Nobody wants to end up there. There’s more month left at the end of the money. You’ve cut your expenses as much as you can. You’ve sold what you can without getting rid of everything. A second job just isn’t an option. Let’s face it, your ends don’t meet. Asking for financial help can feel embarrassing and like you are admitting defeat. But guess what? It isn’t. This is temporary. Whatever financial help looks like for you, it’s temporary. Also know that there are a lot of different forms of financial help. Here are some that we have used and some that we haven’t but are options for some people. There is no shame in needing and asking for help when you are in a season of struggling.
Student loan repayment options
We have personally had to make use of both deferment and forbearance at times. This isn’t great in the long run. My loan is getting paid off at a decent rate but we now owe more on my husband’s than when he graduated because of using deferment twice. There is also income-based repayment. This is an option we still use. My husband has a lot of student loans. We just can’t afford the full monthly payment on one income. Each year we submit that year’s tax return and they calculate our payment based on that. If we had a year where he had a ton of storm work (ie. made a lot more money one month than he normally does), we also submit a letter stating that fact and copies of the last four weeks of paycheck stubs. They also take into account family size.
This is also something we are currently using. Baby formula is more than we can afford in a month. It would be a situation of either the baby eats or we eat. Since we qualify for full WIC benefits right now, we do take full advantage of that. As I am past the time period post baby and my oldest will be five in March, we only have a few months to have those full benefits. In March, it will be just the baby so we won’t get all the milk, cereal, juice, etc. we get now. It may seem like not much but just not paying for milk, juice, peanut butter, etc. saves us $40-50/month. WIC covering formula equals $170/month. This is a huge help for us. If you are pregnant or have children under 5, be sure to look into this program. Unlike most state programs, you can have a fairly high monthly income and still qualify.
This is far more than just health insurance, but that is very helpful if you qualify. I did make use of my state’s version of Medicare when I was pregnant with my second baby (we don’t qualify normally). Considering it turned into a high risk pregnancy and delivery, I’m so glad I did that. The medical bills, after insurance, would have been well over $10,000, probably closer to $20,000 or $30,000. But beyond health insurance, there are other state programs that can help you out. If you live in a cold weather state, there is most likely help with heating oil.
There is also often help with child care expenses if you do need it. Food stamps are hard to qualify for in my state but those can be a huge help for a number of families. I know that food is one of my family’s biggest monthly expenses, even with sales and coupons. Sometimes there are programs through your town as well. Check your town office to see what resources might be available to you.Asking for financial help is sometimes necessary. Check out these tips to find resources. Click To Tweet
Did you know that many companies have programs in place to help with certain things like daycare expenses? Some bigger companies have agreements with certain places to offer discounts for their employees. My husband used to get 10% off tires at a local chain, just because he worked for the company he does. Sometimes these discounts are for things you can’t afford right now anyway, like gym memberships, but sometimes they are very helpful.
This is my last resort option. And also why it is important to keep an emergency fund. In the past, we have had to borrow money from family for emergency car repairs. If you are really, really stuck, let your family know. Maybe they can’t help out with big expenses but maybe they can buy you groceries one week or give you a gas gift card. Or maybe their schedule is flexible and they can watch your children so you can get a second job. Most families want to help when and how they can. I do say this is my last resort, though. Why? Sometimes owing money to family or even if it is a gift you don’t need to pay it back, can have strings attached. It can cause tense relationships. That isn’t to say it always does. Every family is different. Only you know what the outcome might be.
There are other programs such as the food pantry, your church, etc. that you can also take advantage of. Sometimes, you just need to ask the right person and you’ll find a wealth of information of temporary financial help. Asking for financial help can feel like a failure or can even be embarrassing. When ends don’t meet, you sometimes have no choice but to ask for help. The ways I have listed are just some of the methods out there. If you truly need help, do not be afraid to ask. Know that this help is temporary and some day you will be back on your feet and can help pay it forward to another family that is struggling!
If you are looking for more encouragement during a tough financial time, I highly suggest the book “More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Financially Frustrated.” It’s amazing! Erin talks about the hard years of when they were barely making it and needed government aid. Available for preorder now, being released September 5th.