January 24, 2018

3 Steps to Take When You Can’t Make Your Minimum Payments

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Discovering that you can’t make the minimum payments on your credit cards or loan debts results in an uneasy, stressed-out feeling. Neglecting to make those minimum payments can also hurt your credit in a big way. Remedy this problem and decrease your debt by following these tips.

The ideal solution is to increase your income so that next month you can make the minimum payment and pay even more down on your debt. Get a second job, even if it means you have to work evenings or weekends for a while. If this is impossible because of childcare needs or other responsibilities, do something closer to home to earn extra money. Shoveling your elderly neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks after a snowstorm, babysitting and dog walking are all things that most people are capable of doing to earn extra money. Other ideas include teaching someone new skills, such as a how to speak a foreign language, operate a computer, cook or sew.

Have a giant garage sale to remove unnecessary items from your home and make extra money. Many people collect items such as old coins, stamps, comic books, Barbie dolls or other collectibles, and then lose interest in the hobby. Post ads to sell your collection, or visit a shop that will buy it. Gather all your outdated gold jewelry and sell it. Think of impulse buys you have purchased that you no longer need or like. Surely there is someone you know who would like to purchase your designer purses or shoes, that fancy barbecue grill, electronic gadget or other item you thought you couldn’t live without.

Call the credit card company or bank and ask if you can make smaller payments for a few months. If a financial emergency caused you to be short on cash, such as an expensive car repair or a trip to the emergency room, explain this to the company and see if you can negotiate. Often, the lender will agree to smaller payments as long as you consistently make them each month. If the person you talk with isn’t willing to do this, ask to speak with the manager. Although this smaller payment will reflect on your credit, the company will add a note stating, “paying as agreed.” This doesn’t look nearly as bad to future creditors as no payments at all.

An extra job, a garage sale or other money-making project may cut down on your social or leisure time, but getting your debts caught up and paid off will reap its own rewards by helping you have peace of mind.

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