Financial Help for Hard Times

Money Squeeze

Below you will find resources gathered by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) to help you through financially tough times.

Resources By Topic:
Budgeting | Credit & Debt | Cutting Costs | Health Benefits | Mortgage Assistance
Scams | Support Programs | Taxes | Unemployment

Budgeting and Managing Money

Budgeting and managing money during tough times is crucial. Find links to resources below to help you.

Budgeting Tips and Worksheet (pdf)
Source: Financial Planning Association
Tips and worksheets for developing a budget.

Budget Building
Practical Money Skills
Tips on how to build a tight budget.
Tips for Saving On A Tight Budget
Source: America Saves
You can save money - even on tight budgets.

Credit and Debt Assistance

Paying off or keeping up with large amounts of debt can be difficult when finances are limited. Learn more about assistance available and what to do if you are over your head in debt.

If You Can't Make Credit Card Minimum Payment
Tips on what to do if you can't make the minimum payment on your credit card.

Find A Local Credit Counselor
Source: National Foundation for Credit Counseling
There are certified credit counselors near you who can help you. Search for a local credit counselor.

How to Deal With Creditors
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Dealing with creditors can be difficult and stressful, especially after the loss of a job.
Debt Consolidation
Source: American Institute of CPAs
Advantages and disadvantages of debt consolidation.

Coping with Debt
Source: Federal Trade Commission
If you are overwhelmed by debt, learn about some of the options available to you.

Repairing Bad Credit
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Credit cannot be repaired overnight. Learn how to help yourself and how to spot scams.

Cutting Costs

One of the first things you need to do when finances become tighter is cut spending. Find creative ways to cut costs on utilities, groceries, and entertainment.

66 Ways to Save Money (pdf)
Source: Consumer Literacy Consortium
66 ways you can start saving money today.

Saving Money on Groceries
Tips on how to save money when grocery shopping.

Save on Energy Costs
Source: Puget Sound Energy
Tips on how to save on your energy bill.

Save Money on Your Utilities
Tips on how to save on your utility bills.
Save Money at The Gas Pump
Source: Federal Trade Commission
How to save on gas.

Save Money on Phone, Internet, TV
Source: Kipliner Magazine
Tips on how to save money.

More Resources and Tips
Source: America Saves
Resources and tips on how to save money.

Health Care Coverage and Retirement Benefits

Many unemployed workers worry about their retirement and insurance coverage. Below are links to resources and health care coverage resources.

Can't Afford Health Coverage?
Source: Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Information for those who can't afford health care coverage.

Retirement and Health Care Coverage
Source: Department of Labor
Q&A’s about retirement and health care coverage for dislocated workers.

Health Coverage and Retirement Benefits
Source: Department of Labor
Helpful information about health care coverage and retirement benefits.
Pension Benefits After Job Loss
Source: Department of Labor
Tips on protecting your pension and health care benefits after a job loss.

Making Smart Decisions After Job Dislocation (pdf)
Source: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
Information about making smart decisions with your finances and retirement accounts after a job loss.

Mortgage Assistance and Options

Foreclosure is a stressful situation for those who must go through it. If you are having trouble making your monthly mortgage payment, seek help right away.

Mortgage Assistance and Counseling
Source: Washington Department of Financial Institutions
Counseling and assistance for Washington residents who are having trouble making payments.
Loan Modification Services - Caution
Source: Washington Department of Financial Institutions
Be cautious of someone offering to help modify the terms of your home loan.

Scams - Beware

Even though your finances are tight, fraudsters will still try to part you from your money. Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Job Hunting Scams
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Information about how to protect yourself from a job search scam.

Work at Home Scams
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Beware of work at home scams that sound too good to be true.
Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams
Source: Washington Department of Financial Institutions
Information about foreclosure rescue scams and what to look for.

AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center
Source: AARP
If you or a loved one feels you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact the AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center toll-free at 1-800-646-2283. Trained volunteers are ready to assist.

Support and Assistance Programs

Links to information about some of the support and assistance programs available to Washington residents.

DSHS Support Programs
Source: Washington Department of Social and Health Services
Information about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other support programs available from DSHS.

Mortgage Assistance and Counseling
Source: Washington Department of Financial Institutions
Counseling and assistance for Washington residents who are having trouble making payments.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Source: Washington Department of Commerce
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded block grant intent is to assist low income households in meeting their immediate home energy needs.

Washington State Employee Assistance Program
Source: Washington State Department of Enterprise Services
The Washington State Employee Assistance Program provides resources and assistance for state employees who may be experiencing tough times.


The loss of a job can create new tax issues. Learn more about filing taxes while unemployed and services for low income tax payers.

Tax Impact Of Job Loss (pdf)
Source: IRS
The loss of a job may create new tax issues for you. Learn more from the IRS.

Unemployment Compensation
Source: IRS
Information from the IRS about unemployment compensation.
VITA Program: Free Tax Help
Source: IRS
Help for low- to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. 

Earned Income Tax Credit
Source: IRS
The EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate incomes.

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits may be available to you. Find out if you are eligible.

Washington Unemployment Benefits
Source: Washington Employment Security Department
Information about filing for unemployment benefits in Washington state.