Monday, May 30, 2016

Dynamic Employment Resources for the Unemployed

 Tax Effects on Unemployment-Job Loss, Benefits, Exclusion

It can be frustrating trying to find help and resources when you have lost your job. Your main goal is trying to figure out how you will pay your bills, explain the layoff to your family and friends and learn how to keep your sanity instead of being depressed.

The key to surviving unemployment is to set goals that can help you gain employment again.  Let everyone you met or know that you are looking for a job. Consider performing volunteer work in your field and add it to your resume. Take free or low cost courses at local community centers, organizations or colleges and add them to your resume. Be prepared to explain any gaps in work experience. Spend time keeping up-to-date with news in your field or industry. During phone screenings or interviews, discuss your and explain how it can benefit the company.

Eliminate the negative thoughts and negative people in your life.  Do not give up hope. Here are some free resources to help those who are currently unemployed or will become unemployed in the near future. Develop a plan of what you hope to accomplish each day towards regaining employment. Spend at least one hour a day on calling companies, submitting resumes, filling out job applications or following up on job leads. Here are some free resources to help you regain employment.

Career Services
1.      Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) – mental health services, home health & hospice care, career services, adoption services, call 301-816-2683 or visit
2.      Career Service One Stop,

Vocational Counseling & Job Placement
Contact your local YMCA for services for divorced, separated, widows and disabled including educational & vocational counseling, job aptitude testing, resume writing, job placement assistance, life skills, computer classes, additional programs for women and families.

Women's Clothing for Interviews
Provides work clothing for women for interviews.

Men's Clothing for Interviews
Career Gear provides clothing, career counseling and workshops for men.

Job Training for the Elderly
1.      Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Office of Special Targeted Programs, Employment & Training Administration program provides training and employment assistance and transition support. Call 202-219-5500.
2.      The Department of Labor Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) provides counseling and training and places elderly workers in part-time and full-time positions call 877-872-5627 (877-US2-JOBS).

Special Government Projects for Retirees, Senior Environment Program (SEE)
1.      American Association of Retired Persons, call 202-434-6153
2.      National Association for Hispanic Elderly, call 213-487-1922
3.      National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, call 202-637-8400
4.      National Council of Senior Citizens, call 202-347-8800
5.      National Council on Aging, call 202-479-1200
6.      National Pacific and Asian Resource Center on Aging, call 206-448-0313
7.      U.S. Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture, Human Resource Programs (SCSEP program), call 703-235-8855

Apprenticeship Jobs
Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, Dept. of Labor provides apprenticeship opportunities

Free Money for Re-training for Dislocated Workers
Provides retraining and assistance for dislocated works including those who worked for the Dept. of Defense, Dept. of Energy and Defense call 202-693-3500.

Veterans' Employment and Training Services
  1. Veterans Employer Representative Program call 202-693-4701.
  2. America Works call 855-840-5627.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stopped Using Your Credit Card: There Is a Fee for That


Due to the recession in 2008 and government shutdown, many banks and financial institutions are still reluctant to extend credit and are afraid of losing money. As a result, they are constantly changing the rules and implementing new guidelines for credit card holders. If you have not used a credit card in the past 6 to 12 months you are at risk for having your account closed or your credit limit reduced. If your limit is reduced or the account is closed, this will lower your credit score. If does not matter what your previous payment history was or what your credit score is.

Many credit card companies are doing this without notifying customers. If you have been a victim of this practice read your credit card disclosure agreement. If you don't have a copy asked the credit card company to send you a copy. Read it carefully. If it is not listed in your credit card disclosure agreement, then call the company and complain. Here are five ways to reduce your chances of having your credit limit reduced or your credit card account closed.

Order a copy of your credit report from If you have already received a copy within the past 12 months you can still order a copy from the website but you will have to pay a small fee of $6 per report from each credit bureau Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

Check balances.
Review your credit card accounts and pay down debt on the cards with the highest balances to prevent the accounts from being closed or the limits reduced. For accounts that have not been used in a while and that have a larger limit, buy something cheap like milk and bread or a pair of socks and pay the bill off right away. Do this every 3 months to show activity on the accounts. 

You may want to close any credit card accounts that have not been used in 1 to 2 years that have a limit of $500 or less and have a zero balance. If you have more than one credit card in this category, you can close one of these types of accounts every year. This will prevent the credit card companies from closing your account and reporting the information on your credit report. This greatly lowers your credit score.

