10 Benefits of Living Debt-Free

10 Benefits of Living Debt-Free Peace of mind Financial security Improved marital relationship Better health and lifestyle More free time Emergency fund lasts longer Strengthened self confidence Extra money to put towards savings More money available to invest. More time with kids and family. Living a debt-free life means different things to different families and individuals. Write

Poll Respondents More Embarrassed to Admit Credit Card Balance and Credit Score than Age or Weight

Springfield, Mo. – According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling™ (NFCC) recent online poll, when asked what they would be most embarrassed to admit, the highest number of respondents, 37 percent,  indicated it was their credit card debt.   People were given five categories from which to choose. In addition to credit card debt, the options

Tax Refund. Now you see it, now you don’t.

Many individuals or families receive a tax refund, but fall victim to spending it too fast. Money has a great way of disappearing and slipping through our fingers, so let’s really take a hard look at how that money could be spent or saved. Do you want to help with your children’s college costs?  A tax refund would be a

Debt May Spoil Cupid’s Plans This Valentine’s Day

Springfield, MO. – Cupid is up against a mighty opponent this Valentine’s Day: DEBT.  The majority of respondents participating in the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) monthly poll indicated they would have serious reservations about taking on the debt of the person they love, even to the point of ending the relationship. The NFCC January poll

Tapping into your emergency fund

  I often have informative questions when I am teaching financial awareness to the community. Here is a question I wanted to share. Question:  I am establishing an emergency fund but what reasons would I need to tap into this savings account? Answer:  Having an emergency fund is strictly for emergencies and you can decide

Don’t Let Black Friday Lead to the January Blues

At this time of year, millions of people put their financial common sense on the shelf, tucking it away into a winter hibernation of sorts, thereby making it much easier to take part in the once per year phenomenon known as Black Friday, the mother of all shopping days. The problem with this practice is

Legitimate help is available

False Perceptions of Credit Counseling Keep Consumers from Seeking Assistance The July poll on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website revealed that consumers have false perceptions about credit couseling which keep them from obtaining the help they need.  ”The Poll numbers are disturbing on many levels,” said Joe Stokes, CEO of CCCS of

My Money Check Up – CCCS of the Ozarks

Recently the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) started a nationwide campaign called “Sharpen Your Financial Focus”. This campaign is designed to help anyone get on the right path to financial freedom. This is exciting for CCCS for the Ozarks because we are part of this campaign and are helping people reach their financial goals. You

How to Start or Re-Start Your Monthly Budget

The hardest part about budgeting is getting started!  Here are some tips that may help you. Step One : Look at the last 2 months of your bank statements to see how much your monthly bills are and what you spend your money on. This will help you determine how much you will need to realistically

CCCS client survey

Below is a link  to our most recent client survey.  We strive hard to please our clients.  The survey can take as little as 2 minutes but not more than 10 minutes.  If you are a CCCS client, please take a few minutes to particiapte.  The results will be published in August here and on

How to Dress for less Part 2

How to Dress for less Part 2 This weekend I went to the Red Rack in Springfield, Mo. on South Kansas Expressway. It is a second hand store and I was able to find some great clothes for work and casual at a discounted price. When I tell people that  I shop, mostly, second hand they

Dos and Dont’s for that much-needed financial conversation for engage and married couples

Do’s and Don’ts for that much-needed financial conversation for engaged and married couples With many brides and grooms walking down the aisle in June, regardless of how difficult it may be, the conversation about personal finances is one that should be neither ignored nor postponed.  As a matter of fact, to increase the odds of

Clearing up Confusion about using a Consumer Credit Counseling Agency

Clearing up Confusion about using a Consumer Credit Counseling Agency   According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s (NFCC) recent Financial Literacy Survey, many consumers have misperceptions about credit counseling agencies, causing confusion that is preventing them from reaching out for the help they need.  NFCC Member Agencies are required to be accredited by

Seeking Financial Guidance

Seeking financial guidance is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a step toward financial freedom. Personal finance is a sensitive subject and CCCS of the Ozarks has found that pride or lack of understanding is hindering one from seeking some kind of financial guidance. When is a good time to seek financial help and start making

Some Lenders Require You To Keep A $500 Deductible or Less.

WHY DO SOME LENDERS REQUIRE YOU TO KEEP A $500 DEDUCTIBLE OR LESS WHEN FINANCING A VEHICLE? When you finance a vehicle, it does not belong to you, it belongs to the lender until it is paid in full. Therefore the lender, bank, credit union, and so on, need to make sure that this vehicle

Independent Foreclosure Review

Beginning  in April 2011 federal banking regulators issued enforcement actions against several large federally regulated mortgage servicing companies.  Yep, you know its bad when the feds take this kind of action.  What did these mortgage servicing companies do?  The politically correct answer goes something like this..” mortgage servicing companies will have to correct deficient mortgage

Saving money doesn’t have to be so difficult when you have a goal.

