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What should I do if I cant afford the bills ?

Have you found yourself in a position when you lack the cash to pay your outstanding bills? Perhaps with rising fuel costs, inflation and with the sub-prime crises, you get a splitting headache wondering how you could settle the bills which are now lying on your table before you. You are not alone. And you are not necessarily a bad person if you are unable to pay your bills.

Do you ever talk about your financial predicament? Most people don’t and that is understandable. Where finance is concerned, it breaks into the ego of that person. Having financial problems including the inability to settle one’s outstanding bills is deemed as being a failure, not unlike a taboo as far as society is concerned. Nobody likes to talk about how much they are behind in their payments. People rather talk about their recent material acquisitions rather than their financial problems. But you must get out of this. If you are in serious financial problems, you must seek help just like how you will need to seek help if you are having serious emotional problems. What may start out as a small financial hiccup can balloon to something out of control if not tackled head on.

So, what then? Get help! Don’t just wallow in self-pity or take it out on the innocent as they definitely will not improve your financial situation. What you need is proactive action, not passive inaction. Worrying further about how the bills are going to pile up further in the coming months will not help either.

Seek the counsel of a consumer credit counsellor who may be able to give you professional advice on how you should restructure your financial problems and find effective and practical solutions to your financial problems. Muster the courage to contact your creditors and tell them about your financial hiccups and find out how they can accommodate you – eg. to restructure the length of payment, amount of payment or even to consider a lump sum payment ala debt settlement schemes.

Consider a strategy wherein you set aside at least 20% of your income toyou’re your creditors with priority to the creditor whom you are owing the most or your biggest credit card bill. Then, stash away 10% from your income into safe investment vehicles and use the remaining 70% of your income for your monthly cost of living. Get a second or part time job if that will help you to repay your bills faster. Even with the 70% of your income which you use for cost of living, if there be any surplus, use it to pay your debts. If you must, sacrifice on entertainment and luxuries. Wait till you can afford them once you are debt-free. Consider terminating your subscriptions to gymnasiums, yoga classes, magazines or even cable TV as you don’t need these extra bills to pay for. You can always take a jog around the park or read books and magazines in the local libraries. Sell off your club memberships or run a junkyard sale to raise some funds whilst helping yourself to do some housekeeping.

With the above strategy, negotiate this with your creditors so that they can understand your financial position better. Being upfront and honest with them pays. They might decline but they will have to consider the costs of filing a claim against you for non-payment. Your strategy above will also become useful to show the Court in the event you are dragged to Court for non-payment as it shows that you have done all you could to get yourself out of this financial rut.

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