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8 ideas to help when you can’t pay your bills

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I remember when my husband lost his job and the fear I had about our bills. The fear when you can’t pay your bills can be paralyzing. It’s humbling enough to lose your job then you can’t pay your bills makes it humiliating.

Not being able to pay your bills is the scariest thing in the whole wide world next to death.  When you look at your bottom line and realizes there isn’t enough money to pay all the bills your stomach tightens up, you get a headache and you feel like you are going to puke.

You’re worried and you don’t know how you’re going to pay the bills and it scares you to death

 When we weren’t able to pay our bills it was scary. My husband was .out of work and we thought for sure he would get a job in a couple of months. And then when those couple of months turned into five months and when those five months turned into 7 months and when those seven months turned into a year.

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We were unable to pay our bills by month three. We had already gone through all of our savings. We had two months of savings when he lost his job. We had to make choices about what we could pay and what we couldn’t. They were hard choices to make.

Questions like: “do we pay our mortgage this month?” or “do we pay our credit cards?” “do we pay our insurance?” We didn’t know what to do. Every month we had to figure out what we were going to pay or not pay.

Tips when you can’t pay your bills

Hopefully, if you are in this place the following tips will help you if you can’t pay your bills.

Call your bank

Call your bank and tell them what has happened to you. Tell them that you’re out of work and tell them that you don’t know when you’re going to get a job. Ask them if there is a way that they can delay payments or something to help you with your credit cards.

Call your landlord or your mortgage broker

Next, you are going to want to call the bank that holds your mortgage or call your landlord and tell them what has happened. They most likely will be understanding and will want to work with you. The last thing they want to do is have you default on the loan or on your rent. You will need to explain to them that you want to honor the agreement of your mortgage or lease, and you are hoping they will be able to work with you until you get a job.

Ask yourself the hard question 

In the process of this, there are some hard questions that you might have to ask yourself. Is it time to move? Do we need to sell the house? Could I live with my mother-in-law and father-in-law for a year? Could I live with my parents for a year? What about living with a friend until I get through this? By asking yourself these hard questions they will help you navigate through the next part of this post.

Determined what is necessary for your budget

When you look at all the things that you pay for on a monthly basis and you see that there are Netflix and Spotify and cable and internet and cell phone bills and a landline and the list goes on and on. If you can trim your budget from some of these monthly memberships, for right now, that allows you to pay for you’re bigger needs like electricity or your mortgage or your rent. You will free up some cash. All those $10 memberships add up and they are the easiest things to trim from your budget.

My favorite finance author David Bach calls it the Latte Factor. If you were to spend $5 a day on a latte after 30 days that’s $150. The same principal applies with these memberships to Netfilx and Spotify, they add up over a month. Take them out of your budget till you find a job.


Believe it or not, food is the one thing that you can stop worrying about. The government has set up a program that will help you buy food. Apply for the program, it will help. I know it’s humbling. I have been there and I know what it’s like to purchase groceries with a SNAP card.

Also, use food pantries. They are there to help. Worrying about food isn’t something you should have to do. There are so many programs that are set up to help during a time when just like you are in now.

Related: 16 Insanely valuable life lessons of unemployment
Related: How to make a cheap healthy meal plan

Cash back offers

Using cashback offers is a great way to help when you can’t pay your bills. There are apps like Swagbucks and Ibotta and so many others where you can get cash back just by using those apps.

Ibotta it is a great app that will give you cashback when your grocery shopping and you don’t even have to have coupons! It’s just an app that’s on your phone and you take a picture of your receipt and then you submit it to Ibotta. They give you a dollar or $2 for the items that you bought and the money will add up after a while.

Make some extra cash

Lastly when you can’t pay all your bills look for another way you can make some money. Sometimes all you have to do is be able to make an extra hundred or $200 to cover all your bills. If that’s the case for you then look around your house, is there something you can sell.

I sold our kids toys and some old couches we had. That helped us to be able to pay our electric bill that day.

Save anyway

I realize that the last thing you want to do right now is try and save some cash. But if you can save just five dollars that will help you feel better. Five dollars a week will add up and then the next thing you know you will have the money to pay for the car’s oil change or if your kid has to go to the doctor.

When you can pay your bills

I want to leave you with a note of encouragement. This is only a short season and you will get through it. Take some time to pray and ask God to help you understand, where to apply for a job and what to do about your money situation. God will help you!

Be sure and sign up for my email list and grab my Free Weekly Planner. In it is a debt tracker that I’m sure will come in handy!

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