NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Get out of debt. Save more money. Both are popular resolutions that can be hard to keep, but as CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, there are free services available that make managing your money easier than ever.
“I didn’t think there were free services out there that could help you fix your credit,” said Bronx resident Yazmin Ramos.
A love for shopping left her with a low credit score and no savings. She took advantage of the City’s zero-cost financial counseling and sat down with expert Jonathan Rollins.
“These are my problems and I need you to help me fix it,” Ramos told Rollins.
Together they created a monthly budget and Jonathan provided tips on ways to cut spending.
“From that point on I was able to do something about my credit score,” she said.
“Our goal is to empower the client to take action for themselves,” Rollins explained.
Clients of all backgrounds in all financial situations can get free financial counseling at one of the city’s 20 plus financial empowerment centers.
“We work to create a plan for clients to take control of their finances, set short term and long term financial goals,” he said.
Take control she did, and now her credit score is up and she has money in the bank.
“I thought it wasn’t possible to come out of the situation I was in and it is possible,” Ramos said.
It’s also possible for you to tackle your finances flying solo. Cathie Mahon, Deputy Commissioner of Financial Empowerment offers some free advice on how to make it work.
“The most important thing is to document what is coming into the household and what is going out, so make that budget,” she said.
Next, pay down your debt.
“You can start facilitating more and more savings by just paying down high debt,” she said.
Finally, it’s tax time.
“For many people it’s the single biggest check they’ll be getting all year, so get out there, file your taxes,” she added.
If you make less than $50,000 a year, you can file federal, state and local returns for free at City tax prep sites.
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