There are a lot of consumers who are trying to manage their day to day finances and this includes doing their best to avoid late payments on their bills. If you are one of them, you have a pretty good idea what follows next after you miss a payment deadline. Fees and charges and other add ons will be tacked on to your next bill. And if they concern utilities, you would be sure to get a notice about service interruption due to late payments or habitual non-payment.
These factors and a lot more are surely to add to your financial stress and if left unchecked, these can manifest into physical problems. Your health can be affected and can lead to sickness due to stress. Even with just this, it should be enough reason for you to start looking at your situation and try to find a way to put in a sustainable long-term solution to your financial woes.
A lot of what you are going through at the moment is largely an effect of the decisions you have been making in the past. That credit card purchase last month could haunt you for months to come. That student loan you took out in your sophomore year could still be in your repayment priorities long after you have settled in your new job.
But the reality is that there are still a lot of people who are unable to meet their bill payments. In a recent survey, NFCC.org shared that there are about 24% of consumers who are not meeting their payments on time. That is roughly about one in every four people who are missing their due dates for their bill payments.
Correcting late payments
If you find yourself in this position, here are a few things you can do to help you climb your way out of your financial problem. It will take time to be able to get things in order but the important thing is that you get started and take the first step in fixing your payment schedule.
- Accept the problem at hand. Denying that you are having problems making ends meet and paying your bills on time will only lead to bigger problems ahead. This is a sign of financial maturity and is accepted as a first step with almost any problem that you would encounter in life. You need to acknowledge that you have a problem which will help you strengthen your resolve in finding a solution out of it.
- Understand your debt amount. Late payments on whatever billing statement that comes your way is a sure fire way to financial trouble and debt problems. It is important that after you have accepted the fact that have shortcomings with the way you are managing your money, you need to spring into action. One of the things you can do is to list down what you owe. You need to understand how deep down in the red you are and what bills are behind. You can list them down on a piece of paper or by using any computer program. The idea is to know the extent of your problem so you can formulate a solution. This is similar to doctors having to understand how sick you are in order to know what to do next.
- Talk to your service providers. One of the things you can do to manage your situation is to be proactive and take control of it. You can do this by bringing the conversation to your providers and letting them know of what you are facing financially. For them, their bottomline is being able to collect their money and they might be willing to go into a compromise agreement with you just so they can collect. It might be some sort of deferment to help you sort things out or a lower monthly payment amount stretched to bit longer repayment period.
- Know which ones to pay off first. As you proceed with trying to catch up with all your late payments, you need to prioritize your list. USNews.com explained that you need to put the money first in the essentials food, clothing and especially shelter. Then you list down your priorities either the ones with the highest interest rates, the biggest balance or the ones that are about to be cut off. The important thing is to have a repayment priority plan and be able to stick to it.
How to stay on track
If you have already caught up with your payments, here are some tips to help increase your chances of not sliding back to your previous situation and help maintain a current status on your payments.
- Revamp your household budget. You need to take a close hard look at your budget and see what holes you need to plug up or what you can change to help you maintain a current status on payments. You might be spending too much on dining out or putting in more than what you need in your travel fund that is why you are running short on cash. Be sure to study and scrutinize your budget to help you improve the one you have.
- Increase your income. This is easier said than done but it is very important if you want to leave behind a life of late payments on your bills. There are a lot of ways you can do this and what you need to focus on is what is doable on your part. If you can find a way to put in time for a second job then go ahead and put in the work. You can sometimes look at your hobby and try to find out how you can turn that into a money-making venture. You can also try setting up a garage sale to simultaneously clean up your stuff and earn in the process.
- Implement cost-saving measures. As you increase your income, it is a good idea to cut down on your expenses to free up a lot more funds in your budget. As you look at earning more, cutting down on spending will increase your chances of setting money aside to prevent late payments in the future.
- Get people involved. It will be a lot easier if you have a support system with you as you go through this journey. Your family can help you around the house as you try to manage the expenses for your budget. It can be as simple as saving electricity or trying to lessen food spoilage. Your friends can also help you by being more aware of your spending and calling you out and checking your slip ups when you suddenly have a desire to splurge your salary on the latest gadget in the store.
Late payments on your bills will be a tough challenge to surmount as you have to deal with various fees and charges that will be tacked on to your account. The idea is to catch up on the late bills and stay current with the payment schedule. It is not enough to catch up on the payment and be current. What is more important is to put a system in place to help you stay current.