If you’re burdened by debt, the stress of having bills you can’t pay and receiving calls from creditors can be overwhelming. You might even be considering declaring bankruptcy. Before you take such a drastic step that could significantly lower your credit score and limit your future financial options, look for other solutions.
Earn More Money
If possible, increase your income. If you have been at your job long enough and your boss is pleased with your performance, ask for a raise. If that’s not possible, volunteer for projects that could put you in line for a promotion. If you work part-time, look for a full-time job or a second part-time one. Use your skills to earn extra money by freelancing or teaching others, or find odd jobs to generate additional income.
Look for ways to cut costs. If you live in an expensive apartment, look for a cheaper place, find a roommate or consider moving in with family or friends. Before you ask your loved ones for help, be honest about your circumstances, your ability to contribute to living expenses and how long you might need to stay with them.
You can also save money by cutting back on things like entertainment, eating out and clothing. If you spend a lot of money to commute to your job, ask if you can work from home, or consider public transportation.
Negotiate Repayment Terms
If you have explored these options and you’re still struggling to pay your bills, talk to your creditors. They would rather get some money than have your debts be discharged in bankruptcy court. Your creditors might be willing to lower your interest rates and allow you to make smaller payments over a longer period of time. A credit counseling company can help you negotiate with your creditors if you have not had success working with them directly.
Sell Property or Borrow Money
Another option is to sell some of your belongings to earn money quickly. Turn jewelry, clothing, accessories, electronics or even a vehicle into cash by selling them online or holding a yard sale.
If you’re in dire straits, you can borrow money from family or friends. Before you ask others for a loan, think about their financial situation. Your loved ones might feel obligated to help you, but it wouldn’t be fair to ask them for help if it means that they wouldn’t be able to pay their own rent or mortgage or feed their own families. If someone is willing and able to loan you money, agree to a plan with specific repayment terms and stick to it. If you don’t, it could cause irreparable harm to your relationship.
Explore All Options
If you’re buried in debt, you might feel that bankruptcy is the only option, but there are other solutions to explore first. With hard work and a combination of strategies, you can fight your way out of debt.