Beware of Student Loan Scams!!

Latest News: July 2024 Financial Update

Parachute Credit Counseling Offers FREE Student Loan Counseling

Parachute Credit Counseling, formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo (CCCS), is Western New York region’s premier organization providing our community with the best strategies to master their credit.

Today we issue an alert about new scams that are unfortunately gaining popularity in the student loan world.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that they shut down another bogus company. Prosperity Benefit Services, which offered “complete” student loan forgiveness…for a fee, of course. Prosperity claimed that they had an affiliation with the U.S. Department of Education and that they would help clients receive quick loan forgiveness. Neither of their assertions were true.

The FTC has seen several other fraudulent student loan debt relief companies. They delivered an official warning last week. Here are red flags to watch out for:

  • Scammers use official-looking names, seals, and logos to make them seem more legit. Make sure you’re working with a federal student loan servicer that’s listed on the Department of Education’s website. (And use the contact information listed there too — scammers can spoof the numbers and names of legit servicers.)
  • Scammers charge an upfront fee. It’s illegal for companies to charge you before they help reduce or get rid of your student loan debt.
  • Scammers say they need your FSA ID login information. Never give out this information. If a scammer gets your FSA ID, they could cut you off from your loan servicer — or even steal your identity.

The Good News

New York residents are eligible for Free Student Loan Counseling at Parachute Credit Counseling.

Parachute Credit Counseling recommends that borrowers contact their office to enroll in the free Student Loan Counseling program, available to all residents of New York. Parachute’s Certified Financial Counselors help NY residents consolidate their student loans and review other potential relief options and assistance with existing programs available to help borrowers reduce or eliminate their debt as well as help them in making payment plan arrangements. Call 716-712-2060 or visit  for more information on our Student Loan Counseling Program.

Parachute also provides many other financial counseling services, from budgeting help to credit repair to buying a home. Nationally Certified Parachute counselors offer expert strategies for attaining financial stability, working with their clients every step of the way. Call 716-712-2060 or visit  for information on financial counseling services.

Top 20 Inspirational Quotes That Relate to Money

We all need a little inspiration sometimes! Here are some great quotes to give inspriation around your finances:

  1. “The only reason for time is so we can experience change. The only reason for money is so we can experience life.” – Tony Robbins
  2. “Investing in yourself is the best investment you can ever make. It will pay the best interest.” – Warren Buffett
  3. Financial freedom is the ability to live the life you want, when you want, on your own terms.” – Robert Kiyosaki
  4. “If you’re saving, you’re succeeding.” – Steve Burkholder
  5. “The key to making money is to save money.” – Horace Greeley
  6. “Owning a home is a keystone of wealth… both financial and emotional.” – Suze Orman
  7. “The only time to buy something is when you can afford it.” – Thomas Jefferson
  8. “Financial peace isn’t the absence of money; it’s the absence of worry.” – Dave Ramsey
  9. “Budgeting is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” – John Barnes
  10. “The more you learn, the more you earn.” – W. Clement Stone
  11. “Don’t tell me what your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money, and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James W. Frick
  12. “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” – Warren Buffett
  13. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
  14. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
  15. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
  16. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
  17. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
  18. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  19. “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” – Buddha
  20. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session  or call 716-712-2060.

“Stretching Your Budget When Money is Tight” – Part 2: Tips for automobile, transportation, and other general expenses

The majority of households will all likely go through periods where money is tight due to unexpected expenses, a significant life or job change, a medical hardship, inflation/increased prices, and much more!  Here are some simple, but not insignificant ways, of stretching your dollars further. Small amounts of savings do add up!


  • Organize errands/trips so that you are not backtracking and using more fuel.
  • Be sure you have a competitive rate for your auto insurance. Bundle renters or home owner’s insurance with your auto.
  • Get regular oil changes and use regular unleaded gas, unless not recommended for your automobile.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • If you are having trouble making car payments, consider downsizing your car or talk to dealer about refinancing for lower monthly payment. This will extend loan and result in more interest being paid but will help out in the short term.
  • Take turns driving with your children’s friends’ parents.  
  • Independent mechanics often charge less than dealers for auto maintenance.  Ask friends and family members for recommendations.
  • Ask mechanic about using re-constituted parts.
  • Consider buying a pre-owned, certified car.
  • Set a weekly fuel budget and stick to it by limiting unnecessary trips.
  • If tires need replacing, check out pre-owned, quality tires.
  • Vacuum and wash/wax your own car.
  • In nice weather, walk shorter distances or ride a bike.  

General Tips/Other

  • Put off wants (versus needs) for a few paychecks.
  • Use your public library.
  • Consider skipping having your nails done for a few weeks or months.
  • Wait for tax returns for needs that can wait or for future wants. 
  • Plan vacations at least a year in advance to save for them gradually. Travel off season.
  • Look for free and low-cost entertainment events such as outdoor festivals and concerts, parks, hikes.
  • Check out local high school and college performances and events.
  • Attend movies in the afternoon at matinee prices.
  • Temporarily pause cable and other streaming services.
  • Buy clothes off season.
  • Go to consignment shops to either get cash for clothes you already have or to buy new items.
  • Borrow or trade tools and equipment with neighbors, family members and friends.  
  • Check out estate sales, garage sales and flea markets.
  • Go to local Goodwill, Salvation Army and Savers stores.
  • Know what you have at home before you buy more clothes. Many people buy items they forget they have.
  • Look on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor for discounted or free items.
  • Look at “scratch and dent” rooms at furniture stores.
  • Consider painting or staining furniture instead of buying new.
  • Consider pre-paid cell phone plans as they often cost less.

