Let’s just start by saying that when you contact a non-profit credit counseling agency, that call or visit is absolutely free and completely confidential. A reputable credit counseling agency will never charge for their consultation and advice. If you have to pay an upfront fee for a credit counseling session, don’t trust that company and look elsewhere.
When you contact a credit counseling agency, you will be advised of any information you need for your counseling session. You’ll be able to collect your financial documents and other pertinent information together, and receive professional and personal help either in-person, by telephone, or online using our intuitive online counseling system.
If you choose to do an in-person counseling session, a certified credit counselor will determine your net monthly income and ask you various questions that will help to estimate your total monthly expenses. Some expenses like the monthly rent or mortgage payment are easy to determine. Other expenses such as movie tickets, cigarettes, groceries and gifts can be more difficult to identify and keep track of. This is an important 1st step because it helps your credit counselor and/or the online credit counseling system verify all of your potential options to better manage your finances and get your debt under control as quickly as possible.
To get the most out of your free credit counseling session, it may be helpful for you to review any grocery, credit card, or ATM receipts that you have, examine your checkbook, and do a mental inventory of items you typically spend money on throughout the year. You have to consider all of your monthly expenses, but don’t forget about those irregular expenses such as real estate taxes, car inspections, etc.
After examining your monthly income and comparing it with your expenses, we’ll identify any shortfalls in your budget that you may have. During this 2nd phase of the credit counseling session, we will assist you in developing a balanced monthly spending plan. This is where the counseling and education really come in handy. You’ll learn about ways to make possible cut-backs each month to save money and other helpful advice. Your counselor will also recommend ways to increase your income, cut back on expenses, or even restructure some of your debts.
In addition, your credit counselor may refer you to other state and/or national resources that may be of service to you. Once you have received your budget and monthly spending-plan, you should review everything thoroughly and ask questions. You will also receive a customized Action Plan that shows your overall budget, as well as some helpful tips and suggestions for ways to save money and better manage the money you have now. There are educational links and resources listed in the Action Plan. You’ll also see some wonderful budgeting and money saving tips that are constantly being updated and added.
Once you have a solid understanding of your finances and where they stand currently, the next step will be to review some debt relief options. If appropriate, your credit counselor may recommend a Debt Management Program (DMP) through Advantage Credit Counseling Service. We’ll review what our Debt Management Program can offer you, and answer any questions. We will also review other debt relief options that might be a better fit for you.
We will never pressure you into anything or try to “sell” you on anything. The choice is ultimately up to you, but we can guide you thru the process and arm you with as much knowledge and information as possible. We’ve been helping people get out of debt since 1968, and we can definitely help you too.
Give us a call today! It’s free, confidential, and could really be beneficial for you. Call us toll-free at 866-699-2227 or visit us online at www.advantageccs.org