These publications cover personal financing, banking, and your credit. They can provide a wealth of information to help you improve your financial situation with saving tips, how to repair your credit and much more.
*We also offer a links to several online Financial Education programs in our Educational Courses. You must register to access the links. Financial Fitness
Building Wealth was designed by the Federal Reserve of Dallas to provide a tutorial on how to budget, save and plan for the future. It explains the benefits of various types of saving plans and how each effects money earned from savings.
Mint.com is a free site that allows you to track your monthly spending and see how it lines up with your budget. It is web based which means it is accessible anywhere there is internet access. Be aware that this website does tie into your bank account to monitor your spending but is read only meaning that it will not alter your account or allow any changes or financial transactions to be made. With the same security as a bank website it is secure from hacking and has been recommended by the New York Times, ABC and Money Magazine.
Credit Karma offers free access to your credit score, shows your debt amounts and your auto insurance score. This free site also lets you monitor your credit score and helps alert to changes that may take place. Looking at taking out a loan, adding a new credit card or other event that may change your credit? Plug the numbers in and see just how much it will affect your credit score. Although the site is completely free be aware that there are site recommendations that could lead to outside companies that may charge a fee for their service. If you have questions please ask your center director.
AnnualCreditReport.com is a government trusted website that allows you to access your credit report once a year for free. It is important to review your report yearly to spot potential fraud and false reporting by the credit agencies. There are three main reporting agencies that are used when a credit check is run. Your report will allow you to look at the same information available during a credit check.
Building a Better Credit Report explains the basics of how credit works, why you need it, and how to improve and maintain your credit score.
Calculator.org has set up a debt calculator that will allow you to put in your current amount owed and interest rate to determine just how long it will take to pay off your debt with minimum payments. The time frame is always longer than many people suspect, it can be a great way to determine which debt(s) to pay off first.
Debt Reduction Services provides credit counseling to those who have extreme credit issues. This service can be used to help repair your credit and get out of debt faster. This service should be used as a last resort, if not needed it can have a negative impact on your credit report. If you have questions feel free to talk to your center director or financial institution in order to ensure it is needed.
Volunteer tax assistance:
Taxes can be confusing, for those who are unable to pay for a service and qualify we have listed two resource agencies below. Both have volunteers that will be happy to assist you with your tax preparation needs.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) will assist individuals who make $51,000 or less in preparing their own tax returns. Volunteers are IRS-certified and offer free basic income assistance with electronic filing. They will also be helpful with navigating qualifying tax credits.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free assistance for individuals who are 60 years and older. They specialize in pension and retirement issues and are IRS-certified volunteers. They will also be helpful with navigating qualifying tax credits and assist with electronic filing.
The following information from the IRS website will help you prepare for your visit.
Note: Majority of the VITA and TCE sites are open annually from late January/early February to April 15. During this time, you can locate a site near you using the above locator tools.
To have your tax return(s) prepared at a VITA or TCE site you need to bring the following information with you:
- Proof of identification – Picture ID
- Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents
- Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
- Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
- Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, 1099-Misc from all employers
- Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
- A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
- Proof of bank account, routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit, such as a blank check
- Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number (the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number) if appropriate
- To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.
It is extremely important that each person use the correct Social Security Number. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card. If you do not have an SSN for you or a dependent, you should complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. This form should be submitted to the nearest Social Security Administration Office.
Use the Consumer Action Handbook (CAH) to get help with consumer purchases, problems and complaints. Find consumer contacts at hundreds of companies and trade associations, local, state, and federal government agencies, national consumer organizations, and more. ***Can be ordered or downloaded***