5 Things To Do When You Are Behind On Your Bills

It happens to most of us, you take a vacation when you really couldn’t afford it, your car breaks down and needs a lot of expensive work done, you lose hours or your job altogether and bills suffer for it. Life happens. You can either mope and get down or you can hustle, figure it out, and take care of it.

Make a plan and prioritize-

Make a list of all bills, past due and current. Grab all your bills, a pad, and a calculator and lay them out in front of you. Decide what takes priority, obviously, food and shelter are going to be right at the top. Then you can order them by their due date.

Call creditors and work out a payment plan-

If you are not chronically late, and often even if you are, most creditors are more than willing to work with you. They just want to get paid and a lot understand that things happen so they will work out a plan with you that benefits you both but if you don’t call and try you won’t know. Once when I was in a bind I was behind on my car payments, I called my bank. Since I was normally great on my payments, they deferred the next two months of payments by tacking them on the end of my loan, this gave me some time to…

Stop all unnecessary spending-

Stop eating out, shopping unnecessarily, and any other monthly subscriptions that you belong too, at least temporarily. They may seem small but $4.99 here and $9.99 there adds up. At $5 a pop, coffee from a coffee house may need to be a few and far between treat instead of a daily or even weekly trend. Just 4 coffees a month add up to $20 that may be enough to make a minimum payment on a credit card!

Find a side hustle-

Even if you work full time there are ways to earn a little extra income. One way is online with surveys. You can look around your house and get rid of things that you no longer need-trendy clothes, furniture, records, etc… Check out ebay as a selling place or just put them on your local yard sale website on Facebook. Pet sitting, babysitting, Uber, or having a yard sale are all ways to make a quick few dollars.

Bite the bullet and borrow-

There is a reason this is last on the list, I don’t recommend it unless your back is really against the wall. No one wants to do it, especially if you have to go back to your parents for the loan. But as a last resort, before you borrow from one of those loan places that charge exorbitant fees or shuffle it around on credit cards consider borrowing from a close friend or family member. Go to them with your dilemma, be honest, and share your overall plan with them and you will likely see that they are happy to help you. Don’t overextend yourself, just enough to help you avoid insane late fees.

Let’s Discuss:  What are some of the ways that you have dealt with getting behind on your bills?

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  1. This is great. Some people don’t know that they can call creditors to work something out. I had to do this with some medical bills recently actually.

  2. These are some great tips I hope I never have to use. I know several people who are always in this situation and really are not good managing their own money.

  3. I definitely need to start using an app like Mint or something so I can control my spending. I’m spending the same amount I used to, but I’m making a lot less since we moved to TN!

  4. I try my best to avoid being behind in bills payments. However, we cannot avoid if something comes up and we have to spend the money intended for bills payment. I think the best advice you gave is to make a list to prioritize which bill to settle first, and to show your creditors that you have intent to make your account current, I think the best is to notify them when you can settle your bill – and stay true to that promise.

  5. robin masshole mommy says

    I have definitely made cutbacks when we’re behind. We eat out a lot and that is the first thing to go when the budget is tight.

  6. I agree that working out a payment plan is a big priority. Earning extra money can make a big difference too.

  7. I keep a spreadsheet so I’m on top of our spending. I can tell if a particular month will be a little tougher than others so I already look for ways to ease into it like refinancing. I hate dipping into our savings but we do that too if absolutely necessary.

  8. These are great tips! But I think if most people cut out the unnecessary spending we wouldn’t be behind in the first place. It’s such an uphill climb once you get behind, that’s why it’s so important to live within your means.

  9. These are really great tips. I am sure those who have been behind their bills or are currently behind their bills will find these helpful!

  10. Interesting advice., prioritizing can really help. It sucks when life keeps hitting you in the gut and sometimes borrowing isn’t an option.

  11. Neely (@Neelykins) says

    These are great tips. I went through this in college and remember dreading asking my dad to help. Thankfully he did! With stiff repayment options haha

  12. Great tips. I think sitting down and hashing it all out with my hubby works best for us. It’s so important to be on the same page when it comes to finances.

  13. I’m hoping this won’t happen to me. I’m glad that I’m never behind my bills. if does, it’s great to know what to do.

  14. I have some fines I have to pay out too so I have cut out a few things and it has really made a different. It is good advice to prioritize for sure!

  15. When I graduated from college, I was poor, but a couple of ears after that I bought a condo, and then I was really poor!!! Until I had my school loans paid off, which I worked at double and triple time. I literally did not spend any money for one entire year except to pay off college loans and my mortgage.

  16. Selling clothes on Polyvore to make a little cash. Collecting the change in the house and putting it in one of those counting jars.

  17. These are great tips! It is so true how the little things add up! Sometimes when I look back at my budget at some of the frivoulsy things I can’t believe how much a few dollars here and there end up being!

  18. Setting up a budget was the best thing we did! And creditors usually do set up a payment plan and try to work with you. These are all great tips! Hoping to be out of debt in the next two years- fingers crossed!

  19. Prioritize and setting up a budget is key and the number one thing you should do if you’re behind in bills. Sometimes it’s scary to call the creditors but they CAN help you. These are some great tips! I suggest keeping an expense list is the best way for me to keep on top of my debt.

  20. These are some great tips for when you are in a bind and behind! I love the plan and prioritize tip!

  21. I like the one where you stop unnecessary spending, For me that means to just stay home. I can’t buy extra stuff if I’m not in the stores.

  22. I try to avoid debt at all costs, but sometimes, it can’t be avoided. In that case, I try to find other areas to save money and earn a little cash on the side. Good tips!

  23. This is a great list. We still have months that we can behind on our bills. It sucks but we are finally getting to the point we can build up our savings which really helps.

  24. Having an emergency fund has been our go to way to deal with shortfalls in our income or loss of jobs. Having an emergency fund with 3 to 6 months worth of income and it really helps when times are hard.

  25. All great tips! We’ve been there. Sadly our creditors wouldn’t work with us. We fell behind. Had no one to borrow from. Etc. It’s been a tough road. Sometimes you have to make tough choices…bankruptcy is one of those choices that many have to make.

  26. I loved this post. So practical and helpful. I love my budget but sometimes we over spend in one area and have to prioritize. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  27. I’ve had to borrow from friends and family. I’m going through divorce, and my ex won’t pay child support at all, even though a court ordered it. He’s been behind and doesn’t seem to care his kids are being effective. I make sure I call ahead to bill companies and ask for an extension, Whenever I have money I put a little to each bill and make sure they know I’m still behind but made an effort. Most are happy with that.

  28. Amazing tips! There has been a time or two when my payments haven’t come in when suppose to per contracts and I’ve had to call and say, its going to be paid next week! Sometimes it happens. I personally wouldn’t borrow, but luckily its never come to that!

  29. CourtneyLynne says

    These are some great tips!!!! Cutting down on unnecessary spending always seems to do the trick though!

  30. Tabitha Shakespeare says

    Working out a payment plan is a great tip! So is cutting out extra spending! When we were in a rut used the envelope system and it really helped us!

  31. Stop all unessary spending is a good one and borrowing is not fun to do but sometimes necassary. Just borrow from those that love you. That’s what I would do. I need to be better with my spending.

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