I missed work because of two family emergencies right before Christmas. Now I have bills due and no money to pay them. Do I pay them late & deal with late fees, or do I write checks that will bounce and have to pay those fees? Please help!
We're sorry to hear about your emergencies and we hope everything turned out okay. We suggest that you get on the phone right away and call your creditors. Tell them the situation and let them know that you will be paying the bills but you'll have to be a little late. Remember that you're their customer. They'd prefer to have you stick around with them a long time so they can make as much money off you as they can. So it's in their best interests to work with you, especially if you've had a history as a paying customer who hasn't given them trouble.
But you must be firm when you speak with them. If you don't get any joy from the first representative you talk to, ask for the supervisor. Ask for what you want. Remind them of your history with them as a customer. And suggest a payment plan. Then stick to it.
DON'T overcommit. If you don't think you can make a payment by next week, don't say you will. If you haven't stuck to your payment plan and you have to call them again, they'll find it more difficult to believe you again.
And finally, DO NOT WRITE CHECKS YOU KNOW ARE GOING TO BOUNCE! It's against the law in most states. Plus you'll end up having the bounced-check fees AND the late fees, and your lenders will be less likely to work things out with you. Most lenders understand that emergencies happen, and they can be sympathetic if you come up with a payment plan that works for you and them. Good luck!