Use this checklist as a tool to help any friend or family member who may be in need of assistance:
Be proactive. Don't wait until bills are piling up before seeking help.
Create a budget. Determine your monthly income and bills, and find places you can trim. Are there luxuries you can do without that will help you save money each month?
Communicate effectively. Contact your creditors and utility companies. Let them know you're having a difficult time. These companies want to be paid, so they will often work with you to form a payment schedule that you can afford. To them, getting paid something is better than getting paid nothing!
If you have a mortgage or auto loan, contact your lender and see if you can refinance. Stretching your payments over a longer period of time can lower your monthly payments.
Seek help from your community. Call the 2-1-1 emergency help line, your local county offices, or the Atlantic City Rescue Mission at (609)345-5517. There are many programs available that can help you through a difficult time. Check local churches for food pantries and your child's school for resources for children.
Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Help from a friend, neighbor or community resource is just a phone call away.