If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that you’ll always have bills to pay.
But this isn’t a bad thing. Look at it like this: you have things to pay for. The homeless person is WISHING they’d have debt! That destitute single mom is WISHING she’d HAVE a mortgage to pay.
However, when you’re behind on bills, this can cause stress and worry in any situation. Here ‘s what to do when you’re behind on bills!
What To Do When You’re Behind On Bills
Write Down All Your Expenses
The first thing you want to do is write down all of your expenses. Every single thing you pay for each week, month, year, write it all down. You want to include all of the important things, like your rent and car payment, as well as all the smaller things you pay for, like your Netflix bill and Starbucks coffee habit. Write down all your expenses and how much each thing costs right beside it.
To make sure you get all the bills and don’t forget any, check out these posts:
If a bill varies, you can make a median expense or go by the expensive end of the spectrum. And be sure you add in a miscellaneous expense too for unexpected things that may come up.
On top of miscellaneous, don’t forget to include any charities or donations, tithes, amount your put into savings, if any, and anything else you might pay for. Everything!
Calculate Your Expenses And Create A Budget
After you have all your bills written down and how much each one costs, add up all your bills together. The total is how much money you need to make altogether each month in order to cover all your expenses.
Be sure you calculate things on the monthly and/or annually costs too. Some thing are only paid for annually or every six months. Divide the annual expenses by 12 months in order to get the monthly expense number. You need this number for your total expenses.
If this number is over what you currently make per month, then you need to purge and downsize, beginning with the least important bills and expenses first.
Make sure you write down a budget for each item so you know what to expect to pay for each month.
Downsize Your Living When You’re Behind On Bills
If you’re behind on bills, you’re going to want to simplify your life. This can be a sad moment for you because it may seem like you’re going backwards in life, but just know that this is a season. It’s just a detour. God has a plan for you and He is making a way for you right now. This needs to happen in order for His plan to happen. Keep the faith in God the whole time and you will see wonderful miracles happen for you! 💖
In fact, just as I am writing this, a friend of mine who was unable to pay her bills and didn’t know what to do, shared with me this morning that she just got word she’s getting a check in the mail for over $15,000! 🤯
Can you imagine?!
Listen, God is good. DO NOT give up hope. If you are lining your life up to Him and not in any unrepentant sin you’re being chastised for, He will absolutely help you get out of this mess! He loves you. He cares about you! 💎
As you’re downsizing, start with the least important bills first. For example, do you need Netflix in order to survive? No, you don’t. You can cut that out. And since you’re cutting out Netflix, you might as well return the TV you are paying a monthly fee for. Since you’re not paying for the TV anymore, and won’t be sitting in front of it, you can return the living room furniture along with it.
Try to return as many things as you can, even if it’s over 30 days. Try to ask the company for an exception. I bought something from a company and they made a one-time exception and made the return 6 months later!
Just the last month, my kitchen faucet broke and I called Costco and it was under 1 year and they replaced it for me for FREE! $250 faucet! That really made me like Costco honestly! They stand by their products. Wow!
Try to do all that you can to save money.
Get rid of all the bills you don’t need to live. Cut them out asap.
If you have multiple cell phone bills on your plan, consider pausing all but one. You need a phone to live, but you don’t need five of them right now.
Sell What You Don’t Need
When you’re behind your bills, you want to catch up. Look around your house and see if anything can go. If you have multiple television sets in your home, consider selling one or two of them. Place some furniture or your vintage dishes on special sites or in Facebook Marketplace to sell. If there is a local way for you to get the word out, use that avenue.
Have a garage sale in addition to selling what you don’t need. You can sell things one by one, but you might have quite a few things you can get rid of too. Look through all your storage closets, your clothes closets, you children’s outgrown or unused toys or items, and your attic, and see if you have plenty of things to make a garage sale for.
Here’s 40 things you can sell right now that you probably wouldn’t have thought of!
If you don’t have a garage sale option yourself, call up a family member or a friend and see about merging items to do a garage sale together. This may be your saving grace when you really need it.
And if you have an outstanding bill you absolutely need to pay, consider pawning something of value if you don’t want to get rid of it. You can get a loan for an item at your local pawn shop and then pay on it once a month to get it back. Beware, however, that if you don’t pay for it, you will forever lose your item to them. So don’t go pawning a valuable sentiment that you don’t want to part with.
And also, know that they will undervalue your items too. If you pawn something like jewelry, they won’t give you what a jeweler or diamond expert would give you. They’ll only give you what they can according to their own terms, which are probably limited. Therefore, if you paid $5,000 on something last year, don’t expect to get even near that much when you pawn it.
The money you make from selling your items and from the garage sale can go towards the bills you’re behind on.
Look Into Government Assistant Programs
There are several government assistance programs available to help you when you need it. For example, if you need food for your family, you can apply for food stamps, or SNAP food benefits. Getting on food stamps can you save you on your grocery bill, which can then make your money for food go towards another bill.
If you’re feeling guilty right now about taking money like this from the state, remember that it’s only for a season, just while you need it. Once you don’t, you can work your way off of it and let others have it. 💖
When you pay your bills, though, make sure the most important ones get paid first!
If you no longer have medical health insurance, you can apply for Medicaid or CHIPS for your kids health insurance and apply for additional medical insurance programs that may be available.
There are also other programs available to help with electric (LIHEAP), cell phone bills, and even wifi. Look into these programs around you and see if there are some things you can qualify for.
Suspend Or Pause Accounts
You may not know this but there are several companies out there that you can call and explain your situation to them, and they’ll be able to suspend or pause your account.
Many cell phone bill plans allow a number of months for you to pause and not pay your bill every year! Like, if you’re out on vacation or something and you won’t use it for some reason, you can pause for so many months. So if you aren’t able to pay for your phone and it’s not a “need to have” expense, consider pausing your cell plan for the time being.
Look into other services and loans you use that you can pause or skip pay also. Sometimes banks and credit unions offer this type of thing (sometimes with a small fee), especially around Christmas time.
Here’s an example of one that my credit union does:
They let you go up to a full 45 days of not paying the loan and they just tack on the interest at the back end of the loan. It doesn’t hurt to try and see what’s available!
Look into everything and see what you can do.
Take On Side Jobs
On top of cutting expenses, consider taking on side jobs or side hustles to help make ends meet. You can work online and make money that way through several different ways. I’ve been making money from home now for 24 years so of course, I have a FULL money-making resource guide. You can check out the post here!
You can also look at your local newspaper to see what’s available too.
Also, don’t forget to look online at places like SnagAJob.com or Indeed.com. These places usually have a lot of great jobs offering!
If your trade is of a professional nature, be sure you update your LinkedIn information. They also have job offers throughout LinkedIn and you can also put if you’re looking for a job there for those who are seeking workers.
Work Off Of A Free Basis
Whether you’re behind or not, you should always be trying to get as much free stuff as you can. The internet and stores are FULL of free stuff. Couponing, shops like mine that offer free stuff, discounts, free curb alerts on Craigslist, there are a ton of ways to get free stuff.
Try to get everything free you can, THEN, get everything else you use/need at a discounted rate. LAST, and ONLY last, pay full retail for stuff.
If you start applying that philosophy, your money will go a LOT further!!!
When you’re behind on bills, these are just a few ideas to help you cut costs and make extra money. Be sure to continue your research, but above all, don’t lose your faith! Continue to pray about your situation and no matter what, maintain your faith in God. God will come through for you and take care of you! Seek first HIS kingdom and all these things shall be added unto you! (Matthew 6:33).