Monday, October 25, 2010
5 Practical Tips for People In Need.
First, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay your mortgage or rent, you need to contact the person or company you pay, and make them aware of your circumstances. This is the most important thing that must be paid, and you need to be aware of what your options are. If you can, work out a new or temporary arrangement. If you cannot, you need to begin looking for a new housing situation sooner, rather than later.
Second, transportation. If you have a vehicle that you rely on for transportation, and you owe money on it, but can't afford to pay, you need to contact them to make an arrangement. If you cannot, I would suggest contacting a bankruptcy type attorney (many will offer 1st visits or phone calls for free to see if they can be of help). Sometimes they can help make you aware of what your options are, or help get a new arrangement worked out. In a worse case scenario if you lose your vehicle (or own one outright that isn't running) you will have to rely on public transportation to get to work, or need to ask a friend, family member, or co-worker to carpool. If you are working, getting to and from your job is critical to keeping your income, make sure you have an alternate arrangement in place. In many larger cities, there are services available to help you get to Dr. appointments and such, just check with your doctor's office or social services for information!
Third, medication. If you cannot afford your medication, you need to talk to your doctor. I personally know people who have been able to get additional samples from their doctors through drug reps, or been able to enroll in special programs through drug companies to get their medication at a more affordable price.
Fourth, food. If you do not have enough food to eat, even if you're on food stamps and they aren't stretching far enough, you need to contact social services in your area. They should be able to direct you to any food banks or churches in your area that can assist you. I know one church near us offers Angel Food Ministries, and any items not picked up go into their food bank. If you do not have transportation to pick up food they can offer you, LET THEM KNOW. They may have a volunteer who could bring it to you, but they won't know you need that option unless you let them know. Some churches also offer Clothes Closets. They may be able to assist you in getting clothes for yourself and your family, including coats and blankets to help stay warm over the winter!
Also, I have not used Food Stamps, but I believe that in our area the people I have seen using this service have a debit type card. You should be able to use coupons to help curb costs and stretch your dollars further. Start searching for coupon/sales matching blogs for the stores that you shop in your area. Read them and start getting familiar with what items are on special. Plan your menus around what is on sale. There are also blogs that feature entire meals on $5 or less, and many other low cost tips.
Finally, utilities. If you cannot pay your entire bill, there is usually a number you can call to make payment arrangements, or apply for assistance on the bill. I believe some United Way agencies are involved in helping people get assistance, at least in our area. There is typically a newsletter in our statement each month with tips on how to reduce energy costs, and around this time of the year we get United Way pamphlets asking for donations to help people keep their heat on, so if you see an organization asking for donations, they should be an organization you can call to request assistance if you need it.
Since I corresponded with a few people on these matters over the weekend, I wanted to post them first. I will try and get a post up by tomorrow on ways to start the online earning process, but since I know at least one of the people I chatted with has no utility service on, and had run out of food, I wanted to post these suggestions first.
I urge anyone in these circumstances to please call your local Social Services Dept and at least one church and explain your situation to them. I know these places offer help. Please do not go hungry or allow family members to go without food when there are places available that can help you now!
***If anyone has any additional tips, please leave them in the comments section!***