If you're in debt, you might be feeling overwhelmed and have no idea how you're going to crawl out of the hole you've gotten yourself into. That's where charities can help. A number of charities are set up to help people get control of their financial lives and back on solid ground.
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National Foundation for Credit Counseling
The NFCC's member organizations include nonprofits in all 50 states. Each community-based organization helps people who are suffering from debt issues. For example, one of the member organizations, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Oregon, offers free counseling that includes creating a spending plan, dealing with bankruptcy and how to obtain free credit reports from all three major agencies. A counselor meets with you one-on-one for a one-hour introductory meeting. The counselor will look at a financial worksheet that you fill out beforehand and come up with ways that you can decrease spending or change your lifestyle so you can more quickly pay off your debt.
InCharge Debt Solutions
This nonprofit organization gives free advice, specifically focusing on people who are in debt due to credit cards or other unsecured loans. Interested people can call InCharge or fill out an online form to get started. The service includes analyzing your credit report, income and expenses and offering a series of options for getting out of debt. One of these options involves consolidating your debts into one monthly amount in order to make them easier to pay. The organization talks with your creditors to lower your interest rates and eliminate late fees. The goal is to get you debt free in three to five years by having only one credit payment to make each month toward that goal.
Springboard Nonprofit Agency
Springboard, a nonprofit that runs Credit.org, has been around since 1972. It offers detailed online information about various debt-related concerns, such as housing, car financing, insurance, budgeting and identity theft. It offers credit counseling classes in California and via online distance learning to help people get out of debt. For example, if you have excessive student loans, then a class might recommend that you look into an income-based repayment option. With this plan, you would put a percentage of your income toward student loans every month, and your payments would vary depending on if your income increases or decreases.
Catholic Charities USA is another charity that has locations in different parts of the United States to help people get out of debt. For example, Virginia's Commonwealth Catholic Charities offers the HELP: Debt Management program. It provides budgeting, housing and credit counseling to people in need. The organization has a Current Budget Worksheet that lets you map and manage your budget via an Excel program. It puts your expenses into categories such as housing (including mortgages and utilities,) food, medical, transportation (including car payments, gas and repairs), childcare, money put toward savings, entertainment, clothing and miscellaneous like gifts and pet care. From this, you can determine how much of your discretionary income goes toward each category and discover if there's an imbalance that should be corrected to help you get out of debt.