9 Ways To Catch Up On Bills Once You’ve Fallen Behind
Blog | May 25th, 2020
You’ve fallen behind on your bills and you’re not sure how to get over the mounting pile of debt and stress in your life. Sure, it might sound like an insurmountable battle, but it isn’t. With a little discipline and hard work, you can catch up on your bills and finally get ahead. Don’t believe us? Follow these nine strategies to find the financial freedom you deserve.
Do The Paperwork
We’re talking about your household balance sheet and your household budget. These two pieces of paper will serve as a roadmap for your future spending and will protect you from financial ruin. Below, we’ve broken down how to create these two all-important documents.
Your balance sheet consists of a two-column chart, with your debts listed on one side and assets on the other. If the total value of your assets (including the equity in your home) exceeds the total value of your debts (or “liabilities”), then you’re not in a state of asset deficiency. This implies that you aren’t at risk of bankruptcy, at least not yet.
If you have high-interest debts, such as payday loans or credit card balances, consider selling some of your assets to pay off your debts. Start with paying the highest-interest debts first and then work your way down until your least-expensive debts are repaid.
On the flip side of your balance sheet, write another two-column chart that lists your recurring monthly expenses and income sources. If your expenses outweigh your income, then you have to either find a way to increase your income or cut expenses. The latter is easier to do, so we recommend taking this option first.
Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses
Once you have a budget drafted, you should take a critical look at your expenses and single out those that are unnecessary or don’t contribute to your standard of living. If you’re spending a lot of money every month on entertainment subscriptions, such as streaming services, you might want to cut some of them out, especially if you haven’t used them in weeks.
Use the Cash Envelope System
Having a budget is one thing, but sticking to it is something else altogether. To help rein in excessive spending, resolve to limit your discretionary spending to only cash purchases. Every month, fill the envelope with the amount of cash you’re allowed to spend for the month. When the envelope is empty, your discretionary spending for the month is over.
Negotiate Lower Payments on Bills
You can negotiate with your landlord to reduce your monthly rent payments, your telecom provider to get a cheaper phone plan, and virtually every other service provider. Although it may not work, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Explain your dire financial situation to your service providers and your landlord, and they may be willing to work out a mutually beneficial solution.
Supplement Your Income
Eventually, you’ll hit a point where you can’t lower your expenses any more. When this moment arrives, your only option is to make more money. Fortunately, there are plenty of side hustles and part-time gigs that can help you get a head start on your bills.
Although it requires a little bit of sweat and hard work, taking a side job is the best way to pay off your bills and finally achieve financial freedom. The upside is that you don’t have to go back to school or spend thousands of dollars on tuition to start a side hustle. Instead, consider picking up any of these side jobs or marketable skills that can be sold online:
Drive for Uber or Lyft
Learn graphic design, video editing, or copywriter via YouTube tutorials
If your phone company has been ringing throughout the day demanding you pay back those couple hundred bucks you owe them, you should pay that debt off first. This way, you can enjoy peace of mind again and you’ll feel accomplished and better about yourself once those annoying phone calls stop coming in.
Failure to repay these debts might result in the companies referring the case to a debt collector, which can cause even more headaches and tank your credit score.
Make (At Least) Minimum Payments
Make sure that you’re at least meeting the minimum payment requirements on every loan, credit line, or form of debt that you have. This way, you’ll keep your credit score high and won’t be stuck paying high-interest rates in the future. With whatever leftover money you have at the end of the month, you should throw it at the debt that’s accruing interest the fastest.
Remember that avoiding overdraft fees and late fees every month is more important than paying a bit extra on your credit card and shaving off a few dollars in interest. A steep $20 overdraft fee is worth a lot more than saving $2 on interest by paying more than your credit card minimum.
The bottom line is that achieving financial freedom isn’t easy, but it’s always worthwhile. When times get tough, don’t be afraid to stick it out and push through.
Don’t let yourself quit. It may be a long, uphill battle, but paying off your debts will feel so much better than allowing yourself to let up now and get comfortable while your debts are left unpaid.