Let's say, hypothetically, you live paycheck to paycheck.
Now, let's use our imaginations and pretend you also have monthly bills.
There may come a time, in this mythical universe, where you don't have enough money to cover those bills on time.
Whether a unicorn stepped on your time machine (expensive!) or you just didn't plan right (heard), you can't give the imaginary bill people any of your pretend money on the date it's fake due.
Don't fantasy panic!
These are the real-life steps to getting a quick handle on dealing with the completely made-up situation of struggling with bills.
Figure out what bills are necessary to keep the stuff you simply can’t do without. Stuff like childcare, lights, heat, food.
I know it’d be a lot cooler if I said Netflix, ice cream, Oculus headset.
But, prioritizing the stuff that matters most, and dealing with those bills above others is important for your mind and wallet. Take care of those and let the rest wait a dang minute. That way you only have to work out the vital things instead of all the things.
2. CALL BEFORE IT’S DUE
Pick up that phone and call your companies before you miss your payment.
There’s a big difference in how creditors treat people who try to find solutions to pay vs. those who just say “fuck it” and skip the payment entirely.
It might feel weird, but you’ll get mad props, better treatment, and a faster solution if you speak up before shit hits the fan.
3. IT’S COOL
So they’re 100% NOT gonna be mad when you call.
Are you kidding?? They will be stoked to hear from you. Plus, you’ll be one of many people to tell them this that same day. Bottom line: they want you to pay them (surprise) so it’s in their best interest to help you out.
Ask them for a payment plan or if it’s possible to push back the due date. Either way, they’ll be thankful you RSVP’d about your bill, even if it’s tardy to the party. 💅
4. GET SOME RELIEF
There are some programs out there to help with a few key items.
For help paying internet, go to getemergencybroadband.org and see if you qualify. 💻
And for student loan help go to studentaid.gov to see if any of that applies to you. 🎓
5. STUDENT LOAN PAUSE
You read that right. There’s a student loan payment pause through August 31, 2022.
If you’re eligible, that means:
☔ paused loan repayments
☔ paused interest
☔ paused collecting defaulted loans
And even though it sounds like fun, don’t take financial aid from strangers! Scams are real. If you get a help offer you weren’t expecting, check with your school to make sure it’s legit.
They’re also considering forgiving $10K worth of student loans (it’s still on the table 🤞.) Learn more at studentaid.gov
6. BE MINDFUL OF LOANS
Be careful about debt management help and payday loans - preferably avoid these at all costs.
There’s usually interest and charges attached that might seem low at first but can increase over time.
And no one has time for that.
If you want to use one of these services to consolidate debt or get a loan, do all the research first and proceed with caution 🚨
But probably just don’t use them to avoid future stress.
It's unfortunate that money issues are more than just an exercise of the imagination. They're super real and take real time care to get the knack of. But you're on your way to making money management a reality 'cause hey! You're here aren't you? 🦄