When hard times hit, it can be difficult to provide for the basic needs of your family, not to mention paying the bills. Because the money is short, those bills will appear as a gigantic mountain that is difficult to climb. The good news is that you don't have to climb the mountain alone. There are a variety of different ways you can pay bills when you don't have enough money. It's just a matter of knowing where to turn to get the assistance you need.
Determine which bills can wait and which bills can't. You don't want to miss paying bills to creditors, since creditors will report your missed payments to the credit bureau. This will bring down your credit score. Try to pay at least the “minimum payment” for credit card bills.
Contact the billing or collections department for each company you owe. Advise the company representative that you are experiencing a financial crisis. Ask if it is possible for you to set up a payment plan for your bill instead of paying the entire bill at once. In many cases, the company will oblige your request, especially if you have a good payment history.
Seek assistance through local organizations. There are many charitable organizations that help with utility bills and rent. You will generally have to go through an interview process with an organization representative to determine whether or not you are eligible for assistance.
An easy way to find local organizations is through the United Way website. You can also call the United Way from most mobile phones by calling “211.”
Contact your utility company if you need assistance with a water, gas or electric bill. In some cases, the utility company has a special program to assist individuals with paying a utility bill.