The Wayne Township Trustee Office offers our clients temporary financial assistance and guidance in economical living. We focus on meeting life’s basic necessities such as food, shelter, essential utility services, clothing, medical care, and burial.
Suggestions for reducing expenses
Turn off lights and other appliances when not in use. Turn fans off when no one is in the room. Reduce your water usage by fixing leaky toilets and faucets. Insulating your hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency. A tank that is warm to the touch needs additional insulation. Cook and eat at home. Buy food with a longer shelf life in bulk if you can get a better price. Buy less junk food. Drink water instead of soda, fruit punch or beer. Use coupons and watch for sales. Consider ‘layaway’ over credit card purchases. Shop at thrift stores. Cut back or quit smoking. In winter use a lower heat setting, and wear layers of clothing such as sweaters and long underwear. Get under a warm blanket while watching television.
Change furnace filters regularly. Close off seldom-used rooms and close the heating vents inside. Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes. Open curtains on south-facing windows during the day to allow solar radiation to warm the living space. Close curtains at night to slow down the escape of heat. Pay for shelter and utilities as soon as income is available. Don’t put these off with the intent of catching up later. Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.
Much of the money that a typical family spends on their home energy bills is wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances, or inefficient heating and cooling systems. Air leaks are among the greatest sources of energy loss in a home. One of the quickest energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside. A home energy audit will show a picture of the home’s energy use. The audit can help you determine where your home is losing energy, and which problem areas and fixes you should prioritize to make your home more efficient and comfortable.
Access MyBrightpoint.org for information on their numerous assistance programs. Their Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay a portion of an individual or family’s winter heating bills. Brightpoint’s Weatherization Assistance Program offers a home energy audit and energy efficiency upgrades to residential dwellings. They have other programs which you might find useful.
If you are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage payment each month, consider housing that is based on your income. Make use of government programs, such as those offered through the Fort Wayne Housing Authority (fwha.org).
During tax time, use free tax preparation services.
Monitor your financial accounts. Be careful to avoid overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees. Incurring an overdraft fee can be the cause of additional overdraft fees, shrinking the account balance even more. Create a responsible plan for using debit and credit cards, and stick to it. It’s easy to forget about the small amounts put on the cards. Not monitoring these amounts can result in an unpleasant surprise when the statement arrives. View your statement, paying attention to each purchase.
Determine if there were any unnecessary purchases, and eliminate such purchases in the future. When making a purchase, if you think, “I know I shouldn’t”, then don’t make the purchase!
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, provided this counsel, “There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important as living within your means.” Make adjustments to live within your means; spend based on your earning power.