Don’t worry if you’re drowning in debt because there are some free lifesavers available – if you know where to look. Some of these are even available online so you don’t even have to leave home to get the help you need. On the other hand there are some services where you’ll have to get out of your easy chair and into your car but you’d be able to get help from an actual living debt counselor.
Free help online
Money Management International offers free credit and debt counseling. It’s easy to schedule a free credit counseling session, as all that’s required is to provide your name, email address, ZIP Code, city and state. If you prefer to talk to a real person, you could call 866.531.3442 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The counseling you will receive is free with no pressure to buy anything. However, if you decide to enroll in a debt management plan (DMP) there will be a one-time setup fee and a small monthly fee to administer the program. How long are your counseling session will last depends on a number of different factors but a complete credit and budget counseling session typically lasts 45-60 minutes. In addition to credit counseling, Money Management International offers:
• Bankruptcy Counseling
• Foreclosure Prevention Counseling
• Debt Management Assistance
• Reverse Mortgage Counseling
• Bankruptcy Education
The US Government
The US government offers a lot of good information for coping with debt. It’s website has information on self-help, debt relief services, debt consolidation and bankruptcy. As an example of this, the section on self-help includes information on how to develop a budget, contacting your creditors, how to deal with debt collectors, managing your home and auto loans and more.
This is a non-profit organization that offers free consultations, education and budget counseling. It has certified credit counselors that are ready and willing to help you get on the right path out of debt. In addition, it’s website includes a number of helpful articles and resources that make managing debt much easier. The website advertises that it could help you…
• Pay off your debt faster
• Stop collection calls
• Consolidate credit bills into one easy monthly payment
• Eliminate over-limit charges and late fees
• Create a realistic budget and a financial plan that you could easily follow.
With InCharge you can fill out a form on its website and get an immediate solution to your debt problem or call 888-241-2163 to talk with one of the company’s certified credit counselors.
This website promotes itself as America’s Debt Help Organization. It offers information for managing your debt, understanding your debt, bankruptcy and student loan forgiveness, as well as tips and tools for getting out of debt, a credit score grader and how student loan debt adds up. It’s also possible to call Debt.org at (888) 505-2105 for immediate help.
This company is also a nonprofit. It offers information on credit scores, credit reports, budgeting and more. Its client support department is open Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 8 PM EST and on Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. It provides a number of different financial education classes and workshops. The free counseling offered by RethinkDebt includes:
• Foreclosure prevention
• The pros and cons of reverse mortgages
• Paying off debts
• Financial education
• Debt management programs and debt consolidation
You can call (888) 724-2227 to get a free debt evaluation to learn if a debt management plan would be your best solution. If so, you would be required to pay a small set up fee and a monthly maintenance fee until you become debt free.
If you think you would be more comfortable working with a person with whom you could meet from time to time, there’s probably a credit-counseling agency near your home. The US Department of Justice offers a list of approved credit counseling agencies by state with addresses and telephone numbers.
The site Need Help Paying Bills also offers a list of non-profit credit counseling agencies by state. GreenPath, Inc. is both a national and local credit counseling organization in that it has offices in all 50 states. If there is an office near where you live you could make an appointment to meet with one of its trained counselors for help with personal budgeting, information on debt consolidation via debt management programs, home equity loans and mortgage assistance.
One of the oldest and largest non-profit credit counseling agencies is Consumer Credit Counseling Services. It has offices in most major cities and is part of Money Management International, which is the biggest nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency in the US. It provides credit counseling, community-wide educational programs, financial guidance, debt management assistance, and bankruptcy counseling and educational services. You can access it services over the phone, on the Internet or via in-person counseling sessions.