Sober up your spending for free

Illustration: Jen Troyer

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It can take a stranger to point out the money mistakes you're making, says Dave Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Yet while many people think financial planners are only for the super-rich, anyone can use the free services of a credit counselor (find one at They'll take an uncompromising look at your situation and help you set up a budget and work toward stashing away six months' worth of disposable income, which Jones says is the most important thing you can do for your finances.