General Budget Advice


Living on a reduced income requires your utmost caution and skill in managing your money.  There are many resources to help you, but first you must plan ahead.

  • Set up a realistic budget plan allowing for basic needs such as: food, shelter, utilities and medical care. 
  • Prioritize your bills.  When you do not have enough money to pay all the bills, pay these first: rent or mortgage, utilities, food and transportation.
  • Before your bills become due, notify your creditors, lenders and/or landlord that you are unemployed and cannot meet your payments.  Explain your situation truthfully and ask for a written payment plan or discuss other ways to pay off your obligations.  .
  • Maintain accurate files.  Before mailing your letters, make copies to keep for your files.  If you must negotiate over the phone, keep detailed notes including the representative’s name, title, and phone number.  Follow up any phone conversations in writing.
  • Stay organized.  Keep everything in one place.  Write a summary list of your financial plan for quick reference. 
  • Keep your end of the bargain.  If you are unable to make agreed upon payments, contact your creditors immediately to renegotiate.
  • Avoid making unnecessary purchases on credit.
  • Get budget counseling if you are having difficulty.  For financial counseling, debt management and consumer education, call:

Action for Boston Community Development

Credit Advising and Financial Coaching


  • If you need help with a consumer problem contact:

MA Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline

(617) 727-8400