Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is Your Money Managing You?

Many of us are looking for ways to get the most out of our money. Others are struggling with debt, bad credit, or high interest payments on credit cards and loans. Here are a few opportunities to get free help and learn more about financial fitness.

The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs is offering two upcoming Surviving the Economy Clinics (April 12th and May 12th) where you can meet with representatives from local agencies and lenders regarding help with mortgage payments, loan modifications, legal assistance, unemployment, food and medical benefits, and more. Call Christine Gilley at (330) 643-2879 for details.

Community Legal Aid is presenting free Financial Information & Legal Education workshops this Spring, where participants receive information on credit repair, identity theft, taxes, bankruptcy, and other matters. Call Maggie at (330) 983-2609 for dates, times, and locations.

The Akron area’s Consumer Credit Counseling Service (aka Apprisen Financial Advocates) offers a free comprehensive money management consultation, as well as a debt management program, housing counseling and foreclosure intervention, and bankruptcy counseling and education. They can help you assess your current situation and develop an action plan to get you back on your feet financially.

Greenleaf Family Center’s Financial Services for Families program offers free classes on budgeting, banking, and credit, as well as pre-bankruptcy counseling and some financial assistance programs for buying and repairing automobiles. For more information on these and other services, call Bob Sukel at (330) 376-9494.

The FDIC has a helpful website with information on topics such as loans, mortgages, banking, identity theft, and fraud. They also have a free financial education program called Money Smart -- consumers can order a free self study CD, access the study modules online, or download podcasts. In addition to the curriculum for adults, Money Smart offers a program for young adults who are just learning how to manage their finances. Early education programs such as this can help young adults avoid costly mistakes and get them off to a good start in making the best use of their resources.

Are you a single mother struggling to make ends meet? Another great internet resource is This site provides information and resources especially for single moms on housing, food, educational grants for college, and tips for making the most of every dollar.

Don’t forget to order your free annual credit report and make sure it doesn’t contain errors that could cost you money in higher interest rates when you apply for home, car, or other loans. You can order your report online at, by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Finally, the State Library of Ohio’s Find Help in Tough Times website offers good information on a variety of money-related topics.

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