A PROJECT OF THE County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency

Money Matters

Managing money and stretching it from one paycheck to the next requires planning and decision-making. Money must be used to pay for basic needs before it can be used to buy things you want. Choosing to buy the things you WANT before paying your bills can make you homeless and ruin  your credit. Planning is the key to getting BOTH needs and wants met. In order to budget your money you will need to know several things. Read the articles on the right to learn all about money, finances, and money management.


How to Establish Credit

When you get credit for the first time, you’re just at the start of a continuing process. You actually establish credit, one creditor at a time, by repaying your debts as agreed. Credit is tempting and dangerous…especially when you have little money to do all the things you want to do.

All creditors look at the same thing: your credit worthiness, meaning your ability and willingness to pay your debts. Creditors typically review your credit history and receive a “credit score” from one or more of three major credit reporting agencies (i.e. Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).

To get a free copy of your credit report from all three credit agencies, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

To get credit in California, you must be an emancipated minor, or at least 18 years old. At 18 you are legally bound to honor any contract you sign.


  • Creating a steady work record on a job
  • Always paying your bills on time
  • Never bouncing a check
  • Starting a savings account and a checking account
  • Applying for credit at institutions such as department stores, banks or credit unions (you may need someone to co-sign)
  • Buying something or taking out a loan, then repaying promptly or ahead of time
  • Repaying a student loan ahead of time with a few extra payments

If you are denied credit, find out why. If it’s because of important information supplied by a credit reporting agency, find the problem. Get a free copy of your credit report, as described above. Also, a free credit report can be requested within 30 days of receiving a denial letter for credit. Talk with the companies involved. If you can’t agree, you may file a statement of up to 100 words telling your side of the story.




Need Financial Assistance?

If you are terminated or laid off from your job, you may be eligible for State Unemployment Benefits. Call the Employment Development Department (EDD) Unemployment Insurance Office 1-800-300-5616 or go on line to http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/

If you lost your job because of a job related illness or injury, you may be eligible for Workers Compensation. Call State Industrial Relations Department (619) 767-2081 or go on line to http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/

What if I have no Income?

If you have no income and are unable to work, the most immediate help can be found by calling or visiting a County Health & Human Services Family Resource Center. Staff there can help you determine your eligibility and can direct you to the steps necessary for applying for assistance.

Family Resource Center locations http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/programs/ssp/food_stamps/family_resource_centers.html