guidebook module: Budgeting

Everything Credit

  • Melinda Burns with Adult Education at Wildwood Programs provides this 16-minute introductory webinar on Everything Credit where she answers key questions related to building credit and maintaining a credit history. If you have questions regarding credit, this is an important place to start before jumping into the additional resources identified here.

Everything Credit - Introduction

  • A free copy of your credit report can be requested annually from each credit reporting company using the link below.

Annual Credit

  • Hands on Banking provides many free resources to help with understanding credit scores and how to establish credit for living independently in an apartment or home. Included in the What is Credit? link below is a brief video explaining credit as well as an overview of the risk and benefits of establishing and maintaining credit. The second link also includes a video explaining how a credit score is determined along with written recommendations for how to improve your credit score. Finally, the third link provides a video explaining the basics of credit reports along with written instructions on how to access and review your personal credit report.

What is Credit?
Your Credit Score
Your Credit Report

  • Better Money Habits is a free online resource through the Bank of America in partnership with Khan Academy that provides videos and brief summaries of many topics related to financial wellness. At the link below, you can access several videos, infographics, and brief written summaries on many topics related to building and maintaining an excellent credit score.

Better Money Habits - Credit

  • Melinda Burns with Adult Education at Wildwood Programs offers this comprehensive 40-minute video presentation on everything related to credit. In this webinar, she provides answers to several important questions, including what is a credit history?, what is a credit score?, and how can you improve both?

Improving Your Credit History

Emergency Financial Supports

  • Melinda Burns with Adult Education at Wildwood Programs provides this 18-minute introductory webinar on Emergency Financial Supports that may be available to you if you are eligible. If you have questions regarding what types of support are available as well as how you can qualify, this webinar is a good starting point before jumping into the additional resources identified here.

Emergency Financial Supports - Introduction

  • The New York Housing Resource Center (NYHRC) provides information on financial resources for independent living, including short video introductions on several public benefits (e.g. SSI, SSDI, etc.). These videos are helpful in providing a brief overview of specific benefits based upon your need or interest. Additionally, the presentation slides and links are made available for further investigation.

NYHRC - Financial Resources page

  • LawNY provides several articles sharing general legal guidance on a variety of public benefits and emergency financial supports, including SNAP, HEAP, and other public assistance. Commonly asked questions regarding emergency assistance, DSS, and fair hearings are covered.

Public Benefits

  • The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) administered by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assurance (OTDA) helps with paying heating and cooling bills for those who are income eligible. Eligibility for both regular and emergency benefits, as well as application instructions, can be found at the following link.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps with food purchases for those who are income eligible. Further information can be found at the USDA link or NYS OTDA link below.

SNAP - New York State OTDA

  • Disability Rights New York provides a closed-captioned video overview of Unemployment Insurance during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, they provide a written fact sheet that outlines eligibility for unemployment and how to claim benefits.

UI and COVID-19 Video
Unemployment Benefits Fact Sheet

  • A Community Action program is located in each county of the state and receives funding to combat poverty by providing services and supports to those who are income eligible. The link below provides a list of these agencies by county with individual links to each agency website.

NYS Community Action Programs

  • Independent Living Centers (ILC) provide an array of free services for people with disabilities, including benefits advisement and housing assistance. The first link below will direct you to the state directory in order to identify the ILC nearest to you. The additional links provide a brief, written overview of services offered by ILCs in both English and Spanish.

Independent Living Centers Directory
Independent Living Services Brochure
Centros Vivos Independientes

Budgeting for Your Place

  • Melinda Burns with Adult Education at Wildwood Programs provides this 20-minute introductory webinar on Budgeting for Your Place. She highlights key principles to consider when budgeting for your own apartment or home, including why a budget is important, how to make a budget, and what to do with your budget once it is setup.

Budgeting for Your Place - Introduction

  • provides a brief overview of the importance of having a monthly budget. This overview includes some written information along with a brief video (less than 2 minutes) highlighting a budgeting scenario. Additionally, the budgeting tool below can be printed or used electronically to make a monthly budget using income and expenses.

Making a Budget
Make a Budget worksheet

  • Better Money Habits offers multiple free resources on budgeting tips at the link below, including a step-by-step guide to manage bills, tips on how to stop impulse buying, and a brief video highlighting options for people who don’t like to budget.

Budgeting Tips

  • Hands on Banking offers the following information on renter’s (and homeowner’s) insurance that is important to review when shopping for insurance for your new apartment. Included below are also resources they provide to guide you through your decision to start looking for an apartment, including budget considerations.

Renting an Apartment

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers many free resources for people to learn about budgeting and managing their finances. The full Your Money, Your Goals Toolkit is available to download in English, Spanish, or Chinese at the link below, and it includes 43 separate tools and handouts to help make decisions on a variety of financial topics. Additionally, these tools are available separately at the website below if you prefer to look at specific topics.

Your Money, Your Goals Toolkit - Main Page

  • CFPB also offers a companion guide to the Your Money, Your Goals Toolkit for people with disabilities. It offers 11 additional tools with tips and information so that everyone can be supported to live their best financial life. One of the tools that is offered is a monthly budget planner which can be completed electronically or printed. There is also a tool offered for calculating SSI payments based upon work income.

Your Money, Your Goals - Companion Guide for People with Disabilities
Monthly Budget Tool
SSI Estimator Tool

Saving for the Future

  • Melinda Burns with Adult Education at Wildwood Programs provides this 22-minute introductory webinar on Saving for the Future. In this webinar, Melinda highlights why saving is important when you are seeking to live independently as well as methods to consider when creating your savings plan.

Saving for the Future - Introduction

  • Better Money Habits provides a wide range of free resources on savings strategies and emergency savings tips. At the link below, you will find tips on how to get started with saving, simple saving strategies, and a video on how to start an emergency fund.

Savings Strategies

  • Hands on Banking provides the following resource that provides written recommendations on the ABCs of budgeting and saving for the future.

Budgeting and Saving

  • The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council provides this brief video overview of ABLE accounts and NY ABLE.

New York ABLE Act

  • The ABLE National Resource Center is a source of independent information and guidance on tax-advantaged ABLE savings accounts. The following link will connect you with their Roadmap to Enrollment, which walks through each step of eligibility and setup using videos, fact sheets, and brief written guidance.

Roadmap to Enrollment

  • CFPB offers the following tool on setting up an ABLE account as part of its Your Money, Your Goals companion guide for people with disabilities. The tool can be printed or completed electronically, and it allows you to walk through the eligibility requirements and steps for starting your savings through an ABLE account.

Tool - Setting up an ABLE Account

  • Disability Rights New York provides a closed-captioned video overview of the Plan to Achieve Self-Support, or PASS plans, which allow social security recipients to save towards work-related goals and reduce their countable income.

Plan to Achieve Self-Support

  • Cornell University hosts the following website with basic information about PASS plans. Additionally, the website provides a PASS plan application with hints to assist in completing the application. Once finished, applicants can print the completed application to send to the Social Security Administration for review.

PASS Online - Cornell University

  • The Monroe Housing Collaborative hosts this guide on how to save and build assets using a Plan to Achieve Self-Support. The guide was originally produced as part of a series of publications by New York Makes Work Pay for people with disabilities, and it includes step-by-step instructions for navigating the setup process.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support

Module Quick Links

How to Use the Guidebook  |  Living in Your Own Place |  Leases and Rental Agreements  |  Homeownership  |  Acknowledgment