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One of the most common struggles Americans face is paying their bills. One of the worst things you can do in this struggle is disregard the issue because it can lead to a serious debt problem. It’s vital that you understand what to do when you can’t pay your bills.
Unexpected trips to the emergency room, student loan payments, and veterinary care are all bills you may need to pay in the future. Take steps now so you avoid acquiring a mountain of debt in the future.
Regardless of your financial situation, you have options for digging yourself out of your money struggles. Learn more about what to do if you can’t pay your bills and about emergency funding.
What to Do if You Can’t Pay Your Bills
A few bucks here and there charged to your credit card account doesn’t sound like much, but these charged expenses can accrue interest, and your balance can rapidly increase. Unsure what to do if you can’t pay your bills? Let’s dive in and dissect the many ways you may be able to pay your debt.
Focus on Paying Living Expenses
If you’re late on paying credit card bills, you can expect to receive calls, emails, and even snail mail trying to convince you that your credit card bill payment is more important than paying your living expenses.
Before you pay your credit card or other bills, make sure you are focusing on these four items:
Before spending any more money on your bills and debt, make sure you’re taking care of your living expenses. It’s a priority to make sure you have food, a roof over your head, lights and water, and a form of transportation to get to work.
Create a Budget
After your living expenses are sorted out, it’s time to create a budget to take care of the bills you can’t pay. While you may think it’s silly to budget now if you have no money to pay your bills, it’s actually a good idea to create a budget to better prepare yourself for the future.
Start by making a budget that includes your income and expenses to help reduce your spending. Listing out all of your expenses will help you find ways to cut out excessive spending. You might even be able to find ways to increase your income with a revised budget plan. Once you have your budget in place, you can devote realistic amounts of money to your debt.
Change Your Lifestyle
If you can’t pay your bills on time, then it may be time to reevaluate your lifestyle. If you need extra cash fast, that may mean taking a second or even a third job, starting a side business, or selling some of your unused belongings.
There are many ways to make ends meet and help pay your debt:
- Sell your car and purchase a used, reliable vehicle
- Host a garage sale
- Cook meals at home instead of dining at a restaurant
- Find a second or third job
- Downsize your home for more realistic payments
- Change cell phone plans for a cheaper option
- Share living expenses with roommate(s)
You can put extra money toward overdue bills. Put aside $1, $5, or any extra cash regardless of the amount. Changing your lifestyle can drastically change how you spend your money and help you pay your bills on time. Remember, you have options, but you are the one responsible for making the changes.
How Can I Get Money to Pay My Bills
After you focus on living expenses, create a budget, and change your lifestyle, now it’s time to start tackling your debt.
This is one way:
- First, list out all of your bills from smallest to largest.
- Only pay the minimum amount on each bill except for the bill that is the smallest amount.
- Pay as much as you can on the bill that is the smallest amount – and focus on paying that bill off. Once you pay it off, you will be able to apply that money to the next smallest bill while still paying the minimum amount on all of your other bills.
Repeat the steps above every month, and you’re on your way to becoming debt-free. The more bills you pay off, the more money you will have in the coming months. Tackle each bill one at a time so you aren’t overwhelmed with a large amount of debt.