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Tips to Catch Up on Bills When You’re Falling Behind

Tom Hartford, Senior Editor

May 1st, 2020

Affected by COVID-19? Here are a few resources to help during this unprecedented situation.

CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law to aid individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill is the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

Direct Stimulus

Individuals will receive tax credits in the form of a check or direct deposit. No action is required to receive this benefit. This includes $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to individual filers earning less than $75,000 annually, along with other stipulations. Track your Stimulus Check here.

Unemployment Assistance

This CARES Act also includes expanded unemployment benefits. Requirements now include self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and more. To apply, contact your state unemployment office. Find their contact information on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Mortgage Assistance

At this time, mortgage lenders and servicers can provide payment deferral of up to 180 days on federally backed loans. If needed, contact your mortgage provider to discuss deferring mortgage payments.

Rent Assistance

If you cannot pay rent, talk with your housing provider, as you may be protected under the CARES Act. Read more about COVID rent relief here.

Need to catch up on bills? You’re not alone. In fact, nearly half of all Americans are in the same boat, and even more are anxious about bills that are due. Whether you’re hurting for cash due to an unexpected expense, low income, bad management, or a combination of these factors, you don’t have to give up.

With a little know-how and hard work, you can find the financial solution you’ve been seeking. Interested in learning how to land yourself in a better financial position for the future? Keep reading and you’ll be able to do just that.

 

5 Simple Steps to Catch Up on Bills

 

Getting ahead of your bills and improving your financial situation doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With five simple steps, you can pay off those overdue bills, avoid calls from collection agencies, and get back to life.

 

Step 1. Find Out How Much Money You Owe on Bills

Okay, this one is pretty self-explanatory. But it’s essential. In order to catch up on your bills, you need a clear picture of what bills are awaiting payment. So, go through your bills and find out which ones you need to pay soon. Write out the due dates and arrange them in order of when they’re due.

Most Common Bills Include:

What bills should you be looking for? You may have the following bills that need to be paid each month:

  • credit card
  • student loan
  • other debts
  • cell phone
  • gym membership
  • rent
  • car loan
  • utilities
  • groceries
  • eating out
  • childcare
  • pet food
  • insurance (home, health, and auto)
  • monthly memberships (Netflix, etc.)

Once you have a complete picture of all your bills, add the monthly total and then compare this amount to how much money you earn every month. Now, you’re ready to determine which bill should be your first priority and your last.

On average, Americans living in large cities spend $1,000 on monthly bills, in addition to paying rent. However, your case may be different.

 

2. Decide What You Can Live Without

Is Netflix absolutely necessary for you? Is it as necessary as food, clothing, and shelter?

If you’re going to get ahead of your bills, you have to determine what you can do without and cut it from your monthly expenses.

To do this, look at your monthly bills, label them as lifestyle (Netflix, subscription services, gym membership) or necessary (rent or utility bill, etc.) expenses. Then, prioritize them. Once you’ve done this, the next step is to cancel whatever is on the bottom of the list immediately.

 

Understanding Needs vs. Wants

Determining what is a lifestyle or necessary expense isn’t always easy. But if you want to catch up on bills, finally stop making late payments, and start having extra money in your bank account, you have to do it.

For example, you may need a cell phone, but you may be able to save money by not getting the latest and greatest smartphone. And you may think maintaining a Netflix is necessary to help you unwind, but your local library likely has a good video section. Or grab a book and get lost in a story!

 

3. Find Flexibility in Your Bill Schedules

You can make a minimum payment to your credit card company, but should you miss an electric bill? Doing that could leave you cold and in the dark.

Instead, make your utility bills a top priority. This will help you maintain your electricity and water services without late fees for paying after the due date.

 

See if Service Providers Have Room for Negotiation

Paying every bill in its entirety may not be a possibility for you at this time. If the due date for one or more bills is creeping up and you can’t afford another late fee for paying past the due date, don’t give up hope.

Instead, talk to your credit card company, other lenders, your utility company, or your landlord. Ask if you can get an extension or a discount on your monthly payment. Most companies would rather get paid late or get paid a reduced amount rather than nothing at all. And remember to be kind when you ask. As the old saying goes, honey catches more flies than vinegar.

 

4. Get More Money Now

If every one of your monthly bills is necessary, you need to come up with some extra cash through a side hustle. This can mean getting a part-time job or doing a gig (like Uber or Upwork, day labor, or work for a friend).

If the bills are breathing down your neck and the thought of another one becoming past due is too much to bear, you may want to consider a short-term loan. At Check Into Cash, an Installment Loan offers more cash and smaller payments over a longer period of time. And we help people in all sorts of situations. You’ll receive your money quickly, too.

 

5. Start Planning for Next Month and Beyond

Want to avoid the mad monthly scramble to make sure you have enough money to pay your monthly expenses? Is one of your financial goals to build up an emergency fund? Wish you could just have a monthly budget that helps you to catch up on bills? It can happen.

If you want to plan for the future so you don’t have to fear repossession of your automobile, eviction from your apartment, or having your utilities turned off, it can be done. Focus on narrowing down your bills, earning more money, and staggering payments more intentionally. Do those steps and your finances will be in better shape than ever!

 

Get Back on Track With Your Bills

Not having enough money to pay your monthly bills can be frustrating. Having trouble paying your water bill? We can help you through it. Can’t afford your car payment? We can help with that too.

Just remember, you don’t have to be stuck in that difficult situation. With some hard work and help from Check Into Cash, you can get over the hump and move toward a better financial future.

Editor’s Note:

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, your service providers may make special accommodations during this unprecedented time.

Looking to Learn More?

We have a number of loan options to fit your situation. Depending on your location, you may qualify for an Installment Loan, Payday Loan, Line of Credit, or even a Title Loan. Click below to see which financial solution works best for you.

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