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.x144 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.