net worth and provides a customized action plan that includes money management tips, suggestions, and resources.
Getting started is super easy. Simply go to the website and complete the registration process. The Agency will not contact you unless you request it. Also, there is no personal information, like social security numbers or account numbers collected. The system is designed specifically to benefit the user and make developing a budget an easier process. You can also log in and out of the system at your convenience.
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Once your budget information is inputted, the system develops a customized action plan. It uses your information to make specific money management suggestions, like cutting back on grocery costs and provides information on resources that might be available to you. For example, based on your inputted income, you may qualify for utility assistance. The action plan details the assistance programs and provides links to help you learn more about what is available. If the action plan suggests you cut back on some costs, like your grocery bill, it will detail cost cutting and money saving tips.
After you review the action plan, you have the opportunity to use some of the education received and create a different budget scenario. Maybe you have learned how to shop smarter and believe you will be able to reduce grocery costs. Or, you have learned about a prescription drug program that will help save you money each month on prescriptions. The proposed budget feature allows you to create “what if” scenarios that help you figure out the best way to balance your budget. Your proposed budget can be modified as many times as you wish.
If working online isn’t for you, the Agency’s certified credit counselors are also available by phone to help you set up a budget. Advantage CCS can be reached at 1-866-699-2227. The free budgeting tool can be found at www.onlinebudgetadvisor.com