Credit is an important factor in everyones life and will make all the difference as to whether or not you can apply for a credit card, obtain a home loan, car loan, personal loan, etc. Therefore, many people care for their rating and take the time to manage their monthly obligations to avoid any consequences. However, the fact that the housing market tanked and unemployment is at all time highs, many individuals have found themselves knee deep in debt and cannot seem to find a way out.
This is where credit counseling comes to play.
Credit counseling or debt counseling is something you can actually do yourself. Go to the library and scour books on personal finance and budgeting. Check out websites that give upfront advice on financial stability, cash flow principles, personal budget worksheets and the like. There are also sites that offer free budget software to help you monitor and keep track of your spending, remind you to pay your bills, even assist you with your tax credits and payment schedules.
You can actually negotiate with your creditors directly by calling them and asking them for a lower interest rate yourself. If you take the time to research debt management and how to go about your budget without failing to pay on your current obligations, you may be able to gain enough knowledge to negotiate with your creditors on your own.
However, if you’ve already exhausted this avenue and you are still at a loss, overwrought and stressed because you are probably knee-deep in debt, there are available agencies that provide free credit counseling or debt counseling. There are those that charge for the services but there are still some out there that provide the service for free or at a lower cost and these are normally government agencies or public entities and foundations.
One non-profit agency that we have found very reputable is Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS). This agency does a great job helping consumers with their credit and debt problems. They will educate their clients as best as possible on how to manage their current obligations while trying to fix past problems.
If the credit in question involves housing or real estate, try contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development Counseling Office nearest you. You may be able to ask them for counsel in your other credit problems too. Contact a local community center, universities, military bases, or credit unions and inquire there. Either they can provide you with the counseling themselves or they may have ideas and where to get the free counseling that you need. Although the bases and credit unions may only provide services to members, they may be able to point you to the right direction. Some community centers may offer finance or money management short classes for free or for a cheap price and you might want to avail of that.