If you’re a low-income family and your monthly bills are piling up, it can feel like you’re getting steamrolled by the stress of paying your bills. If you have regular bills that you need to pay each month, a reliable source of income may be out of your reach.
The costs of living can be high for low-income families. Housing costs, utilities, car and other expenses can add up fast.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. You just need to know where to look for help. While it may seem impossible right now, over time you can build up a savings account or find a part-time job to become financially self-sufficient as an adult with limited earning potential.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to access financial assistance for bills if you have low income and are a member of an underprivileged family.
In this article, we will discuss the different types of financial assistance available to low-income families and how you can access it if necessary.
What’s Financial Assistance for Bills?
Many low-income families qualify for financial assistance for bills. This can include the cost of utilities, phone bills, and prescription medication.
If your income is too low to cover these expenses on your own, you may qualify for help from your utility company or community action program.
If you have a medical condition that requires you to use prescription drugs, you may qualify for assistance with your medication.
What are some options or financial tips if you find yourself in this situation?
– Find free events – You can always look for free events, like community picnics, that are held every few weeks. These events may offer free food or a chance to meet up with friends and meet new people who have similar interests. You can also look online at online classifieds and community forums to see if anyone is hosting free meals or other events.
– Look for free or cheap alternatives – There are many things you can do to cut costs when you’re on a budget. For example, instead of turning on your air conditioner or using your dishwasher, you can learn how to use less water, so you don’t have to turn on the water heater. You can also switch to reusable grocery bags or buy food in bulk and freeze it.
– Shop around – When you’re shopping for groceries, compare prices at different stores that are within 10 minutes of your home. If you have a nearby grocery store that sells your favorite brand at a lower price, shop there and take advantage of the lower prices.
– Make a budget – When you have a budget and keep track of every dime you spend, you can spot where you’re spending more than you have to. Not having enough money to cover your bills is a major stressor. With a budget, you can spot where you have a shortfall and take steps to bring it under control. A budget can also help you identify savings goals, so you can put some money away for a rainy day.
Where to Get Help for Paying Your Bills?
– Utility companies – If you have low income and your bill is too high, your local utility company may be willing to help you. Some companies offer reduced rates for those who are on a fixed income like Social Security or disability payments.
– Credit unions – Most credit unions offer low-interest loans or lines of credit. You may qualify for a low fee or no fee at all depending on your income.
– Low-income health plans – If you have a low income and need health insurance, you may qualify for low-cost or free coverage through Medicaid or the Health Exchange. Check with your local Medicaid office or the website for free health insurance.
– Use Payday loans – There are many possibilities for short-term loans, some of which might provide borrowers with cheap interest rates and/or affordable costs. Families might use a payday loan online no credit check organization in order to seek support for paying bills, rent, and other obligations.
In general, a lot of these choices ought to be made as a last resort after exhausting all other possibilities. Always read the small print when applying for a payday loan Las Vegas or borrowing money from any lender because the conditions of repayment and interest rates might differ significantly.
– Legal aid – Many states have legal aid programs that can help you with affordable legal fees.
– Debt settlement – If you have high bills and no way to repay them, a debt settlement company may be able to negotiate some of your payments down.
– Food banks – When you visit a food bank, you can pick up a bag of groceries for free that are then distributed to local low-income families. You can also volunteer or donate items to a food bank to help others in need.
– Free food – Many cities and counties have free food programs that distribute free food to low-income families. You can usually find these programs by doing a search online or by visiting your community health department.
– Emergency food stamps – If you need help keeping a fridge stocked with groceries, so you don’t go hungry, consider applying for emergency food stamps from the USDA. You can also search online for emergency food pantries in your area.
– Health insurance – If you don’t have health insurance, and you qualify for low income, you may be able to get Medicaid. You can also try calling your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace or Health Care Connector to see if you qualify for a subsidized plan. You may qualify for a lower rate based on your income.
– Dentist or doctor visits – Some low-income patients are able to pay reduced rates for doctor visits or dental work through programs like the Oregon Health Plan. Look into your state’s programs to see if you qualify.
Childcare & Education
Child care subsidy – If you need help paying for child care, you may qualify for child care assistance through your local community action program or Child Care Resource and Referral.
– Free or reduced-price school lunches – Many states have programs that distribute free or reduced school lunches to low-income students. Find your state’s program and eligibility requirements to see if you qualify.
– Scholarship funding – Many colleges and universities have funds that award grants to students who demonstrate financial need. Find your school and scholarship information to see if you qualify.
Estimate a Monthly Budget and Set Savings Goals
Keep track of every penny you spend, so you know where you stand financially. Ideally, you should have enough money saved to cover your bills and savings goals while still having some money leftover for unexpected expenses.
Find out how much it costs each month to keep the lights on, pay the phone bill, and fill up your gas tank. This is how much you need to save each month. Your goal should be to find a way to bring in some extra money each month.
This could mean applying for a part-time job, selling something on eBay, or finding a way to save.
The Bottom Line
Financial assistance from a low income family can feel like a big deal, but it’s an opportunity to build savings and improve your financial situation. You just need to be willing to work hard to make the most out of the situation.