Help Paying Your Bills
Keeping up with your monthly bills is never easy, especially for families juggling debt payments, household bills, and the day-to-day costs of raising a family. Even if you have a budget and stick to it, you may still be left panicking when an unforeseen bill or expense pops up to threaten your delicate financial balance.
If you're looking for help paying bills right now or worried about a new bill on the horizon, these five suggestions may keep you from falling behind on payments or damaging your credit.
1. Sell Items for Cash Online
Make a list of small items you could sell for cash through an online classifieds listing or on social media. Items you should be able to sell quickly include:
- Gently used clothing
- Kitchen appliances
- Sports equipment
2. Hold a Yard Sale
If selling items online doesn't appeal to you, you could organize a garage or a yard sale to make money quickly by selling several items at once. Remember to check your city by-laws to see if you need a yard sale permit before you get started. Then gather and price your unwanted items and advertise with signs in your neighborhood.
3. Reach Out to Your Local Church or Charity
Don't hesitate to contact local agencies, including church groups, to get help paying bills. If they can't help you directly, they may be able to refer you to assistance programs in your area. A food assistance program, for instance, could help you lower your grocery bill for the month and allow you to use the money you save on other bills.
4. Use Government Resources
Mortgage or rent is most people's largest monthly bill. If you're a homeowner, contact your mortgage lender right away—they may be able to help you adjust your payment amount to give you some wiggle room.
If you rent, depending on your income, you could qualify for assistance through a federal or state government program. Search online for one offered by your own state or visit Help With Bills for details on additional support.
5. Get Help With Your Utility Bill
If you're struggling to meet monthly utility payments, like gas or electricity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a home energy assistance program that could help. You should also investigate state utility assistance programs. There are a number of state-run programs that let you pay a set amount each month based on your income, no matter how high your actual bills get. Other systems will reduce your bill so you only pay a portion of the total bill. Keep in mind that eligibility for these programs usually depends on your total household income.