What To Do When You Are Behind On Bills?

This ” What To Do When You Are Behind On 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. Updated June 10, 2017.

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 On 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.


Define your needs and wants

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: High

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


Determine your income and expenses

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: High

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.

I recommend you use the budget calculator (below) to see where you are overspending and underspending. This way, you know where to start cutting on your expenses, which will help you find money to pay for your other bills. This calculator can also help you identify which banks would give you the best interest rate for your money.

I also recommend Personal Capital. It’s the best FREE personal finance (tracker) app I’ve used so far. With it, my family was and still able to keep track of our income, expenses, and investments while we are on the go.


Negotiate your bills

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: High

Do you know you can negotiate your bills so you can save money?

Yes, that’s true. Just a phone call and conversation with your bill collectors may or will help you lower your bills without sacrificing the quality of the products and services you currently have.

Some of us don’t like to get into negotiation but still want to save money. Some of us have tried over and over and failed to negotiate our bills. I am one of those people who tried to negotiate but failed to get any savings.

If this is you, then, I highly recommend you try BillShark.

BillShark will negotiate on your behalf. It only gets paid when it saves you money. No savings means you don’t pay BillShark anything.

My wife and I recently tried BillShark to cut down our phone bill. It managed to save us $120 for one year. BillShark gets 40% of the savings. If it doesn’t save you anything, then, it doesn’t get paid.

Here’s a picture of our savings. We were shocked that it was true that we called Verizon, our phone company, to verify if BillShark did call and negotiate with Verizon. The answer was yes. So, what did we do next? We added another bill so BillShark can we can get some savings.

BillShark is a legitimate company. It has been has featured on Today, The Washington Post, Fox News, NBC News with Lester Holt, and Dave Ramsey. These are big names in the television world and you know how a feature in these platforms means.

Billshark review


Find your passion and make money out of it

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

There’s no better time to show your passion and make money out of it than when the times get rough.

Trust me, I thought passions were just hindrances to solving your problems especially when you are already at the lowest point of your life. But they are not.

When my wife and I were paying off our debt, one of the things I did was write. I like writing and it is my passion. I created a journal and wrote what I felt, what I did the other day, etc.

I was able to release my worries, my stresses, my love, etc. through writing.

Sometimes, all you need is  a break from the “not-being-able-to-pay-your-bill” cycle. Everyone needs a break. This is where passion can make a difference.

Like what I said, I like writing. It’s my passion. I turned my passion into a business (i.e. blogging). I’m not kidding. I make over $5,000 every month spending an hour or two every day in my blog and that’s it.

Just a little over ago, I took a plunge into the blogging. It was both calculated and uncalculated risks because I had to allot a ton of time, dedication, etc. to make my blog work.

I initially wanted to share my thoughts and experiences on how my family paid off our debt. My blog turned from a blog of expression into a money-making machine.

Had I not taken those risks, I wouldn’t have known the outcomes of what I did. Now, I’m able to help people even in my own small ways and make a living out of my blog. It sure is the best feeling in the world.

Now, I earn at least $7,000/mo and it keeps on climbing. So many people also comment or message me how I helped them with their finances.


Obtain a personal loan

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

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.

I recommend you look into personal loan to determine if a personal is right for you and what company/offer is right for you. 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.


Prioritize your needs

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

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.

We use our Budget Binder Printables to identify which expenses are to be prioritized.

These printables has continuously helped our family get our budget in control and save a ton of money even on a single income. We paid off our $40K debt and, at the same time, saved at least $70K in 2.5 years with the help of these printables (click here for the full story).



Find better job opportunities or side hustles

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: High

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.

Here are some survey sites you can try to make additional money on the side:

  • Vindale Research ($2.00 signup bonus)
  • Springboard America (Get a chance to win $1,000 when you sign up)
  • American Consumer Opinion  (6 million subscribers and counting. You know it’s legit)
  • MySurvey (Earn 2,000 points as a sign-up bonus and up to $5 per survey…. That’s a big amount for a survey)
  • Survey Savvy (Earn $5 per device per month or up to $180 per year easily)
  • Smart Panel (Earn $5 per device per month plus quarterly loyalty bonus)
  • EarningStation ($10 bonus after 5 site signups)
  • Opinion Outpost (My sister earns $50/month)
  • YouGov (Earn 2,000 points as a sign-up bonus)
  • Pinecone Research (Potentially earn at least $3 per survey)
  • Swagbucks (One of my most favorite sites)
  • Survey Club  (Potentially earn at least $50 per survey)

Read: Earn Thousands A Year: The Most Comprehensive Survey Sites Lists You May Ever See


Learn to live frugal

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

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. Try to checkout these frugal living books to get more ideas on how to live frugally:

Read: 20 Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time


Work with your creditors (never hide)

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: Medium

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.

There are a ton of resources that you can reference to give some specific ideas on how to work well with your creditors and get positive outcomes. I recommend that you look into these books:


Be responsible with credit cards

“Behind On Bills'” Correction Strategy Effectiveness Level: High

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

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



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