Finding help with utility bills in Illinois
Illinois residents who feel like they're paying too much for utilities have some options available to help reduce monthly utility payments.
Debt reduction companies and the FTC
The FTC warns about sketchy business, and it will take legal action if needed.
How to Claim Residential Energy Tax Credit
The tax credit is only eligible to those individuals who install the products as a replacement.
Improving Your Credit
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How Do I Avoid Bankruptcy?
Declaring bankruptcy can destroy your credit history, cause you to lose your property or other assets and make receiving future loans difficult, so it should be taken seriously.
Help With Cell Phone Bills
Are there strange charges on your cellular bill? You may be able to dispute some of those charges with this approach.
Car Financing Options
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Getting Approved for an Unsecured Loan
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How to Report Taxable Gains and Losses on Stock
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Paring Down the Family Budget
Paring Down the Family Budget
on February 25, 2010
Nothing could be as difficult for a family as to have the breadwinner lose their job(s). The financial burden that is created can make it almost unbearable for everyone in the family.
Sometimes, we can also get in over our heads with our debts, spending more money each month than is being brought into the home. Other factors too, can cause development of things out of our immediate control, mainly a sudden illness and its
Before we know it, these bills start arriving, and we are faced with trying to pay each and every one of them. Most of us try and keep up, valiantly, faithfully and dutifully paying the minimum payment each month just barely staying afloat. This is not only a scary situation for you, it also strains other members of your family and they too become stressed out. I even had my son offer to get a job just to help us out. As nice as that was, it would have stressed him out further, which could affect his school and other activities.
What can we do? Well one of the best ways, without going further into debt, is to go through our other monthly expenses and try to pare them down some.
First, it is absolutely important to call creditors and explain your situation to them. As long as you keep communications open between you and your lenders, they are much less likely to take action against you. Be honest! You may find that some of them will not only work with you to keep your possessions, but may even do such things as
lowering your monthly payment
until your situation improves. Some may even help by giving what is commonly referred to as an extension of one or more payments. This involves taking the payments that are coming due and moving them to the end of the contract, giving us a brief reprieve for that month. The problem with this is that most companies will only allow a finite number of these payments to be “extended”, and they must be requested BEFORE the payment is due. I have personally not found a lender that allows late, overdue payments an extension. Also, you will be charged for this service, some of them can be quite high fees too, which increase your burden in the long run. We must consider carefully, in this case, what we want and/or need to do.
After we have completed this, it is now imperative for us to take a look at other expenses that can be cut. Many of us will find that there are many areas where we can cut expenses. Little things, will add up, giving us more money to save or pay on other larger bills. Some examples might be as simple as turning off light in unused rooms, also rooms that are not used you can close off the cooling system, this can make the air conditioner run less, saving some money on electricity. Another note on air conditioners, if you live in a more northern, cooler climate, turn your system off at night and perhaps opt for just having the ceiling fans do the job! Another small option would be in the warmer months, cook your meals on your outdoor grill,
saving even more on electric bills
. I have also found that if I do my dishes by hand not only saves electricity, it saves water. Automatic dishwashers are monsters on both of those resources. And, I have found that washing clothes in cold water, is a great way to save, the clothes get just as clean too!
In the end, perhaps you can find more ways to save money for your bills. But remember to talk to your creditors honestly about your situation; they will help you if they can. There are several options they may offer you to help with your situation.
Good luck and success to you!
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