Some of our clients have very little income and do a good job of managing the little that they have. Some have more income and may not manage it well. I’d like to offer some words of advice.
Monitoring financial activity can result in improved finances. Most financial accounts can be monitored online or by phone. Daily monitoring provides opportunities to correct problems as they occur.
Be careful to avoid overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees. Financial institutions charge these when there’s not enough money in an account to cover a check or debit card purchase. It can be very difficult to bring your account back into a positive standing, or maintain a positive balance after an overdraft fee has been charged to the account. Incurring an overdraft fee can be the cause of additional overdraft fees, resulting in a downward spiraling of an account balance.
Create a responsible plan for using debit and credit cards, and stick to it. It’s easy to forget about the very small amounts put on the cards. Not monitoring these amounts can result in an unpleasant surprise when the statement arrives. Review the statement, paying attention to each purchase and to the ending balance. Determine if there were any unnecessary purchases, and eliminate such purchases in the future.
Pay for necessities such as food, shelter, and utilities as soon as income is available. Don’t put this off with the intent of catching up later.
Housing or shelter usually takes a large portion of one’s income. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage payment or rent each month, you may need to search for more affordable housing. Consider housing that is based on 30% of your income. Make use of government programs such as those offered through the Fort Wayne Housing Authority (fwha.org).
We sometimes have clients who come in with utility bills that have service scheduled to be disconnected. It is very important for clients to request assistance in a timely manner, before the utilities are disconnected or scheduled for shutoff. When utilities are shut off, sometimes the entire bill and an additional deposit must be paid before the utilities will be turned back on. Securing payment for a deposit can be difficult for many of our clients. Don’t let bills pile up month after month before coming in to request assistance.
During this time of the year tax returns get a lot of focus at our office. Clients are advised to use free tax preparation services such as those offered at the American Red Cross, 1212 California Road and at St Mary’s Catholic Church, 1101 S. Lafayette Street. The client’s entire tax refund should be applied onto basic needs, or assistance from our office may be denied.
Call our information line, (260) 449-7000 X312, if you need assistance. When an appointment is desired, individuals should come in on their letter day before 9:00 a.m. Letter days are determined by the first letter of the last name. Assigned letter days are as follows: Monday A-F, Tuesday G-L, Wednesday M-R, and Thursday S-Z. Letter days do not apply when requesting medical or burial assistance.
Take ownership of your successes and failures, and learn from them. When you’ve done a good job of managing your funds, pat yourself on the back. When a setback occurs because of bad choices, do your best to overcome it and make better choices.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
- TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE STEVENSON ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT– Voice Of The Township - December 20, 2019
- LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE – Voice Of The Township - December 6, 2019
- THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS UPON US – Voice Of The Township - November 22, 2019