Millions of Americans Living on Less Income Need a Plan to Pay Bills Until Their Situation Improves
ATLANTA, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the nation's employment picture is improving, many Americans continue to struggle to make ends meet. Millions are still unemployed and others have had their pay reduced or are in new jobs that pay less than their former positions and may not include medical benefits. When paying basic monthly bills is a challenge, it is especially difficult to cover unplanned expenses or save for the future.
CredAbility, a national nonprofit credit counseling and education organization, can help you find ways to achieve financial stability even when you are living on a limited budget. A free webinar titled "Surviving on a Limited Budget" will be taught by a CredAbility financial educator from 10-11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Monday, April 25. To register for the webinar, go to https://credability.webex.com/credability/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=663946859
For people living on a limited budget, CredAbility's financial educators advise creating a priority spending plan, finding ways to eliminate stress and identifying resources that will help you achieve stability.
"We know it's not easy for people to make ends meet with limited income, but it's critical to create a spending plan and stick to it until your income improves," says Mechel Glass, director of education for CredAbility. "At the same, we can help people find organizations where they can buy food and medicine at lower costs, as well as identify ways to eliminate stress, such as volunteering, joining a 'networking' group or taking up a hobby."
To create a priority spending plan, Glass advises people to take the following actions:
- List your current income and expenses. If your expenses exceed your current income, you will have to adjust your spending plan.
- Develop and follow a spending plan that eliminates all unnecessary expenses. These include cable television, water or newspaper delivery, upgraded cell phone plans, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions and dining at restaurants.
If expenses still exceed your income, contact your creditors and ask for the 'hardship' department. Explain your situation and ask if there are payment programs available to assist you. Often, creditors are willing to lower interest rates, fees and monthly payments in times of financial hardship.
Next, you need to identify organizations where you can buy food and medicine at lower prices, as well as find ways to reduce child care costs. These include:
- For child care assistance programs, visit www.childcare.gov or for information on help paying for childcare, contact Child Care Aware at www.childcareaware.org or call 800-424-2246.
- For information and assistance in paying for medical care for you and your family, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human services at www.hhs.gov/children.
- For prescription assistance contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org or call 888-477-2669
Next, you need to relieve stress by finding ways to exercise, eat properly and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family members. Achieve these goals by volunteering or joining networking groups. You can also take advantage of various events, programs and resources in your community, at school or at church. Finally, consider taking up a hobby, including one that could turn into an additional source of income.
For free exercise programs, visit www.thatsfit.com for free exercise plans, ideas and tips. For nutrition, www.nutrition.gov offers free meal planning and menus as well as nutritional tips and ideas. To volunteer, go to www.volunteermatch.org.
Finally, to enhance your education and skills, visit www.CredAbility.org/education to take advantage of a variety of free courses on demand to enhance your financial literacy.
CredAbility is one of the leading nonprofit credit counseling and education agencies in the United States, serving clients in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in both English and Spanish. In addition, we provide in-person counseling through our branch network of 28 offices located across the southeast.
Founded in 1964, CredAbility is a family of Consumer Credit Counseling Service agencies that includes CCCS of Greater Atlanta, CCCS of Central Florida and the Florida Gulf Coast, CCCS of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, CCCS of East Tennessee, CCCS of Jackson (Mississippi) and CCCS of Upstate South Carolina.
The nonprofit agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Governed by a community-based board of directors, CredAbility is funded by creditors, clients, individual donors and grants from foundations, businesses and government agencies. Service is provided 24/7 by phone at 800.251.2227 and online at www.CredAbility.org