Saving money doesn’t have to be so difficult when you have a goal. When it comes to saving money, we all have different reasons. One common denominator is that it takes discipline and motivation. Unfortunately there are too many people that do not save money and use expensive routes, such as payday or title loans,

Top Ten Hit List

The newly formed Southern Missouri Consumer Fraud Task Force serves to enhance awreness and prevention of consumer fraud.  The task force members include the FBI, US Postal Inspector, Missour Attorney General, Greene County Sherriff’s department, Legal Services of Southern Missouri, CCCS and the Better Business Bureau.  Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.  

Living with no money?

I read an Yahoo Financial Fit article this morning about a young Berlin family who live with virtually no money essentially because it gets in the way of living their dreams.  Its a very intriguing thought to me.  The journey for them began when Rapheal went on a trip with 2 college friends and backpacked/hitchhiked  from

My Money Checkup

My Money Checkup I have been seeing these post’s about “MyMoneyCheckup” being posted by the NFCC through Facebook and Twitter but I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it would be something like Mint.com where you put in your bank and credit card accounts. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised! My Money Checkup is

Subscribe to our Break Free Now Blogs.

 Subscribe to our Break Free Now Blogs. We appreciate our loyal readers and are passionate about sharing information with all of you. We know your day to day life can be busy, it is hard to check if a new blog has been posted. Tonya and I will put our most popular blogs into a

Step one: Financial fitness review

  January has almost come to an end; can you believe it??  Many people have made their resolutions for the year.  Some have resolved to improve their health by eating right, exercising or giving up unhealthy habits.  If you are someone who resolved to save money this year or manage your money better I would

Did you know?

Did you know that some colleges and universities will allow students to RENT text books?  Yes indeed.  I “rented” textbooks for my daughter who is a freshman.  Renting textbooks can be even cheaper than buying them used and certainly buying them new.  I “rented” 4 text books for $182; it would have cost about $350

How to Dress For Less

HOW TO DRESS FOR LESS   I started going to second hand stores about 4 years ago and the majority of my wardrobe is from second hand stores. On Sunday’s, a place called the “Red Rack” has $0.25 sales on certain color tag’s. I have landed some surprising deals for $0.25 but lately those items have

Affordable health care tips

One of my most popular mottos is “Never pay full price for ANYTHING.”  This can apply to health care costs also.  Today’s tips are for those who might find themselves uninsured or underinsured.  First, if you have to see your doctor for a routine office visit and you are uninsured, asked for a discount for

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

We all need forgiveness from time to time, right?  This forgiveness comes in the way of mortgage debt forgiveness.  The 2007 Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act will likely be extended through 2013.  This Act allows federal tax forgiveness to those who are short selling a home or completing a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Both transactions have typically been a

Take Control of Your Finances in 2013

Take Control of Your Finances in 2013 I know a lot of us are worried about the fiscal cliff and how it will influence our finances but let’s start taking control of our money. Start 2013 on the right foot and have a goal to reach. Here are some suggestions:  Goal #1: If you have

Check Out Your Credit Score for Free.

We, consumers, have been able to access our credit reports once a year for free with www.annualcreditreport.com/. This has been a great tool for monitoring fraud, credit worthiness, and so on. The problem: we still have to pay for our score, which costs around $8.00 per credit bureau. Now we can access our credit score

How long Does it Take to Get Out of Credit Card Debt?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT? In a book that I am reading called “Debt-Free Forever” written by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, there is a tip that I wanted to share with you. “While it may have become socially acceptable to make only the minimum payments required on our debt, this

Having Good Credit Isn’t Just for Loan Approvals

Having Good Credit Isn’t Just for Loan Approvals I often times get asked, “Why would you want to strive for a good credit score if you don’t plan on borrowing money?” When I speak within the community. Having good credit does not only affect you in the lending world, it also affects many other aspects

Insider secret #4

Most people prefer to leave the hospital feeling better than when they entered. However, with today’s cost of health care, and an increasing amount of that cost being passed along to the consumer, the discharged patient may exit with a financial nightmare looming in the distance. Through the years hundreds of clients have sought us

Insider secret #3

This is a secret no one likes to talk about.  However, if you are someone facing this situation the last thing you need is a bill collector harrassing you.  I believe that once YOU know what your rights are then THEY will back off. Millions of consumers may have accounts in collections with a third-party collector,

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent                         What you will need: 1/2 Cup: Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not Baking Soda) 1/2 Cup: Borax 20 Mule Team 1/3 Bar of Fels-Naptha Bar Bucket (2.5 gallon size) large pot to dissolve soap mixture Empty laundry detergent containers or bucket with lid to store detergent. Clean Funnel Clean

