How to Reduce Financial Stress When You Can’t Pay the Bills

How to Reduce Financial Stress When You Can’t Pay the Bills

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Millions of people are currently struggling with their finances, which brings along with it plenty of stress and anxiety. This is a lot to deal with on top of the reality of death and disease that the coronavirus pandemic brings, not to mention the resulting economic fallout. Incredibly, nearly 45% of Americans have reported that their mental health has suffered negatively as a result of the pandemic, mostly due to stress and worry. Another 69% of Americans aged 18 and up report having financial issues at this time. If you’re experiencing financial stress yourself, here are a few things you can do to cope with the most common money stressors.

If You Don’t Have Enough Savings

While it is common knowledge that you should have at least six months of savings on hand in the event of an emergency, the reality is that having those kinds of savings is a luxury for many Americans. Instead, you should focus on what you can control, instead of what you can’t. You should work towards cutting everything but the essentials so you can make sure that things like your mortgage, rent, utilities, and insurance are paid, and that you’re able to put food on the table. If you aren’t able to pay a bill, be sure to contact the creditor right away. They might be willing to waive late fees or negotiate a payment schedule that you can more easily meet.

If You Lose Your Job

As of April alone, more than 20 million Americans lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, they’ve had to resort to collecting unemployment-and if you haven’t already, make sure that you file for unemployment as soon as possible if you’ve been laid off from work. That’s because there may be a lag time until you receive your first check, and that isn’t something you want to delay. You’ll also want to try your best to keep some form of health insurance, especially in the event that you become sick with the coronavirus yourself. If you can’t afford to pay for COBRA, try to find a lower-cost high-deductible policy through the state or through the federal Affordable Care Act exchange at healthcare.gov.

If You Can’t Pay Your Debts

The reality is that many people are unable to pay their debts at this time. In fact, nearly half of U.S. adults carry credit card debt and 13% are unable to pay those debts at all. If you’re one of those, make sure that you call your credit card company to discuss your finances and let them know that you’re being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. You can ask them if you can skip a payment, take a break, or if they’re offering any sort of assistance at this time. Many credit card companies will be willing to work with you, especially if you’ve always paid on time before and they know that the reason you’re unable to pay now is a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak.