Getting Help with Your Bills

Getting Help With Your Bills

Getting Help With Your Bills | brokeGIRLrich

Whether you are having a tough few months or you have been struggling to gain traction with your bills for a long time, any help you can get is a welcome relief. If you have scrimped and saved and still struggle to pay your bills every month, you know how frustrating it can be to try to get ahead. Getting a little help can make it easier to begin saving so you can start making headway. Low Income Financial Help has provided a list on how to get help with bills covering some of the most important monthly costs.

Here are a few ways you can get help with a few of your bills:

Apply for subsidized housing: Rent and mortgage payments are usually the biggest expense. If you are a renter, consider applying for subsidized housing. Your rent will be cheaper (and the apartments are generally nicer) because the government is offsetting some of the cost. You will be required to show proof of income. If you own your home, try refinancing your loan for a lower interest rate.

Energy bills: Every state has energy assistance programs. Most of them have income requirements as well as application requirements. If you are accepted, you could receive a substantial discount on your energy bills each month. If you do not qualify for assistance or miss the deadline, talk to your gas and electric companies about a budget plan. The company will average your expenses over the course of the year and give you a set payment each month. You will likely see lower payments in some months and if you use less energy, you get money back at the end of the year.

Phone Bill: Your phone company may offer discounted rates if you meet income requirements. These discounts (and sometimes-free lines) only apply to landlines. To see if you qualify to receive free cellphone service, check out Lifeline and choose your state from the drop down menu.

Groceries: According to an article in USA Today by Nanci Hellmich, the average family spends anywhere between $600 and $1200 a month on groceries. While the thriftiest families can spend closer to $400 a month, this can still be a big budget eater if you do not want to spend many hours couponing. There are several solutions including WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) and Food Stamps. Both services provide a stipend to help offset the cost of groceries. You can also get help from a local food pantry or church.

Debt: Many families struggle to pay their bills each month because they are swimming in debt. Student loans, car payments, credit card bills and medical bills take a toll. Some debts, like student loans, take a long time to pay off. If you are having a difficult time paying your debts, do not stop paying your bills. If you need help with debt, find a free credit counselor. Avoid settling your debt because it will damage your credit. You will save more money working with the companies yourself to come up with a manageable payment arrangement.

There is nothing to be ashamed of if you need a little help getting back on your feet. If you get help, remember to use any extra money to set aside an emergency fund and pay off debt and you will soon be self-reliant.

*USA Today article: 5:27 p.m. EDT May 1, 2013 – Cost of feeding a family of four: $146 to $289 a week

17 thoughts on “Getting Help with Your Bills

  1. Be careful with applying for subsidized rent if you are already living somewhere you like. For example, we aren’t section 8 compliant landlords because it ends up being a bit more work for us, and many landlords are in a similar situation. If your landlord is not section 8 compliant, but a reasonable human being you might be able to negotiate a lower bill in exchange for doing some upkeep. We’ve done that once or twice for a very limited time.

  2. I’m always amazed at how many programs allow a fairly decent income to participate. We all need some kind of help once in awhile, and if you need it, you should use it (without abusing it of course). Another thought on housing…even if you don’t qualify for subsidized housing, you may be eligible for low or moderate income housing programs (either rental or purchase).
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…How to React When Your Adult Child Asks for HelpMy Profile

  3. These sound like really helpful options to explore. Like Kay said, it’s tough when debt has such an impact on monthly bills that everything becomes hard to pay. We experienced this ourselves, but weren’t eligible for financial help because our joint income just exceeded the criteria that would allow us financial assistance. So we had to struggle on and concentrate on getting the debts cleared. Things became much easier once they were gone.
    Hayley @ Disease Called Debt recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #112My Profile

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  5. Love this. There is so much stigma around these programs. And they’re shouldn’t be. Humbling yourself enough to get on them can turn your life around. Some states make it really hard to get off of them, but if you keep plugging away they can be a way to a better life. I saw that also feature child care options for parents. Which made me really happy. Also, if you’re low income, apply for FAFSA and get on your way to school and a higher income. If you can’t go to a traditional college, community college is covered by the full Pell grant, and usually then some.
    Femme Frugality recently posted…Around the World in 80 Books: Pakistan (Pashtun)My Profile

  6. Thank you for this enlightening article. The saddest story is that the people who are finding it difficult to pay their bills are too ashamed to share their struggles; as a result most of them are faced with poverty in the so called “rich countries.” A recent report highlighted “energy poverty” as the greatest challenge these people face – the inability to pay basic energy bills.
    Esther@Moneynuggets recently posted…The Beginner’s Guide to Personal LoansMy Profile

    • Absolutely. The reason so many people continue to support things like government assistance is because we believe sometimes people just need a hand to get through tough times. If we all believed it was constantly being abused, who would support it?

  7. This one definitely opens the eyes and pulls the heart strings. Being a teacher, I’ve seen and heard many heart breaking stories. Those plastic credit cards can be more trouble than help sometime, especially when folks find themselves in a bind, and whip it out. Once in my life, I lost my job and was in a mess. Took too many years to straighten it all out, never again. But our economy is not the best.
    All too often, we need to revisit the simplicity of “frugal living”, it’s a good state to live in, less stress, and often times we’ll be able to hang on to a few dollars at the end of the month.

    Good stuff, thanks for sharing!
    Brad recently posted…Student Loans and MarriageMy Profile

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