Dealing with Debt

The Truth About Debt And Credit Counseling

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How Did I End Up Here –

If you were to write a story or song about your financial status would it leave people reaching for a box of tissues? If so, you’re not alone. Many people across America have found themselves struggling with credit card debt. Part of the problem is the ease at which someone can fall into major credit card debt. It is so easy to fill out a credit card application online and start flashing the plastic all over town. However, the shambles debt leaves in its wake hardly make it worth the instant gratification that, at first, was so enticing.

Advantage CCS offers free consumer credit counseling services for anyone who is struggling with debt. Part of our services is to help you set up a game plan to help get you out of debt. This involves first creating a budget. This budget will take into consideration how to allocate your income towards your fixed expenses like housing and variable expenses like car repairs. After you create a budget, the next step is to see how much of your income can be used to pay down your debt.

This debt management plan can help keep you on track, but your credit counselor is trained to do much more than make budgets and pay off your creditors. They will speak with your creditors on your behalf to try and make your debts a little easier to repay. This can include getting the creditors to agree to reduce your interest rate, forgive your late payments, and waive any late or over-the-limit fees they might have hit you with.

Small Fees Add Up When You’re On A Budget –

Thanks to new regulations protecting consumers from unfair bank charges, banks are looking for ways to scrape up more cash. The most recent trend is charging consumers for a previously free checking account. Many banks are implementing these new fees for the use of their “free” checking accounts in the form of monthly maintenance and usage fees. Since many banks are making these changes to their fee schedules, it is important to consult with your bank about any changes that may affect your account. This will allow you to be aware of charges before they occur.

These fees range from a few dollars to upwards of $50 per month. If consumers are not careful and do not know what to watch out for, they could find themselves paying $300-$400 per year in checking account fees.

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Different banks are charging different fees that often depend on what type of checking account you have, and how much money you keep in your account. While some of these charges are unavoidable, some banks do make it possible to avoid this new service charge. This can include maintaining a certain balance and or utilizing direct deposit services. This is a bank’s way of rewarding you for doing business with them.

Look For Ways to Avoid Fees –

Looking for another way to avoid these extra fees? Many bigger banks are implementing this extra charge, so it can be beneficial to look into switching your banking to a smaller company. Many community banks are still offering free checking accounts, and have many other added benefits. Another option is to consider utilizing an online bank or look into using a credit union. Both of these options allow the opportunity to enjoy free checking accounts while enjoying the same benefits of traditional banking.

It is important to consult with your bank about any changes that may occur. You will also want to take a look at your current checking account, and make sure that you have the most appropriate type for your needs. If you have a checking account that requires a certain balance to be held, you may start seeing these new checking account fees. You may be able to switch to a different checking account that requires a smaller balance to be maintained. It is important to understand all regulations and terms of your checking account so that you avoid unwanted charges. If you stay educated, you can keep as much money as possible in your account. If you are on a budget and in debt, checking account fees are a luxury you can’t afford.

Credit Counseling and Debt Management Can Work –

If you are having trouble managing your debt there are resources to help you dig out of the hole you may find yourself in. Whether you have been in debt for a long time, or you just recently began struggling to pay your bills we can show you how to manage either small or large amounts of debt. We can walk you through each and every step of the process so that you can get the debt management plan you need in order to improve your future.

Debt is a scary thing, and as the bills begin to pile up, the problem may seem more and more helpless. When bill collectors start calling, you may cringe every time the phone rings, or you may just stop answering the phone altogether.

Investing in a credit counseling service is actually investing in your financial education and future. Our online credit counseling can help those who are struggling with debt understand how to budget properly based on income and expenses, how to avoid fees that are draining you of money, and how to handle bill collectors so that you can begin to repay your debt. Having professionals on your side will show you that you really can get out of debt if you are willing to hunker down and do some work.

Credit Counseling for Every Situation –

If you are confused about how to build, maintain, and use credit, our counselors can work with you, too. Talk to one of our certified credit counselors today so that you know how to gauge your current financial situation and learn how to ensure you have a budget and a repayment plan that will keep your debt from ever getting out of control in the first place. Credit counseling and debt management can truly work for anyone and there are so many benefits.

Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for AdvantageCCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.