Taxes, Money, Hope
Once again, our volunteer tax preparers have been very busy with our free tax preparation program. Each year more than one million dollars in refunds and tax credits have been brought back into the pockets of households in our community through this program. The average household income is $23,000 for those that benefit from this free program.
If you live on an income of $23,000, you may have felt a sense of overwhelming despair when you think about your money situation. You work hard each week, collect your paycheck, and then you sit down to pay your bills. Aaargh! Once again, there is not enough money to pay them all. Which bills do you pay first? Who screams loudest? You still need to buy groceries and gas to get to work. Yikes!
Or, maybe you are able to pay your monthly bills but just barely. There is no wiggle room for disasters- or even little hick-ups in life. You get a flat tire and need to replace one tire- and it has to go on the credit card. Your child breaks their leg and you have deductibles to meet. Aunt Sophie comes to visit from California and you want to take her to Portsmouth for a seafood dinner- and it all goes on the credit card. Unexpected expenses put you in debt.
Every one of us knows someone who is under an incredible weight of student debt. This can be overwhelming and makes it difficult to purchase a home, a car, pay for a wedding or even start a family.
Financial worries take a toll on our mental health and well-being. We get tired more easily and we are discouraged. Many of us will try to make ourselves feel better by doing some shopping therapy- ouch! More debt on our credit card. A vicious cycle has begun. I am in debt, I buy something to make me feel better, and I am more in debt.
If any of this sounds familiar, listen up! Help is available at The River Center. Every Wednesday from 12:30-2:00 a volunteer money coach is available to meet with you to help you make sense of your money issues. If that time does not work for you, arrangements can be made to meet at another time. Every person’s situation is unique. Every family has a different set of priorities and challenges. The money coaches are trained to work with you and your situation. They are kind, nonjudgmental, and ready to help you.
Recently a woman came for money coaching. She had adequate income but was having trouble paying the bills. She was lacking self-confidence, had some stressful situations in her life, and needed help getting organized. The money coach asked her to list what she wanted more of in her life and what she wanted less of in her life. She came back for a second meeting with a three page list. She is gaining confidence in herself, getting more organized with her finances and things are looking up. She has hope.
Don’t lose sleep again about your finances. Do something about it. Call us at 924-6800 or show up at The River Center on Wednesdays between 12:30-2:00. We are located at 9 Vose Farm Rd. in Peterborough.