If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to pay your bills, then you’ll know what a scary place that is. There are so many reasons that people find themselves in this situation – it could be job loss, illness, an unexpected bill, or just poor financial planning. Whatever the cause, it’s important not to try to brush this under the carpet. Here’s a few suggestions of what you can do if you can’t pay your bills this month.
Try not to panic
Now I know this is easier said than done, but going into a panic really isn’t going to help. You need to try to keep calm so that you can view things rationally and begin to work out how to resolve the issues. Lots of people start to think all manner of things when they realise they can’t pay their bills, it’s important to sort out the fact from the fiction here.
- It’s not illegal. You’re not going to get sent to prison for not paying a debt.
- You may start to receive phone calls chasing the debt, but bailiffs won’t attend unless you’ve fallen way behind. A company will need to go to court before they can send the bailiffs round.
Don’t take out extra loans
You might be tempted to take out a loan to cover the costs of the debts you can’t afford to pay this month. DON’T DO IT! What happens next month when you still have all your existing bills to pay plus a whopping loan plus interest to find the money for. Taking out extra credit is not the way to fix this. You’re just going to dig yourself in even deeper.
Don’t bury your head in the sand
It’s so tempting to shove it all in a drawer and try to forget out it. But that’s not the answer. By burying your head in the sand, you’re just delaying the inevitable, and the problem is likely to get much worse.
If you can afford to pay some, but not all of your bills, then you need to make sure that your priority bills are the ones that get paid. Don’t be pressured by any lender to pay their bill before a priority bill.
- Rent or mortgage – you need to keep a roof over your head.
- Any loan secured on your home.
- Council tax.
- Child Maintenance.
- Magistrates Court Fees.
- Tax, VAT or National Insurance.
- TV Licence.
- Utility bills – gas, electricity and water.
Once you’ve made sure that these are covered, only then should you factor in your non-priority debts.
- Credit cards.
- Store cards.
- Unsecured loans.
- Payday loans.
- Loans from family/friends.
Make extra money where you can
There are lots of ways you can make money quickly. Have you got old toys, DVDs or video games lying around unused? You could sell them quickly using local Facebook groups. That extra little bit of money could make all the difference. There are also other things you can do online that won’t bring in instant cash, but will help your budget through the rest of the money, mystery shopping, matched betting and prolific surveys are great ways to bring in some extra money.
Work out your budget
You really do need a budget if your finances are ever going to improve. As scary as it might feel, you need to know exactly how much money you’ve got coming in, and how much going out so that you can work out your budget for food, clothes and everything else. Going forwards you should make sure you know exactly how much money you need to put aside for your bills each month so that you can make sure they’re covered first.
Figure out any areas where you can save money
You might find you can save hundreds of pounds over the year by switching your suppliers. There are lots of really useful switching services online that can help you to find the best deal.
Also, try switching down a brand at the supermarket, you might be surprised at how similar some of the products are! Also, take advantage of offers, the aldi super 6 weekly event is a great way to try different veg every week without breaking the bank.
Once you’ve got everything back under control, think about building up an emergency fund. How will you pay for any sudden expenses such as the washing machine breaking down or the boiler packing up in the middle of winter? The last thing you want is to be relying on credit and getting into a mess. Take action early.
Contact a debt advice charity
If things are looking unmanageable and you feel that you need some help with getting your finances sorted, there are some fantastic debt charities. Stepchange and Payplan will offer offer free and impartial advice. DO NOT PAY A DEBT ADVICE SERVICE – there’s really no need to use a paid service, the charities are far superior and their soul purpose is to help you to get your finances back on track without taking any money off you.
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