Are you behind on a few bills...or more? Once you start getting behind on bills, it can be very difficult to catch up. Late payment fees, interest, overdraft fees, and insufficient funds fee-only add to your increasing stack of bills. What's more, you might become tempted to delay payment of one bill to cover another creditor’s demands – which will only continue the vicious cycle of unpaid debt and looming due dates. Fortunately, there is a way to regain control of your financial life. Though the lasting change won’t happen overnight, here are 3 ways to start untangling your finances and get back on track.
List your bills and cancel what you can.
Before you begin reducing that mounting stack of bills, you need to take stock of your current expenses and see where you can eliminate excess spending. Begin by listing all your bills, including your monthly rent, utilities, subscriptions, and the like. Be sure to also include payment due dates and minimum payments. Once that’s done, take a closer look at your list and see if there are any expenses that can be eliminated. Maybe you can cancel your Netflix account for a few months or temporarily pause your meal subscription services. Making these small sacrifices now will likely pay off in the long run.
Refrain from using credit cards.
It can be tempting to put your expenses on a credit card during a rough time. However, if you doubt that you’ll be able to pay down your credit later, stay away from this risky move. Though this tactic may temporarily rid you of debt collectors, accumulating more debt is only going to deepen your financial troubles. The best way to ensure that you don’t resort to your credit cards is by freezing your accounts or storing your cards somewhere other than your wallet. Unless you are positive that you can pay your credit card off in full next month, do yourself a favor by refusing to pick them up.
Negotiate your bills and due dates.
If you’re behind on your payments, you’re not the only one that wants to get back on track. Creditors also want you to pay them back to better their bottom line. So, with that in mind, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call your creditors to request a payment plan, reduced interest rates, a deferred due date, and/or waived fees. Depending on your unique financial situation, you may qualify for financial hardship plans, which are temporary but can prove much-needed relief when you need a few weeks or months to get back on your feet.
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