Insider secret # 2

It’s a sinking feeling you get the moment you realize something is very wrong with your bank and/or credit card account.  Someone has used your account..someone has your information..I believe its..its..identity theft? What do you do to protect yourself and correct this grievous mistake?  Here is your checklist. 1) Immediately close the account that you

Insider Secret

Today I want to give everyone an insider tip. Honestly, its one of the simple joys in my life. I take pleasure in giving people little nuggets of knowledge that make life just a bit easier or simplier. Have you ever wondered, as you go through your mail, how on earth you get SO MANY

15 Ways to Save Money

15 Ways to Save Money Track your spending.  Carry around a small note pad or type it in the notes app on your phone. Every time you spend money, write down the date, what it was, and the cost. Do this for at least 2 weeks, preferably a month and you will see where you

Refinance your home?

In recent posts Beth gave advise on using the equity in your home to consolidate debt.  Great advise,  by the way.  I wanted to take it a step further and talk about simply refinancing your home.  The current mortgage interest rates are very appealing to a homeowner.  If you are a homeowner who has good

Alternatives for consolidating debt rather than using the equity in your home

Alternatives for consolidating debt rather than using the equity in your home Part 2     Consolidation Loan This is an unsecured loan, which means that the interest rates will be higher than a home equity loan. The rates will probably be lower than all of your credit cards but carefully consider other options if

Using the equity in your home to consolidate debt

Using the equity in your home to consolidate debt Part 1 I was recently asked what I thought about using the equity in your home as debt consolidation. The first point I’d like to bring up is this can be risky because if you default on a payment, then you are at risk of foreclosure.


Two of the most common phrases I have heard clients say over the years are: 1) “I don’t have a budget.” or “I don’t know the first thing about making a budget”. 2) “I just dont have time to do all of that budgeting stuff.” Well my friends, there is help.  I have found another

7 Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet

7  Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet I am not going to add in the cost of the pet because most individuals figure that in, whether it is free or not. 1.      Does the animal need to be spade or neutered? If you adopt, this is usually in the fee. If you do not

How to Save for the Holidays

How to Save for the Holidays When it comes to the holidays, our wallets can get drained and it is important we have a savings plan and a spending plan. Everyone pays for the holiday season in different ways. Some put everything on their credit card(s) and end up paying them throughout the following year,

Credit Karma

Happy Friday everyone!  Today I want to tell you about this great tool anyone can use for free to track their credit score. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend something like this because there is usually a catch or a cost to the consumer.  With Credit Karma, everything is free to the consumer; the website is sponsored by advertisers which are typically credit


Ok folks…it is time someone stepped up to the soap box and told the truth about foreclosure “rescue” services.  Sure, they promise to save your home from foreclosure or help you get a mortgage modification at a 2% interest rate with a hefty amount of principal reduction.  They are going to save your home; all you


We are so excited about the launch of our new website which allows us an opportunity, through the BREAK FREE NOW blog, to bring you the latest and most meaningful information to help you on the path to financial prosperity.  Our vision at CCCS of the Ozarks is truly to help you BREAK FREE NOW. 

Mortgage Workout Assistance

MORTGAGE WORKOUT ASSISTANCE Download Mortgage Workout Forms   If you or someone you know is past due on their existing mortgage, a certified professional counselor can help you determine what options might be available. CCCS has been helping individuals and families work through financial crisis since 1969. At the top of this page there is

Housing Counseling

Housing Counseling provides a variety of professional financial counseling services related to homeownership.   FORECLOSURE PREVENTION COUNSELING Mortgage lenders/servicers refer delinquent borrowers to HUD certified housing counseling agencies for technical assistance. Homeowners in financial crisis can benefit from a professional financial evaluation. Our trained staff will evaluate options and aid in developing a plan to

Online Counseling

If you are filing bankruptcy, please click here to go to Pre-filing Bankruptcy Counseling Online Counseling Before you get started you will need to download and sign these two forms.Privacy Policy Waiver Debt Management Plan Agreement Form Note: To read you will need Adobe’s Acrobat viewer. To download the free viewer, click here. Get Started Now!  

Current Clients

YOUR ACCOUNT 1. Send your payment to CCCS every 30 days. For your convenience, we provide monthy statementsto remind you of your payments and a courtesy reply envelope to mail your payment.   2. Payments to CCCS must be made by money order or cashier’s check. To ensure proper credit, it is very important to

Community Education

Credit Education Credit education on financial issues is a major priority of Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Our goal is to educate individuals and families before a problem occurs. We provide a number of presentations on Budgeting, Credit Cards(and other loans), Consumer Rights and Establishing and Building A Better Credit Record. These sessions are presented in