Treading Water: How to Catch Up on Bills When You're Behind

Posted by Casandra Properties on Monday, September 28th, 2020 at 8:11am.

The average American household with a credit card has around $8,398 in credit card debt

This shows how common being late to pay bills is especially when you’re outgoings eclipse your paycheck. If you’re not sure how to catch up on bills, don’t fret. We’re here to help. Here’s how to get out of this sticky situation.

Catch Up On Bills

Make a Plan to Get Caught Up

The first step to getting your bills under control is to create a bulletproof plan.

First, list down everyone you owe, how much you owe them, and the exact amount you’re behind. You should also include what the minimum monthly payment is so you can create a clear timeline. 

If there’s a company that’s hassling you, pay them first. Your mental health is important so find ways to lower your stress level while protecting your credit.

Seek an Extension

To give you a chance to catch up on bills, ask for an extension. Pick up the phone and tell the company about your situation. 

Even if you’ve missed a payment, get in touch so you can discuss terms and arrive at a mutually beneficial payment scheme.

Create a Budget

Not sure how to get caught up on bills? Outline a detailed budget to help you. 

Alongside the due and overdue payments, you must include high-priority expenses like shelter, mortgage payments, food, and utilities otherwise it'll make your current situation worse. 

Once you’ve created a budget, track your daily outgoings so you’re spending within the set amount. You can even withdraw your entire budget and put it into an envelope so it’s easier to monitor how much you have left for the month.  

Remember to drop unnecessary expenses like gym memberships, Netflix, and avoid eating out. You may not have to cut these expenses entirely as many companies let you suspend their services until you can pay. 

During this time, reevaluate your needs and live within your means. For instance, if your property is draining your funds then consider moving in with the family for a period of time and rent it out at a higher rate. Not only will you have enough rent money but you can use the extra sum to pay back your bills. 

You should also consider your vehicle. Car repairs and maintenance can add up so choose a vehicle that has lower monthly payments. You can even sell your vehicle and carpool with co-workers, use public transport, or buy a secondhand bike for a healthy option.

Hide Your Credit Cards 

Credit cards are useful if you need to pay for groceries for the week but when you’re behind on bills, take extra precaution. 

Instead, hide your credit cards to avoid further spending. This is especially important if you’re an impulsive buyer so ask a loved one to look after them unless it’s to buy essential items. 

Set Up An Emergency Fund 

Everyone must have an emergency fund, especially during difficult financial situations. Once you have one set up, you won’t slip into debt when unexpected expenses occur like your car breaking down.

If you’re currently paying off debt, put $2,000 aside, and if you’re not, save three months of your expenses. Never dip into the emergency fund unless it’s critical like an unexpected job loss or medical expenses.

Find Additional Income

Budgeting and cutting expenses may not be enough so find a way to increase your income. For instance, you could drive for a rideshare company, ask for overtime hours at your job, or search online for customer service roles. 

Or use this time to launch your own business related to your passion or a useful venture like dog walking. Advertise your services with friends and family then post flyers around your town.

Be Diligent 

It can feel overwhelming but you don’t need to make life-altering cuts. Instead, be mindful and diligent about what you spend so don’t get tempted to buy a last-minute magazine when you’re in the checkout line. 

You’ll feel better for doing this especially when you see your balance return to normal. Plus, you can use this free time to nourish your mind and develop your skillset.

Learn more about a subject you’re interested in by borrowing books from the library or researching online. Not only will you become more knowledgable but it’s also free entertainment.

Get Support From Loved Ones

Going through this experience is emotionally and mentally draining so confide in your close friends. Don’t be afraid to talk about your financial issues, chances are they’ve been in a similar situation or have advice to help you get out of it. 

They’ll also encourage non-expensive activities like cooking dinner together or having a movie night so you don’t have to miss out on socializing.

And don't forget to celebrate small victories. Set milestones and objectives so when you complete a stage of your financial journey to freedom, give yourself a pat on the back. 

That's How to Catch up on Bills

Now you know how to catch up on bills when it feels impossible. 

Start by creating a payment plan so you can re-pay the most important lenders first and create a realistic budget plan you’ll stick to. 

Cut back on unnecessary expenses, confide in loved ones, and hide credit cards if it helps. And, if possible, find additional avenue streams so it’s quicker to pay everything back. Good luck!

Did you find this article helpful? If so, check out our posts on everything from Real Estate to Finance. 

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