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What to Do When You Can't Pay Your Bills

Jun 20, 2008
If you are now, or ever have been, in a position where you simply don't have the money to pay your bills, there is something you need to understand. Not being able to pay your bills doesn't make you a bad person. Many people in the United States are only one or two paychecks away from the street.

No one talks about this. Financial problems are seen as taboo in our society, and people seem to only talk about how much money they do have, not the problems they have. But many of us do have serious financial problems. Sometimes even people who seem to have everything together can't pay their bills. While it doesn't happen to literally "everyone," it does happen to good people.

We often spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be broke. We think it means we're not taking care of our families, that we're stupid, that we're lazy. It doesn't mean any of those things.

Being broke just means you're broke.

If you find yourself unable to pay the bills, you can do one of two things. You can despair, run from the problem, and just continue on as you have been, with creditors calling, no money in the bank, and no prospect of things getting any better.

Or you can consider this a rock bottom experience and move up. While this is a very difficult and stressful situation, you can recover from it. You can use this opportunity to start making things better for yourself and your family. It won't be easy, and it will often be unpleasant, but you can do it, and if things are ever going to change, you have to do it.
Start by asking for help. Contact a consumer credit counselor if you feel you need outside help. Contact your creditors and let them know that you want to repay them but are having difficulty making your monthly payments.

Most debt relief specialists suggest making a plan for your finances in which you pay your creditors 20% of your income, save 10% for future emergencies, and use 70% to live. This is a good plan. Make up a plan like this, and divide the 20% among your creditors proportionally according to what you owe each one.

When you explain this plan to your creditors (do it in writing), they may object. In fact, they probably will object. Don't argue with them about it. Just explain the plan once, and pay them according to the plan. Your creditors know that if they did take you to court, and you showed the judge your plan and the payments you've made, the judge would side with you, because you're doing all you can do.

This plan works because you keep enough income to pay for your needs and expenses, and you save some money to help you in future bad circumstances. Within the portion of your income you keep, you should use some of it for non-necessities, if you can.

This plan is designed to help you pay off your debts. It does not punish you for getting into debt; the debt itself is more punishment than anyone needs. You don't deserve punishment. You just need a way out, and this plan offers that.

Pay your debtors what you promise to pay them, and keep your payments on time. Honor your new agreement, even if they would prefer that you pay them more. Do the best you can.

Be honest and open, and this will pass.
About the Author
Read the blog http://www.zero-out-my-debt.com for the latest tips and information on debt reduction and debt elimination .
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