7 Steps to Take When You are Behind on Your Bills

Late on your bills this month? Trying to figure out how to catch up? It happens. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, many people are in the same boat. Getting back on track after being behind on your bills can be difficult, but it is doable! Follow these steps to get back on track with your finances:

Write it all out

First things first, write it all out on paper. List each company you owe money to and how much you owe. Be sure to include any late fees you may have incurred. While this approach may sound unappealing, you have to lay everything out on the table in order to start chipping away at the debt. Hiding from how much you owe will only make it worse.

Cut out unnecessary expenses

We didn’t say it was going to be easy to get caught up on your bills. If it was, you probably wouldn’t have fallen behind in the first place. Cut out unnecessary expenses like the gym, cable, eating out, video streaming services, nail appointments, etc. You can always restart these things once you have room in your budget for them again.

Create a budget

After you know how much you owe, you need to formulate a plan to pay your bills. Make sure you create your budget realistically, or it won’t work. List every expense and when it is due. Use all the extra money you are saving from budgeting and cutting out unnecessary expenses and put it toward your late bills. Once you have laid out your budget, you should know how long it will realistically take you to catch up on your bills.  Be sure to track all your spending – a budget won’t work unless you follow it.

Talk to the People You Owe

Many companies will likely work out a payment plan with you if you reach out. Call your creditors, explain your situation, and let them know how much you can afford to pay each month. Agreeing upon a plan with your creditors keeps your bills from going to collections which helps keep your credit score intact.


Decide how to prioritize which bills to pay first. After you speak with your creditors, you will know which ones are not as willing to work with you. Choose to pay those bills first so that they don’t end up going to collections and ruining your credit.

Get a second job

The best way to pay your bills off and get caught up is to increase your income. Find a second job or a side hustle. This could be temporary until you are financially stable again, or you may like the additional income and choose to keep it. If you aren’t able to start a conventional new job, consider more unconventional ones like food delivery through apps such as DoorDash or Uber Eats, ridesharing, online copywriting and editing, lawn mowing, dog walking, or join a multi-level marketing company such as MaryKay or Rodan + Fields.

Start saving for future emergencies

Once you’re all caught up and in a good place, start saving so you never fall behind again due to an unexpected bill or loss of income. Add a line for saving money into your existing budget.

For more tips on improving your personal finances, check out our Learning Center Blog. Always feel free to reach out to our friendly contact center representatives at 888-777-9982 if you have any questions about your accounts or loans with us. We will make it through these turbulent times together!

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