There’s nothing scarier than not being able to pay your bills on time. Payment deadlines are slowly creeping up, and you’re not sure what to do next to protect yourself, your family, and your property. The good news is you’re not alone, and you have options. Believe it or not, 44% of Americans today don’t have enough cash in the bank to cover a $400 emergency.
One financial misstep and you can easily find yourself unable to pay your bills and without a plan. However, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. The key here is to minimize the fallout so you’re able to protect the essentials and recover from there. One financial mistake doesn’t define your life, so try not to be so hard on yourself. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself unable to pay your bills.
Start with the Basics
First, you might need to prioritize what bills you should pay. This is the easy part. You know what you need to survive. You need food, shelter, transportation, and electricity. These are the things that keep you and your family alive and make it possible to get to work, your source of income.
Aside from that, everything else can wait. You can always recover your credit, but you can’t always save your health. Pay your rent first. Pay for food first. In essence, pay for the basics you can’t afford to live without. Everything else doesn’t matter.
Read the Fine Print
Next, it’s time to do damage control. Make a list of your bills, separating the essential payments from the less essential payments. Yes, there will be consequences if you don’t pay for cable on time, but this won’t be nearly as dire as missing out on a mortgage payment.
Read the fine print and help resources for the bills you’re unable to pay. Most likely, if you’re a good customer, there won’t be any severe consequences for a first-time offense. Most late payments result in a late fee or perhaps a rise in your interest rate for something like consumer credit. You shouldn’t see any immediate ding to your credit.
Make Some Calls
This is the scary part. It’s hard to face up to your reality and call your provider companies, but this is more important than it sounds. It’s easy to hide your head in the sand, to ignore phone calls, and to let the bills pile up. This is not how you solve the situation.
Instead, make some calls. Pick up the phone and call your utility company. Call your phone provider. Call anyone you’re not able to pay on time. Explain that you’re currently experiencing financial hardships and that you don’t think you’ll be able to pay on time. Believe it or not, most organizations have resources for just this thing. Think about it: these companies want to be paid. They’d rather get your money in some shape or another than to go unpaid forever.
Ask about payment plans, due date extensions, and other options for those experiencing hardship. If you’re in a dire financial situation, call local credit counselors or visit a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options. The faster you act, the more options you have.
Make Financial Changes
Now that you have the immediate problem under control, it’s time to make a change. You found yourself in this situation because you didn’t have a financial safety net in place. This just means you should start one today. Ideally, you should have at least $500 in your safety account put away for an emergency, but start smaller if you need to.
For the moment, you might need to consult financial assistance resources to tide you over until your next payday. You could head to Simplepersonalloans for an easy first step. Beyond this, look for ways to cut costs in your current budget. Do you really need to pay for cable or extra data for your phone? Consider getting into a side-gig to help make ends meet.
These small changes add up to a big difference over time. Realize that debt doesn’t have to last forever. You’re capable of making smart changes today to reroute your future.