How to Pay Your Bills With No Money – 6 Practical Tips
Job loss, illness, unforeseen circumstances, prices increase everywhere, but your salary does not – life happens but rarely does it seem to keep in mind that we have actual bills to pay, let alone on time. No one wants to get caught in a situation where they cannot pay their bills, but unfortunately, no one is immune to unexpected loss of income.
If you haven’t had the time to consider an emergency fund, now’s a good time. That way, when you start back at work, you will have a clear plan to protect yourself in future situations. So, how can you make it through and pay your bills until life settles down? Try these three practical tips:
1. START PLANNING
Budget | The very first step is to make a budget. A budget is not the most exciting thing to do, but it helps you to see where your money is going and where you can save. The Canadian Government website has a budget calculator that is very user-friendly and easy to use. You fill it out online and download the results on an excel file.
Call Creditors | Once your budget is made, call your creditors if you see no immediate solution to your money problem. Explain your situation to them and make payment arrangements. Let them know you are working on a solution.
Estimate How Long Before the Consequences of Not Paying Begin | For your other bills, you can estimate how long it will be before the services get cut off or late fees start adding up. You may be able to skip a month of your phone and internet bills, for example. Some credit cards have late payment forgiveness, so you can miss a month and still not trigger an interest rate increase. If an account does charge a late fee, find out how much it is. It could be a nominal fee, in which case you can delay payment and not be hit with too large of a penalty.
Protect Your Essentials | If you must choose what bills to pay, start by paying for what you absolutely need: housing and food. You can include utilities and transportation in this category too. Eventually, you could look to lower these costs by couponing, thrifting, or even making your DIY cleaning, skincare, or haircare products.
Think Long Term | If you have a problem paying your bills for a month or two, that is one thing. However, if this is an ongoing problem, you will need to start planning major changes. Perhaps you could consolidate loans, look for a better-paying job, move to a cheaper home, or sell your car and rely on public transportation. Making such moves could protect you from going through the same bill payment problems in the future.
2. SEEK GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Keep in mind that government aid is not charity. Some people and cultures have difficulty accepting government programs’ help, as they feel like it is an undeserved charity. However, when you are working, part of your hard-earned money goes into these programs for the benefit of all. Job loss due to any cause is never a choice, and rarely is anyone at fault. Government aid is there to help you make ends meet until you can provide for yourself again. Here are the two main programs you should consult as soon as you are out of work.
EI (Employment Insurance) | If you have lost your job because of a shortage of work, seasonal layoff or another reason through no fault of your own, you should apply as soon as possible for EI. Not only do you pay into this every paycheque, but it is for the specific purpose of keeping you afloat financially while you look for alternative employment. Don’t forget to ask your employer for your ROI (Record of Employment) as soon as possible so you can submit it to Service Canada and get the ball rolling. You can qualify for EI if you:
· Were employed in insurable employment.
· Lost your job through no fault of your own.
· Have been without work and pay for at least seven consecutive days in the last 52 weeks.
· Have worked for the required number of insurable employment hours in the last 52 weeks or since the start of your previous EI claim, whichever is shorter.
· Are ready, willing and capable of working each day.
· Are actively looking for work (you must keep a written record of employers you contact, including when you contacted them).
EI Sickness Benefit | The EI Sickness Benefit helps support those unable to work due to a legitimate illness, injury, quarantine, or medical condition. Eligibility is as follows:
· You’re unable to work for medical reasons.
· Your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least one week.
· You accumulated 600 insured hours* of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter.
3. CHANGE SOME HABITS
Cut Back on Expenses | Analyze your budget to see what you can change. Do you go to Tim Hortons each morning to buy coffee? You will save hundreds of dollars yearly by making your coffee at home.
Do you have a television package with a phone and cable company? You will save at least $150 per year by using streaming services, probably more.
Do you have a home phone? Get a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) device. The price range for using a VoIP device goes from $35 to about $70 a year, and all long-distance calls in Canada and the U.S. are free. No, this is not a mistake. That is what you pay annually, saving you at least $300 every year.
Get a Roommate | Getting a roommate will cut the rent in half, along with the electricity bill and other amenities. Living with a roommate will need some getting used to, but the money you’ll save makes it worthwhile.
