Deal Finder: Tips to Survive unexpected Financial Challenges
By LaTina Emerson, The Shopper Deal Finder
Recent times have many people thinking twice about what would happen if they didn’t receive their next paycheck.
According to a survey by Bankrate, only 40 percent of Americans have enough money in savings to pay an unexpected $1,000 expense.
If you’re affected by difficult financial times now or in the future, here are some tips to survive economic hardship:
Contact Local Nonprofits for Food and Other Needs
If you need assistance with food, clothing or other needs, local nonprofit organizations are available to provide assistance. Here are a few:
• Coweta Community Food Pantry/One Roof Ecumenical Alliance Outreach, 255 Temple Ave., Newnan, 770-683-7705
The Coweta Community Food Pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. The pantry provides family food boxes with canned goods and bread, in addition to milk, cereal and fruit for children. To receive the items, bring a photo ID with current address or additional proof of address and a government ID for each family member.
One Roof Ecumenical Alliance Outreach also gives clothing and household items to families in need and provides assistance with rent, utilities and medication. The organization also provides temporary housing for homeless individuals and families. For more information, visit https://oneroofoutreach.org.
• The Salvation Army, 670 Jefferson St., Newnan, 770-251-8181
The Salvation Army offers a food pantry, clothing assistance, social services, utility assistance and rental/mortgage assistance. Food pantry hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and donation hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Bridging the Gap, 19 First Ave., Newnan, 770-683-9110
Bridging the Gap provides food, clothing and ministry to those in need. The Feeding the Hungry program offers a hot meal on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, shower and laundry facilities, counseling and referral services, a clothing closet and food distribution. A drive-up food bank is offered on Saturdays that provides food and other necessities, such as toothpaste and detergent. For more information, visit http://www.btgcommunity.org.
• First Baptist Church, 15 W. Washington Street, Newnan, 770-253-0797
The Alpha Omega Mission Center, located behind First Baptist Church, is a ministry of First Baptist Church and the Western Baptist Association. The center provides food, clothing and assistance to those in need. It operates Monday through Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Individuals needing assistance should arrive between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m. They will provide background information for the center’s records and speak with a worker to determine their needs.
Apply for Assistance
If you’re unemployed, contact the Georgia Department of Labor at 770-836-6668 or visit 275 Northside Drive in Carrollton, Ga. to see if you’re eligible for unemployment benefits. (The Department of Labor in Newnan closed its doors in 2017, and employment services for Coweta residents are now offered in Carrollton.)
If you need help getting food to feed your family, visit these local organizations:
• Coweta County WIC & Nutrition Center, 70 Hospital Road, Newnan, 706-298-6080
The Coweta County WIC & Nutrition Center program is available to low to moderate income pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, breastfeeding women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk. Fathers can also bring their children to apply. The service is available for those working and unemployed. WIC provides special checks to buy healthy foods, such as milk, eggs, bread, cereal, juice, peanut butter and more, from WIC-authorized vendors.
• Coweta County Division of Family and Children Services, 533 Highway 29 North, Newnan, 770-254-7234
To apply for food stamps, Medicaid, TANF or childcare, contact the customer contact center at 1-877-423-4746.
Cut Household Costs
Save money on your monthly expenses by contacting your telephone (landline and cell phone), cable and utility companies and negotiating cheaper rates. For instance, ask your gas company if you can get a lower price per therm. Also, try to reduce your cable bill by eliminating some channels or getting a bundle package. Or, you might consider getting rid of cable service completely and using alternative viewing options, such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
If you’re in good standing with your credit card company, call to see if you can lower your monthly interest rate, which could help you save money in the long run.
Seek Assistance From Your Bank or Credit Union
Several banking companies have rolled out assistance programs to help clients affected by the recent government shutdown:
Wells Fargo will consider reversing overdraft fees for customers whose income has been disrupted by the shutdown. Also, mortgage, loan and credit customers may qualify for forbearance or other payment assistance programs. Solutions will depend on the individual’s situation and needs. For more information, call 1-800-219-9739, the bank’s customer assistance line for affected federal government employees, or visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/help/government-shutdown.
Bank of America will offer assistance to clients based on their circumstances. This assistance may include fee waivers and loan modifications. For more information, clients can call 1-844-219-0690 or schedule an appointment with a banking specialist.
Chase clients can call the banking company’s special care line at 1-888-356-0023 to receive assistance with their Chase mortgage, credit card or car loan during the government shutdown. For more information, visit https://www.chase.com/digital/resources/government-shutdown?jp_aid_a=66809288&jp_aid_p=chasehome_3/trip3.
Citi will assist customers who are federal employees impacted by the government shutdown. Citibank will refund monthly service or overdraft bank fees for these customers with direct deposit to a Citibank account, and banking customers may be eligible for fee adjustments. Eligible Citi Cards holders in good standing can qualify for refunds or waivers of late fees, interest charge waivers, credit line increases and collection forbearance and settlement programs. CitiMortgage customers can receive assistance such as short-term forbearance programs, repayment plans and loan modifications. To find out more about these programs, call Citi Cards at 1-800-950-5114, Citibank at 1-888-248-4226 and CitiMortgage at 1-877-211-3758.
Some credit unions are offering interest-free loans to those affected by the shutdown. If other companies handle your banking or loan needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to them during difficult financial times and ask if assistance is available.