Being behind on your bills is not the financial place anyone ever wants to be. But…sometimes life happens and you may develop feelings of helplessness. I think it is a pretty fair assumption for me to say that the majority of people have been behind on their bills at one time or another.
And it should not matter the circumstances that landed you behind on your bills. Rest assured there is a way out, so don’t sweat it. However, knowing where to start and actually creating a plan to get you out of your current situation is different than just wanting to. It will require action on your part to get your finances under control again.
After all, you are desperate to get things back on track and face your mistakes. In this post, I will discuss the steps you should take when you have become behind on your bills.
Whatcha Gotta Do
1. Face The Music (Call The Companies)
Don’t stay oblivious. View it as a much-needed wake-up call.
Do not delay! Call your creditors as soon as possible, it is one of the best things you can do. Be honest, explain your current financial situation. Be bold and ask if they can offer you an extension or a grace period for time being. Don’t avoid them. They just want to hear back from you.
You might think it won’t make much of a difference but the reality is it most likely will. It could result in not having to pay late fees, or a grace period to make your payments so you can get your finances back on track.
Calling companies is always the right thing to do. Is it a tad bit embarrassing? Well…Yes. But that is okay we all need to be humbled from time to time, so make the call. Decide to make it right by facing the music. That’s the only way you will be able to weather your current financial storm.
2. Put A Plan In Writing
Yes, I am talking about a budget. As you are probably already aware a budget is basically having a plan for spending your money in advance. Which essentially boils down to putting your financial ideas to work.
However, do not forget that one of the most important steps you can make is acknowledging your debt (yes you, don’t ignore it.) So make a list of all your expenses and your sources of income (babysitting money counts).
Now comes the challenge. Once you have those numbers you should start creating yourself a powerful budget that will actually work for you and that you will stick to.
Get your plan in writing is the first step! Putting it somewhere you see it every single day is step two! Most importantly put it into action, is step three!
3. Stop, And Drop Your Bad Spending Habits
The absolute last thing you should be doing once you have reached the point of being behind on bills is BUYING ANYTHING NEW.
You literally have to stop all spending, which means only necessary spending. Think of it as a vacation for your credit cards. It’s called a spending freeze. Learn it. Do it. Love it.
So basically a spending freeze is when you buy only the essentials, which means no “frills” so to speak. Nothing extra. That means no fast food, no dining out, no new shoes, no new clothes, and absolutely no spending that strays from your budget.
4. Don’t Become Homeless, Your Home Is Your Priority
Your mortgage or rent should always be your first and top priority. It is essential, you NEED to have a place to live before you can work towards paying any of your other creditors. Your necessities consist of your housing, food, transportation, and clothing. You should always make sure these four things are taken care of first, it will relieve at least some of the stress. Which will let you take on the rest of your financial troubles with confidence.
5. Cut The Excess Expenses
Once you have finally got your budget working for you and are determined to have a successful budget t, you should consider cutting out some of your unnecessary expenses.
Do you have add ons on your phone plan that you don’t really need? Cut the excess. Are you paying for a bigger internet package than what you need? Cut the excess. Are you paying a big cable bill? Cut the excess and switch to Netflix.
Start cutting out the frills in your life you don’t need or aren’t using immediately. I can guarantee you it will be worth it in the long run because you won’t be wasting your money.
After all the goal is to still have cash left at the end of the month. In fact the more the better. Make it a challenge if you have to, so you can stay motivated.
Just take comfort in the fact that spending unnecessarily can have anyone struggling in a bad financial crisis.
6. Take Advantage Of Money Saving Tools
Making sure you are doing all you can to save money means taking advantage of the resources you have at your disposal so you can save the absolute most.
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7. Put The Breaks On Bad Spending Habits
It is entirely possible you could be facing a financial crisis at completely no fault of your own. Life is messy and things happen that you just have to roll with.
With that being said though sometimes we are at fault for our financial crisis. And when this happens you should not delay in taking the required actions needed so you can avoid further issues in the future.
When this happens it is a good time to take a good look at just where you are going wrong so you can understand and correct the situations. This can mean kicking any bad financial habits to the curb before they do any more damage.
Some examples of habits that are tying you down financially are shopping, drinking alcohol, gambling, and smoking. When you take part in the above you are pretty well Throwing your money in the garbage in a sense. Money does not grow on trees, and you know that so don’t be treating it like it does.
8. Get Prepared For Emergencies
Financial issues often strike when you least expect it. So why do what you can to prepare for them well in advance. This is called an EMERGENCY FUND. Now when you are behind on bills it can be hard to build yourself a little financial cushion. However, once you are caught up you will have learned the importance of having an emergency fund first hand.
You can start small and work your way up. or you can start by saving as much as you possibly can each and every week until you have a financial cushion you are comfortable with. Many many financial advisors will recommend having at least a $1,000 emergency fund so you can be prepared when faced with unexpected costs.
It is comforting to know that the money will be there in the event that you can’t make a bill so you can avoid getting behind on your bills altogether.
9. Make Some Extra Dough
If you are behind on bills and willing to do some extra work besides your normal job it can be the best thing you can do to get you back on track with your bills fast. Making extra money can seriously get you out of your financial crisis fast. As you are already aware there are many many different ways you can earn a side income.
Here are some things you could consider:
- Get a second job
- Start a business
- Start a side hustle
- Do surveys
- Sell things you don’t use( you’ll be pleasantly surprised the stuff people will buy from you.)
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10. Remain Aware
Getting your budget back on track after a financial crisis is no small task, especially when that crisis was being behind on your bills.
It is very important to remember it isn’t going to happen overnight. It is a process. Just always keep in mind how crucial it is to stay on top of your bills and pay them when they’re due.
The above tips can help you successfully get back on track and leave the past in the past. You should also use your experience as a positive learning curve and a starting point to correctly learn how to manage your money.
Above all just do not start living above your means. This will only bring disaster upon you. If you need to get a second job to make ends meet do it. It could even mean just getting a side hustle you can do from home. Stay focused and remain aware, do not get comfortable financially.
It is an ongoing battle to keep things on track, just don’t give up.
Have you ever lived through the experience of being behind on your bills and successfully catching up? If so what did you do to pull yourself out? What tips do you have for people currently experiencing this situation? Share your tips below!