If you have an account that was closed and you use your credit card to make ends meet or pay for necessities, call the credit card company and let them know that you need your credit card.  They should be sympathetic and re-open your account if it was closed or increase your limit if it was reduced. If you are unsuccessful, call back and ask to speak to a supervisor. Follow-up all correspondence in writing. If that fails, file a complaint against the credit card company with the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission.

Find Extra Money.
Sell new and unused items on Amazon, eBay or Craigslist. Get a part-time job and find ways to reduce expenses. This will free up extra money to pay for necessities to make up for the loss of using a credit card that was closed or the limit was reduced.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

15 Dynamic Money Saving Tips for Single Parents

... The Life of a Single Mom MinistriesThe Life of a Single Mom Ministries 
Single parent families struggle more with finances than two-parent families. Child care subsidies and public health insurance help but are not enough.  All single parent families are not eligible to receive public assistance or other benefits. Those that do can only receive assistance for a limited amount of time.  Single parents often struggle with buying basic necessities, paying bills and usually live paycheck to paycheck.   

As a single parent you have to cover all the household expenses and when a financial crisis occurs it can be devastating to your family.  Lack of money to buy your children what they need can be frustrating and cause you to be angry, depressed or irritated.  Avoid taking your frustrations out on your children.  Develop a support system to help you through these difficult times.

Raising children as a single parent can be tough and expensive due to the entire family having to survive on one salary.  Save money by creating a budget and sticking to it, spending less than you earn, create an emergency saving account and be conscious of your budget.  Teach your children the importance of good money management skills. Effectively managing your money has to be a habit and a way of life that you practice every day. 

Get a handle on your situation and develop a plan to reduce expenses. Use the extra money to pay off debts and pay for basic necessities. Tracking your spending can be tedious and frustrating but not tracking it to identity how much you earn, owe and spend can having lasting repercussions. Taking just a few small steps to improve your financial life can make a difference and help you stay in control of your money. Here are 15 practical ways for single parents to save money:

Use your employer on-site daycare if offered.  Find an in-home daycare. For traditional daycare centers sign up for your employers’ flexible spending account that can cover expenses for day care, preschool and summer day camp. You can deposit up to $5,000 in your account. Consider hiring a nanny or explore using a family childcare center such as
Consider purchasing a used car in good condition, trade-in your car for a cheaper one or use car sharing services. Use public transportation, walk, ride a bicycle or consider carpooling with friends or co-workers to save money on transportation costs.
Consider moving to a smaller place, rent out a basement in a home, or move in with relatives to save money.
Reduce spending by 30%. Bundle services, get the cheapest plan possible or cancel services to save money.
Household Items
Purchase household items at discount stores, buy in bulk or shop online at sites such as
Car Insurance
Increase your deductible. If your car is 5 years old or older consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. Comparison shop with sites such as, or Ask about discounts. Remove roadside assistance if you currently have it with another company.  Get a free yearly assessment to ensure you have the adequate amount of coverage.
Health Insurance
Consider going to a dental training school to get discounted dental services. Sign up for at least basic health insurance.  Comparison shop.
Hair care/barber
Maintain your own hair or find a friend who can maintain your hair. Consider going to a training school to get discounted hair care services.
Barter with others or service providers to get free or discounted services
Order prescriptions at Wal-Mart, Target or Walgreens, online or 3 month supplies. Ask for generic brands or low-cost versions of the same prescription.
Purchase generic brand food or food that is filling and inexpensive. Grow your own fruits and vegetables or purchase from local farmers markets, food-coops or health food stores. Purchase meat from farms or Omish markets. Sign up for loyalty cards and use coupons. Buy nuts, grains, spices, legumes at wholesale or health food stores.  Make you own bread, yogurt, pasta, soda, jelly, preservatives, canned fruits, etc.
If you don’t know how to sew, purchase clothes in off season, from clearance racks or outlet or discount stores. Buy washable clothes that do not require dry cleaning.
Downsize your lifestyle. Focus on buying more needs vs. wants.  Avoid purchasing designer items or items just because they are on sale.
Learn how to negotiate. You can negotiate the price on almost any item.
Fun with Kids
Check your local library or newspaper to find free activities that you can do to with your kids.