I recently asked my friends on Facebook what they think about when they’re trying to fall asleep.
I was wondering whether they have a certain calming ritual that helps them doze off at night.
I have one where I fantasize about going back in time and doing my childhood over, knowing everything I know now. It includes fun things, like eating 39-cent soft pretzels at the Hills snack bar, but also strategic things, like inventing the iPhone and leaving all my Jem and the Holograms dolls in their boxes so I can sell them later on eBay.
You know, totally normal stuff.
But instead of hearing about different variations of counting sheep, I heard from lots of people who said they lay in bed at night and worry about money, bills and debt.
Yikes, that does not sound like a soothing way to drift off to La-La-Land.
It makes sense, though. In a study last year, 69 percent of people cited financial worries as the primary source of stress in their lives, according to the American Psychological Association.
And it’s affecting our health – more than three-quarters of Americans say they regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, whether it’s headaches and muscle tension or heart disease and high blood pressure.
Gratefully, there are a number of free resources available to those across all incomes to help get a handle on whatever financial stressors you’re dealing with.
In fact, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo and the United Way of Greater Niagara are offering a host of free services throughout April, which is Financial Literacy Month.
• If it’s bad credit that’s keeping you up at night, credit repair workshops will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at Niagara Worksource One, 1001 Eleventh St. in Niagara Falls and from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Buffalo Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square.
• Financial success workshops will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 19 at the American Red Cross, 786 Delaware Ave. You’ll learn budgeting techniques, creative ways to save money, lessons about the value of money, debt control and how your credit score can affect your job search. To reserve a seat, call 278-8108.
• Financial counseling for veterans will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and on April 14,16,21, 23, 28 and 30 at the Veteran’s OneStop Center, 1280 Main St. Counselors will be available to meet with vets individually or with family members to answer questions and discuss all kinds of financial concerns.
• Individual credit report education and counseling will be available from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, as well as April 22 and 30 at the Civil Legal Advice & Resource Office, 2495 Main St., Suite 330. It’s on the third floor of the BFNC-Hope Center. A counselor will retrieve your credit report and review it with you, one on one.
• Financial education classes about credit management, saving, budgeting, goals and credit repair are available throughout Western New York. They’re free, open to anyone and can be scheduled for groups. Call 712-2064.
For more information about any of these resources, or to set up a one-on-one appointment with a counselor, call 712-2060 or visit www.consumercreditbuffalo.org/