If you’ve found yourself in a really stressful financial situation and you’ve run out of money to pay bills or other basic necessities: there are people who can help. There are also steps you can take to make budgeting easier for yourself, so try not to panic too much. If you follow the advice laid out here you will soon find yourself in a better situation in no time.
1. Talk to friends and family
Firstly, where possible, don’t struggle with this burden alone. Let your friends or family know about your situation – whether it is that you can no longer pay your rent, or that you cannot make your credit card or other loan repayments, or maybe you are overseas and cannot afford an airfare home. They might not be able to lend you any money – and nor would you expect them to – but they can at least talk you through the situation and provide you with emotional support, or a place to stay if needed.
2. Seek financial advice If you are struggling because you cannot make repayments, talk to your bank and look into a debt consolidation loan if you owe several different institutions. You may be able to secure a loan at a more manageable interest rate. Talk with the debt collection agency to set up a payment plan that is manageable for you based on your income and expenses. They may require you to increase your income or decrease your expenses before they can help you. This will at least provide you with a clear idea on what you need to change about your lifestyle so you can get your finances on track.
Rent, household expenses and our means of transportation are fixed expenses that are not easily changed. However this does not mean it is impossible. Look into moving somewhere smaller, perhaps further away from the city but close to public transport. Move in with friends, or into another rental property where you are not on the lease: you might have to move in with people you do not know. Cutting out the land line, selling your car and replacing it with something cheaper to run – or replacing it with buses and trains – are all other ways you can downsize immediately. Going back to the bank with evidence on how you’ve changed your lifestyle and spending will mean they might look more favorably on your application for a loan.
4. Sell what you can
Writing and printing out a list of clothes, appliances and other items you have that you can sell is one idea to help you get money in your pocket fast.
There will always be items around the house that you never use or wear – or even that you do use, but do not need. Create an account on E-bay or Gumtree or similar and get started on this straight away.
5. Financial allowances
Make an appointment to find out whether you are eligible for a government allowance or benefit. If you are in Australia, find out where the nearest Centrelink office is and have a chat with a worker there. Even if you do not qualify for any allowances, they will still be able to give you some advice and let you know about charities and other organizations that can help you.