What To Do When You Are Behind With Your Bills?

This ” What To Do When You Are Behind With Your Bills? ” post details what the author did to get current or get ahead with paying his bills. This post is a personal story of the author. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy

If there’s one thing that I vividly remember when I was in debt, it was that I experienced being behind with paying my bills. The trauma, the non-stop harassment phone calls, the uncertainties, and so many others are the things I experienced over and over again during that time. I know these experiences are something many people who have been in my place or are going through one fully understand.

A couple of people reached out to me and asked what they can do when they are so behind with their bills. I may not be an expert, but I know, from experience, what can be done to help someone be current or ahead of paying their bills. I know each situation is different and some of the tips I will lay out here may or may not apply to you.

What To Do When You Are Behind With Your Bills?

What I always hold onto is the belief that every bad situation had its solutions. I knew that when I was going through this turmoil. I knew that solutions were present and that I only needed to think deeper to figure out what they were.

Here are ways that you can adopt to help yourself get current or ahead with paying your bills.

Determine your income and expenses

Before you even begin doing the other ways I listed below, you need to know how much your income and how much your expenses are. In short, create an income and expense report or a budget. It may sound like a business report, but you can adopt this for personal purposes.

Don’t try to say your expenses total this amount while your income is that amount. Put everything in writing, so you’re transparent to yourself, and you’re not forgetting other expenses that could easily be made when you’re just thinking and talking out loud.

Define your needs and wants

This may not be easy to do at first, but this is what you need to do to get ahead of your finances. Ask yourself what your needs and wants truly are. In general, if you can’t live without a certain product, then, that means it’s a need. Otherwise, it’s a want.

Beware of those wants that disguise as needs. They are everywhere, and marketers are so good at advertising their products as necessities when they are just wants.

Read: Why Is It Difficult To Distinguish Needs From Wants

Prioritize your needs

Just because you have identified your needs doesn’t mean that your job is done. Your job is just beginning. You need to remember that even when you have identified all your needs, you may or will need to prioritize which ones should be met first. If your needs total to $1,000, for example, but your income is only $500, then, you need to prioritize and sacrifice some needs over the others. Being able to pinpoint what your needs are is useless when these needs cost more than what you can afford.

The keywords here are prioritizing and sacrificing. I always believe that it’s best to sacrifice now and have a comfortable life later than the other way around.

Find better job opportunities or side hustles

If your needs to continue to grow and/or you cannot simply sacrifice any of your needs, it is best to find better job opportunities that pay well.

Finding another better-paying job may or will be your best solution to your money problems. In the event you can’t find another job, there are other ways you can make additional money on the side.

There are side hustles or side jobs, as many call them, that can help you earn extra money every month. My family lives under one income. We manage to live comfortably because we earn additional money through surveys and blogging.

Surveys are an excellent way to make extra bucks. In a given month, my wife and I make at least $350/month on these survey sites:

  • American Consumer Opinion Panel (My wife and I earn around $150-$175/month)
  • Toluna Opinions (We’ve earned over $300 worth of prizes and gift cards in just a couple of months)
  • Vindale Research (My wife and I earn $100-$150/month and around $200/month for friend referrals) Want to earn up to $100 per survey and earn $5 for referring a friend? Check out Vindale.
  • Opinion Outpost (My sister earns $50/month) – You can take surveys and earn points redeemable for cash via PayPal or for gifts (like Amazon.com). A lot of the surveys take, on average, 10 minutes to complete.
  • VIP Voice Panel (Automatically enters you to $1,000 sweepstakes) This survey is on a tiered reward system, which means that the more surveys you do, the more points you earn. For your 1st survey, you can earn 3X the points.
  • Harris Poll Online – You do not earn cash with Harris Poll but you earn rewards. For some survey sites, you don’t get anything if you fail to qualify for surveys. Not with Harris Poll Online because you will earn 15 HIpoints as well as entry into the HIstakes draw with Harris Poll Online.

Read: Make Thousands Of Dollars With These Survey Sites

As with blogging, I have been fortunate to make thousands of money every month. As a fact, I have made over $5,049 in the last three months of blogging. Just an FYI, I have only been blogging for five months. It was hard at first, but these past three months were quite easy for me because I only spent an hour or two a day in front of my computer checking my blog and writing posts twice every week. In those three months, I earned $5,049.

Read:

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I took a chance and it paid off. I earned at least $5,049 in 3 months even though I’ve only been blogging for five months. For $3.95/month, you have little or nothing to lose but, potentially, a ton to gain.

Learn to live frugal

One of the best things you can do is to start living frugally (i.e. live below your means). While it may not be easy to execute it, at first, continued practice and perseverance will help you achieve such lifestyle.

My wife and I chose to live frugally when we were in the process of eliminating my debt. Just because you live frugally doesn’t mean you are depriving yourself. That is not the case, and it shouldn’t be. When we started living frugally, we found alternatives to our needs. Instead of buying branded consumables, we turned to store brands. We used coupons so much that we ended up getting a lot of products for free. When we wanted to eat out, we turned to cooking at home. These are just examples of what we did.

There are major and minor changes you can do to live frugally and comfortably, at the same time.

Read: 20 Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time

Work with your creditors (never hide)

When you ignore the IRS’s mail because you don’t want to pay the agency the tax money you owe, what do you think happen? Eventually, it will charge you interest, penalties, and other fees. Worse, it may or will levy all your accounts. Worst, you’ll get into a lot more trouble.

This IRS situation may not be the same situation that you have with your creditors, but they can and will charge you fees on top of fees. Next thing you know, you owe them quadruple times what you originally owed them.

Have a conversation with your creditors. Tell them about your situation and what you can and cannot afford to pay and for how long. Show them that you are willing to work with them. Don’t just run away and forget your debts. Your debts will haunt you for a long time.

While a lot of people told me to forget about the creditors, I took it upon myself to contact them and work with them. What did I get in return? They waived all my penalties and interest and put me on payment plans. In less than three years, I paid off all my debt and my credit rating has never been as good as it is now.

Good things happen in your favor when you show and act in good faith.

Be responsible with credit cards

It would be hypocritical of me to suggest that you not use your credit cards while you are getting current with your situation. While a lot of people will suggest that you completely stay away from credit cards, I say that you need to be strategic, reasonable, and responsible with using your credit cards.

When you have credit cards that give you reward points, cash backs, offers, and others, grab those opportunities. Just make sure that you pay your dues on time to avoid fees and penalties.

In the years that we were paying my debt, we got at least $3,000 in cash back. Did we forget to be responsible in paying our debt? The answer is no. Clearly, for us, it was wise to use our credit cards.

Read: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Credit Cards

Obtain a personal loan

I hate to say this but, sometimes, a personal loan is a good option. There were two credit cards that didn’t want to work with me. My annual percentage rates (APRs) for those two cards were 14.99% and 18.99%, respectively. I decided to get a personal loan enough to cover my outstanding balances in those two cards.

I was fortunate to get a loan with an APR of 5.99%. Did I make a good choice? Yes, because this rate was far better than those from the two cards. I saved a ton of money by not paying a lot in interest charges.

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Have you personally been in this situation before? What other tips do you know to help others get current with their bills?

12 Comments

  1. Thias @It Pays Dividends July 14, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
  2. Apathy Ends July 14, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
  3. ZJ Thorne July 15, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
    • Allan Liwanag July 15, 2016
  4. Pamela July 17, 2016