Managing Finances

If you are facing reduced income you need to practice expert money management. Resources are available in the community to help you, but the first thing to do is plan ahead.

Take a look at your current situation and plan ahead:

  • Plan a realistic budget.  If possible, plan your budget and stick to it. Set up a plan that allows
               for basic needs: food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
  • Take a close look at credit obligations. Don’t make purchases on credit if you can avoid it.
  • This will save interest charges.
  • Protect yourself. Alert others about your economic situation.
         -    Notify your bank, financial institution or mortgage holder that you are unemployed and
              cannot meet your payment. A personal visit is suggested. Request postponement until
              you are receiving funds again. If you have an FHA or Veteran’s Insured Mortgage, ask for
              forbearance (an emergency relief program to avoid foreclosure).

              -   Contact the landlord, if you rent, and inform him or her of the circumstances. Ask for a
                  postponement until some income resumes. Discuss ways to work off your obligation.
             -   Notify all utilities (phone, gas, electric, and water) of your situation as soon as
                 possible, to show good faith. Reduce service consumption as much as you can.
                 Unplug electronics when not in use to save electricity.
            -    Notify all creditors (car, furniture, credit accounts) as soon as you are unable to make
                 payments. Request a moratorium (a legally authorized delay in the payment
                 of a debt
) or negotiate a greatly reduced payment until your income resumes. Keep
                 full records of these transactions and phone communications:
                 •    Name of the firm
                 •    Name of the person with whom you met or talked to
                 •    A brief account of what was agreed to
                 •    Telephone numbers
                 •    Date

Bill payment priorities:
If your income does not cover all of your bills, be sure to pay the following in this order: 

  1.        Rent
  2.      Utilities
  3.      Food
  4.      Transportation

Save money wherever you can:

  • Try to recycle almost everything.  Re-do, make over, trade in, make it, or skip it.  Check re-sale
          shops for clothes, appliances and other necessary purchases. You may be able to make your
          own repairs around the house, or barter with a friend or neighbor.
  • To reduce food cost, consider planning some nutritious, high protein, meatless meals. Use
          coupons, plan meals and watch for special at grocery stores. Always shop after you
          have eaten, not when you are hungry. Set up a food budget and stick to it.
  • Childcare: Reduced cost child-care may be available for parents working or in school, based on
          income level. The following Stark County agencies can be contacted for more information:

                Stark County Job & Family Services: 330-452-4661
                The Employment Source: 330-433-9675
                United Way's 2-1-1 Information & Referral Helpline: 211 or 330-491-9997

When money is tight, frustration and stress can sometimes be overwhelming.
Learn about dealing with stress here »

Go back to Tips for Tough Times page »

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