If you're falling behind on your bills and have no idea what to do about it, you're not alone. Many will find themselves in the same situation at some point. It can be overwhelming, but the key is to not wait and hope things work themselves out. There are several things you can do to get yourself back on track when you're falling behind on your bills.
Don't put off handling the situation
Creditors are going to start calling once you fall behind and your instinct may be to avoid them, but they're not going to go away. The longer you put it off, the higher your chances are that you're going to be sent to collection. As soon as you realize you won't be able to make a payment, call and let them know what's going on.
Explain your situation
Let the creditors know that you want to pay your bills, but that you're very tight on funds at the moment and ask what they can do. Most businesses don't want to send anyone to collection, so they'll do what they can to work with you. When I dealt with billing, I had no problem working with those who let me know what was going on rather than just ignore me when I called. We were usually able to come to an agreement on a payment plan and they avoided going to collection.
Sell your items
Now is as good a time as any to go through all your items, figure out what you don't need or want, then sell them off. It's a great chance to clear out all the clutter while you bring in some extra money. Any money you bring in, put it right toward the bills that are past due.
Earn extra money
Whether you get a part time job or make items and sell them, find a way to earn extra cash in addition to your full time job. There are so many options whether you bartend a couple of nights a week or make homemade soaps and sell them online. Everyone has a skill or talent they can use to make money.
Ask to lower your interest rate
Don't just wait and hope that your credit card companies are going to lower your interest rate, call and ask if they can make it happen. There's no guarantee they'll do it, but if you've been with them a long time and you've been keeping up with your payments until now, they may be willing to help you out.
Forget about going out to dinner or drinks, at least for awhile. In the meantime, have friends over, cook at home and find low-cost activity options so you can continue having a social life without the high cost. Even after you get all your bills settled, you may find you don't want to spend money on some of the things you did before.
It's incredibly stressful to fall behind on your bills, but the sooner you start taking care of the issue, the less time you have to worry about bills being past due. There's no need to panic. Write out a plan and take things step-by-step and before long, you'll have everything settled.
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