Tired of dealing with rising prices? You’re not alone. The economy has brought some unpleasant surprises in recent years. And trying the same belt-tightening methods to spend less and save more can only go so far.
But in any economy, there are ways to preserve the hard-earned dollars you have. Too many people suffer in silence because they don’t know about assistance in their community that might be available to them. Even if your finances are in good order, it doesn’t hurt to know about some effective steps to help out should you ever need it.
Take Advantage of Illinois Family Relief Plan & Tax Holidays
While much of the state’s Family Relief Plan was paid out last year, there are still some lingering benefits. For example, there’s still time to take advantage of tax holidays – a temporary cut in taxes, including:
- Groceries: The state’s 1% sales tax on groceries will be suspended July 1 through June 30, 2023, saving consumers $400 million.
- Gas: The state’s normally scheduled increase in the motor fuel tax will be delayed from July 1 to January 2023, saving consumers $70 million.
- Earned Income Credit: In addition, the state permanently expanded its earned income credit. This will put about $100 million back into the pockets of working families each year.
These things can change. Staying on top of the news or doing a quick Google search can be a good way to find out that help is on its way.
Take a Personal Day – per New Illinois Paid Leave Law
If time is money, then Illinois’ recently passed paid leave law should help out a lot of people. As long as you have worked for 90 days, you can get at least one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked – up to 40 hours total. While that’s not the same as cold, hard cash, that time can be used running errands, starting a fun side project, or spending time with a loved one.
Find Out if You Qualify for Illinois Economic Assistance
All states have some form of assistance for those who need it. Illinois is no different. Take a look at some of the many ways our state helps people in need. Maybe you’ll see something you qualify for but didn’t realize it!
For example, as part of the state’s $1.8 billion family relief plan last year, residents began to receive one-time income tax rebates. Homeowners should have received a rebate worth up to $300 if their gross income is under$250,000 (or $500,000 for joint filers). More information about eligibility is available on the Illinois Revenue website.
Get Food Assistance for Children and Adults in Chicago’s South Suburbs
You’ve probably heard of the Chicago Food Depository – a.k.a. Food Bank & Pantries. There are some 700 food pantries throughout the Chicagoland area. But there are other ways to get food assistance, depending on where you live. The Pritzker administration has worked with food banks across Illinois to expand services. In addition, if your circumstances have changed, your children might qualify for free or reduced lunch at their school.
Unfortunately, Emergency SNAP was issued for the last time in February 2023, effectively reducing SNAP/Link Benefits starting in March 2023. If you’re struggling to pay for groceries or put food on the table, reach out to your local government to make sure you’re getting all the help you can.
Follow Smart Personal Finance Do’s and Don’ts, Like Using a Prepaid Debit Card
Hopefully, the tides will turn soon. But in the meantime, take a look at your habits to see if there are any worth breaking. An interest-free prepaid debit card can be a great way to control spending if you have a habit of buying things you don’t truly need. Paying off credit card debt, cutting down on overspending, and creating an emergency fund are all steps you can take to stay on top of your finances and cut down on inflation exhaustion.
Use Financial Services at Chicago’s South Suburban Currency Exchanges (SSCEs)
Throughout your financial journey, keep in mind that Chicago’s South Suburban Community Exchanges (SSCEs) provides many different types of services:
- Help you pay bills on time
- Take care of auto needs
- Open a prepaid debit card
- Cash a check the same day
SSCE is here to serve you. Come in and take care of a broad array of tasks, all under one roof! Find your nearest location or check out our other services online to find out what else we can do for you today.