Finance Quick Answers
I have had a drop in my income and cannot pay all of my bills. I don't want to ruin my credit report. What can I do?
Take a look at how much income you will have and make a plan to apply that income to your bills. If you find you cannot cover all of your bills, call creditors and discuss your situation. You should call them as soon as you realize you won't be able to pay all of your bills. Do not wait until you have already been turned over to a collection agency; it is generally too late at that point in time to work out a payment plan. Most companies are willing to set up a payment plan with smaller monthly payments for those people who find themselves in need. The most important aspect to remember after you have set up a plan with a company is to stick to the plan! If you find that you still cannot make the payments, call the company again and see if the payments can be reduced even further.
It is difficult to admit to someone that you cannot make ends meet and that you need help; however, it may spare you from ruining your credit record and from having your possessions repossessed. Companies want to see that you are putting forth an effort to pay your bill; therefore, communication with them is so important. If you simply don't pay your bill or don't stick to the payment plan, they will most likely not be willing to help you.
Dr. Joyce Cavanagh, Former Assistant Professor and State Specialist, Consumer and Family Economics
Last update: Monday, July 28, 2008