4. PURGE YOUR HOME
Do you remember the feeling you would get, as a child or even as a young adult, when you would find some long-lost coins or dollar bills in the couch cushions? Often we acquire so much more than we need or have time for. Take an honest look at what you own and see if you can’t turn some of it into extra cash. The Simple Dollar suggests:
Get Organized | Purging your home can be overwhelming. It can also be an extremely emotional process. It’s essential to focus on all the positives you will achieve through the purge. You will have extra money to put towards your bills, you will enjoy a less cluttered version of your home, which has been proven to relieve stress, and you will have time to focus on the things you actually use or wear or care deeply about. Arrange a schedule, for example:
· Friday evening: living room, kitchen, hall closet (if applicable).
· Saturday: bedrooms 1 and 2 (including closets), guest bathroom.
· Sunday: master bedroom (including closet), master bathroom.
Make a list of steps for each room; for example, if you were to start in the kitchen:
· Discard expired items from the pantry and neatly organize what remains on the shelves.
· Empty the kitchen cabinets and only place the things of value back inside.
· Clear off the countertops.
· Sanitize the appliances (interior and exterior) and other surfaces in the kitchen.
· Mop and shine the floors.
Sell Unused Clothing & Household Items | Seasons come and go, and your love of a particular style of clothing or home decor can also come and go. Sometimes our sizes change, leaving our closets and basements cluttered with clothes we will probably never wear again. We also tend to lose interest in using certain specialty appliances. Ask yourself:
· Have you used the item in the past year?
· If so, will you need it in the near future?
· If not, will you ever use it?
· Does it possess some sentimental value?
· Will you lose sleep at night once it’s gone?
5. TAKE ON CONTRACT WORK
It’s easier said than done, but it’s vital that you stay positive and take action when you experience job loss. Forbes recommends taking an honest approach to the situation. “Think of what you want to do, your chances of getting that job, and whether it will pay what you require. In this brutal job market we’re heading into, you need to be open-minded and consider all alternatives.” You can take the following steps to seek opportunities for contract work:
Update Your LinkedIn Profile | Above all things, be honest in your LinkedIn profile. Avoid the urge to succumb to beautifying your profile, as you might on other social platforms. List your education and experience and any certifications you may have. If you need some inspiration for your status, Forbes suggests:
· Actively Seeking Employment.
· Available for Employment.
· Available for New Opportunities.
· Seeking a New Opportunity.
· Operations Logistic Professional Seeking Work.
· Experienced Retail Manager Available for New Opportunity.
· Former VP HR, Seeking New Human Resources Opportunities.
· Marketing Professional in Transition.
· Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Currently Exploring Options.
· Recent College Graduate Seeking Entry-Level Programming Position.
Practice Remote Interviews | The most common method for interviewing candidates this year is via Zoom or another remote video chat program. To prepare for your upcoming interviews, download the most common programs and get familiar with them. Ask a friend to connect with you so you can get comfortable using the program. Make sure to:
· Practice where to look, the right angle for the camera, as well as for your comfort.
· Locate the mute button in the case of an unexpected noise or commotion.
· Use a professional handle, and include your area of expertise.
· Make sure your speakers and microphone work well.
· Ditch the cheesy backgrounds. Clear out a well-lit area of your home where you can comfortably take your interview.
6. LOANS AND CREDITS
Debt Consolidation | One reason for not making ends meet is an accumulation of various debts, like multiple credit cards and loans. The many payments and high-interest rates are just too much to manage. In this case, you can make a personal loan with your bank to consolidate your debts. A secured loan, where you put an asset like your car or house as collateral, will get you a lower interest rate. The purpose of debt consolidation is to pay off all your debts and leave you with only one smaller payment at a lower interest rate.
Credit Card or Small Loan | If your situation is temporary and you know things will settle soon, a credit card or a small loan will be the answer. You can ask a friend or family member
to loan you the money or apply for an online personal loan. Online personal loan providers often only ask for a bank statement and a pay stub. If you can provide these, you may be able to get a loan to cover your bills for a month or two.
24Cash | The lack of money and employment is a significant source of stress we all can face. Sometimes spending less on groceries and reducing other expenses still doesn’t cut it. You might need a little financial help, and that’s perfectly okay. 24Cash is a local business based in Canada that provides various short-term loans to support hardworking Canadians. Never hesitate to contact us for a small loan. We are here in support of you and your family.