Need Help With Your Bills? Get Help With Your Credit Card Debt, Bills, Rent & More

Start Consolidating: Help with Bills, Debt & Rent

If your debt and your bills are causing you a lot of trouble, you’re not alone. Even now the economy is still tough and lots of families are struggling. Deciding whether to use this month’s money on the rent, the electric, the credit card debt or the groceries is not easy. To avoid those discussions, many families require outside help.

At the state and local level, there are many programs that assist financially stressed families. Charities, religious organizations and governmental assistance programs all offer help of one kind or another. Some provide information about saving money and prioritizing debts and payments. Others may offer to cover some of the looming debt.

 

 

If you are diligent in your search for assistance, it is possible for you to receive:

– Foreclosure counseling and prevention assistance
– Pro-bono legal advice and counsel
– Access to affordable (or free!) health care services
– Debt reduction and management
– Credits for payment to utility companies
– Low-cost tax filing and guidance

Problems with these six expenses (housing, legal, healthcare, existing debt, utilities and taxes) are some of the most difficult for families to cover when times are tough. By contacting local government agencies, it is usually possible to find additional assistance programs. Obtaining child care, food stamps and other benefits is not terribly difficult either if you have a real need. Just start looking.

Housing help

In the private sector and at both the state and federal levels, the need for housing assistance has been recognized. Many mortgage lenders, including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and Bank of America, are stepping up to address the problems of their borrowers. Often, these companies would prefer to cut you some slack than take your home away. Let them know you’re having difficulties and see what they can do to help you.

Government assistance can come in the form of bank-and-borrower mediation, one-on-one assistance with a borrower who is behind on his or her payments, or even grants that can be applied directly to unpaid balances. Nobody wants you to lose your home. After all, foreclosures don’t benefit you, banks or the government.

 

 

For renters, too

The economic downswing didn’t just affect families with investments in their homes. Many renters, too, found themselves forced to skip rent payments or ignore some other debt just to have a place to stay.

While your landlord may or may not be accommodating, charities, non-profits and government programs are available to give you help. Professionals can step in on your behalf when you’re facing eviction and it’s possible that you may even be able to have past due rent paid in full.

Credit card debt

High interest rates and poor spending habits can cause many people to tumble into deep credit card debt. Making payments is sometimes difficult and it’s easy for the total owed to pile up quickly.

Much like mortgage lenders, credit card companies don’t want their borrowers to default on owed balances. Therefore, most companies offer temporary debt relief programs and guidance about managing debt.

Such programs are currently very popular because the economic climate is so poor. In 2013, nearly 3 million credit card customers took advantage of a variety of assistance programs provided by credit card companies.

If your credit card debt is creating a serious burden, consider contacting the customer service department at your credit card company. They will likely give you some assistance.

Debt Settlement

When the prospect of paying back a debt seems impossible, a lender may agree to settle the debt for less than what is actually owed. They don’t want to get totally stiffed, and it’s likely that they would prefer to collect, say, $5,000 of a $10,000 debt rather than $0.

Contact your creditor for company-specific information about how they proceed with debt settlement. Keep in mind that you’ll need to prove true economic hardship. Settlement isn’t a loophole bargain and your creditors won’t be interested in settling unless it seems like the only way they’ll recoup any of their losses.

Utilities

You’ve got to keep the lights on. Finding ways to stay current on your electric and water bills is easier than you may think.

Utility companies are in an interesting position nowadays. Social and economic trends are encouraging business to reduce energy and water waste. As a result, your utility company may provide free improvements that will reduce your monthly bill!

If you’ve already taken advantage of such deals or they are not offered to you by your utility company, try and seek outside assistance. Again, the government has several programs to help people pay their utility, heating and energy bills, and reduce costs in the future. LIHEAP is one of such programs!

Quiet those debt collectors

Debt collectors, by the nature of their occupation, are annoying. Sometimes they can even cross the line and harass you. If you feel that they may be acting inappropriately, read a little bit about their restrictions. The law regulates how they can behave. You may be able to demand that they stop calling you (or at least that they stop calling you so frequently).

Medical costs

There is lots of help available for individuals and families with mounting medical bills. As you may suspect, government programs exists for citizens with these sorts of dilemmas. Knowledgeable professionals can guide you through petitioning for a settlement plan or act as your medical billing advocate.

Churches and community groups may also offer assistance in the form of donations or charitable gifts if you are in need.

Legal help

When you’re struggling financially, it’s important to know where you stand legally. Non-profit attorneys can help you navigate payment notices, contracts, financial statements and other forms that are sometimes very confusing. They can advise you when your mortgage falls delinquent, when your utilities get shut off, or during any other financial crisis.

With their help you can determine what rights you have and what process will be most beneficial for you and your family. If you’ve ever considered extreme measures such as bankruptcy, legal counsel is an absolute must-have. Take advantage of these services.

Reevaluate property taxes

The housing market is bad. That means prices are low. While this is not a great situation for sellers, it can be beneficial for homeowners who are planning on sticking around for a while.

When your property value goes down, your property taxes should also go down. However, it’s not in the best interest of the collecting government to adjust them accordingly. If your property taxes reflect older property values, challenge them. Many people are successfully having their property taxes dropped

Reducing expenses is a great way to catch up on late bills, so this is definitely a trick you want to keep up your sleeve.

Other options

If you think that you still have time to try and catch up on your debts by taking out a loan, you may be in luck. There are many potential lenders who are willing to let you borrow some money. After researching the costs, consider these options:

– Peer to peer lending
– Payday loans
– Low-interest credit union loans

Realize that these options are not great for most people. If you’re already far behind, these methods may not help. You could end up borrowing from one creditor to pay another.  You may be better off seeking assistance from an established program.