How to Find Financial Help

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When you find yourself facing financial hardships and you're not sure how to get what you need or pay your debts, there are places where you can find help. Two major kinds of financial help are available to people seeking it. The first is counseling and education offered by professionals who can teach you how to improve your financial situation. The second is money offered through grants and loans. This money can cover expenses that you can't cover, which can improve your access to needed resources and relieve stress.

Financial Counseling

Choose a nonprofit organization that can help you learn to better manage your finances, especially if you have difficulty budgeting or meeting your obligations. A list of counseling services is available in Resources.

Make an appointment to meet with a debt counseling professional.

Go to the appointment with copies of your most recent tax returns, your grocery receipts, your rent or mortgage bills, your utility bills, your car payment, your medical bills, and copies of any other bills that you pay on a regular basis. The more information you can provide to the counselor about your financial situation, the better.

Explain the problems you have with managing your money. If you find it difficult to stick to a budget, tell the counselor that so they understand the cause of the problem. If you believe your income isn't high enough, explain that to the counselor.

Discuss options for improvement and try to implement the counselor's suggestions in your daily life. Set up a meeting for three months after the first meeting to check in and see what changes you need to make to the original debt-management plan.

Grants, Loans, and Gifts

Determine what kind of financial help you need. If you need help with medical bills, for example, the people you'd approach would be different than those you'd approach for help with mortgage payments.

Gather copies of all your bills relating to the expense you're seeking help with. You should also make copies of your other bills and income statements so the people you need help from can understand the extent of the help you'll need.

Approach organizations dedicated to helping people in your situation. Hospitals always have programs set up to help low-income families, but you could also talk to charitable foundations centered on specific diseases about making contributions to your medical care. If you need help with food, rent or medical bills, contact YMCA organizations, churches, or social service agencies. If you're having difficulty meeting your mortgage payments or if you need help with rent, talk to your local housing authority. Finding the right people or organization to approach for financial help increases your chances of getting the help.

Ask the organization if can help you. Show them proof that you need help, explain that you think you'll need help for a certain amount of time. Tell them why you need help, and explain what you'll do to improve your situation after they help you, if it is something you can improve.

Thank them whether they can help you or not and keep trying to find financial help if your first attempt fails. There are many organizations, government programs and individuals who will help you with expenses you can't pay, but finding the right one who is willing to work with you can be a challenge.