If you’re dealing with high interest debt payments as well, see what you can save with Parachute’s Debt Management Plan

Would you like to meet one-on-one with one of our Financial Counselors to talk specifically about your budget? Check out our Financial Coaching Session or call 716-712-2060.

National Financial Freedom Day: A Day to Celebrate Financial Independence

National Financial Freedom Day is observed on July 1st every year. The holiday aims to raise awareness about financial freedom, which is the ability to afford the kind of life you desire without having to worry about financial constraints. There are many things you can do to achieve financial freedom, such as:

  • Pay off debt. This is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your financial situation. The less debt you have, the more money you will have available to save and invest.
  • Build an emergency fund. This is a savings account that you can use to cover unexpected expenses, such as a unexpected car expense or medical bill. Having an emergency fund will help you avoid going into debt when unexpected expenses arise.
  • Invest for the future. Once you have paid off debt and built an emergency fund, you can start investing your money. Investing can help you grow your wealth over time and reach your financial goals. There are many different ways to invest, so you can choose an option that is right for you. Some popular investment options include stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Achieving financial freedom takes time and effort, but it is possible. By following these tips, you can take steps to improve your financial situation and achieve financial independence:

  • Create a budget and stick to it. This will help you track your spending and make sure you are not overspending.
  • Live below your means. This means spending less money than you earn.
  • Save money regularly. Even if you can only save a small amount each month, it will add up over time.
  • Invest your money wisely. Do your research and choose investments that are right for you.
  • Be patient. It takes time to achieve financial freedom. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.

National Financial Freedom Day is a day to celebrate your progress and to recommit to your financial goals. We at Parachute are here to help you do just that! Give us a call at 716-712-2060 to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our skilled counselors who can help you determine steps you can take to achieve financial freedom and live the life you desire!

The Link Between Money and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there is a clear connection between financial wellness and mental health. Financial problems are a major source of worry and anxiety for many people, and can lead to mental health struggles. If you’re worried about money, then you’re not alone! Here are some ways that financial issues can affect your mental health:

  • Stress. Money worries can be a major source of stress, and chronic stress can have a negative impact on mental health, and even physical health.
  • Anxiety. Financial problems can lead to anxiety about the future, and about being able to meet basic needs.
  • Depression. Financial problems can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, which can contribute to depression.
  • Substance abuse. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol, or other addictive behaviors, to cope with financial stress. You are not alone, and there are resources available.
    • SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or TTY 1-800-487-4889, also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service, is a confidential, free, 24/7/365, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
  • Suicidal thoughts. Financial problems can be a major risk factor for suicide. Please reach out for help AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you are having suicidal thoughts.
    • If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The caller is routed to their nearest crisis center to receive immediate counseling and local mental health referrals. The Lifeline supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about.

If your finances are negatively affecting you mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, there are a number of things you can do to improve your mental health, such as:

  • Talk to someone. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or financial professional who can help you cope with your financial problems and develop a plan to improve your financial situation. Getting involved in your community can help you to feel more connected and supported, which can also buffer the effects of financial stress.
  • Seek professional help. If you are struggling with mental health problems as a result of financial stress, it is important to seek help from a trained professional. A therapist can help you manage your stress, anxiety, or depression.

Take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. These things can help improve your overall mood and well-being, putting you in a better position to be able to manage the stresses in your life.

April is Financial Literacy Month!

Financial Literacy Month is a national observance held every April to promote financial education and responsibility. Financial Literacy Month is a great time to learn more about financial literacy and to start taking steps to improve your financial well-being.

Financial literacy is the ability to understand and manage personal finances, and includes the awareness and knowledge to make informed financial decisions. Financial literacy can be improved by seeking to understand basic financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, and investing.

Financial Literacy Month is a great time to start taking steps to improve your own financial well-being. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Set financial goals.

What do you want to achieve financially? Do you want to buy a house, save for retirement, or start your own business? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start making a plan to reach your goals.

  • Create a budget.

(…and stick to it!). A budget is a plan for how you will spend your money. It can help you track your spending and make sure you are not spending more than you earn. You can’t make progress toward your financial goals if you don’t know where your money is going each month.

  • Save money.

Start by setting aside a small amount of money each month and gradually increase the amount you save as you get more comfortable with it. Set up auto pay to direct deposit a realistic amount to a savings account out of each paycheck.

  • Start thinking about investing.

Investing money is a way to grow your money over time. There are many different ways to invest, so it is important to do your research and choose an investment strategy that is right for you. Contact a financial planner or advisor for specific advice and guidance.

  • Get help.

If you are struggling with financial literacy, there are many resources available to help you, both online and in your community. You can take a financial literacy class, read books or articles about financial literacy, follow reputable financial sources on social media, subscribe to financial newsletters, or listen to personal finance podcasts. Meeting with a financial professional is a great way to assess your own situation, and work together to create a plan on how to achieve your personal financial goals and stay on track moving forward.

Parachute Credit Counseling is dedicated to promoting financial literacy and well-being, and to help minimize the stigma associated with debt.  We offer many different services to assist individuals and families achieve their personal financial goals, and to provide financial education.

  • More information on Parachute’s Workshops and Events to promote financial literacy:
  • Essential information compiled by Parachute to promote making wise budgeting choices and maintaining good financial health:

Contact us at (716) 712-2060 to speak with a certified financial counselor and review your personal situation and create a plan to take specific steps to improve your own financial literacy.  We are offering appointments all through the month of April, and beyond!