There is no shame in falling behind with your bills. It will happen to most people at some time in their lives. Maybe you have lost your job or suffered an injury that prevents you working. Perhaps you are going through a divorce or have contracted an illness. There are many misfortunes waiting to befall us when the hand of fate points its finger.
You will find that your creditors will have little sympathy for your plight, and it will not be long before the wolves are at the door. It is a time when you need to prepare your mind and change your attitude. You must work out a battle plan because you have a fight on your hands. Leave them no room to manoeuvre; that means you just do everything correctly and reasonably. Here are some essential steps to take if you fall behind with your utility bills.
Contact The Suppliers
When you first suspect that you will not be able to pay, contact the suppliers. They have heard it all before, and you are not alone. They have a duty to help you out. They might mean giving you some breathing space for a couple of months, or missing a monthly payment and adding it onto the others throughout the year. Some people think that the supplier will cut them off immediately; that is not the case.
Try To pay
If you think your financial problems are only temporary, take out a short term loan so that you can meet the payments. Beware; payday loans have a bad reputation for good reason. They do an excellent job of preying on the vulnerable. Make sure you check out the annual percentage repayment rate.
The best way to catch up with your debt is to ask family members for a loan. At least they won’t charge extortionate interest.
Reduce the amount of energy you consume to keep your debt to a minimum. That might mean putting on an extra sweater in the evening, changing your light bulbs for a low energy alternative, and going to bed early. Do you have a satellite or cable television service? It is time to prioritise and cut back on the luxuries. If the power is cut off, you won’t be able to watch the TV, so get rid of the service and put the money to a better use. Try to remember it is only temporary.
Ask your supplier to install a prepayment meter so that you can pay for the energy you use and extra for the debt. Only take this step as a last resort because you pay more for the gas and electricity with those meters. You may find that once you are in this situation, the company will be reluctant to put your home back onto a credit meter. Looking upon it as a temporary solution might be a mistake.
When you are out of debt, switch to a cheaper supplier. The guys at Ohio Choice Energy say that somebody who has never switched could save a fortune on their bills. It might help you avoid getting into trouble again at a later date.
Try not to panic when you experience financial strife. Show the creditors your income and outgoings to demonstrate what you can pay if the debt goes to a collection agency. Take further advice from a financial expert who will guide you through the process. Things will improve eventually; there is always light at the end of the tunnel.