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Consumer Watch: Getting ahead when you're behind on bills

Getting ahead when you are behind on bills could be a simple fix, but most times you only get one shot (KOKH).

When money is tighter than usual, people often decide to skip paying some bills. The thing is, that it is tough to come back from that. There are ways to make things easier, but it will require some commitment.

Some of the most commonly skipped bills:

Student loans:

  • If you are behind on these it could feel impossible to catch up. Instead of letting it snowball, contact your lender. Explain your situation, and they can help you with options.

Utility bills:

  • This one is big. In Oklahoma your utilities can be shut off under certain conditions. Your best bet here is to call and get into a payment plan. Warning-- if you break the plan by missing another payment-- the company could request a payment in full.

Cable or Cellphone:

  • Ask your company about a payment plan if you are trying to get caught up. If you find that you regularly have trouble paying for these, it's time to ask an important question. Do you need them? Getting rid of cable or buying a cheaper phone could be a way to keep you out of trouble financially.

Remember that unpaid bills can affect your credit score, even if we are just talking about the electric bill or a cellphone payment. If you are a renter, these negative marks could affect your applications to live in a new place.

Ideally-- you won't have to decide between paying your bills or paying for a small emergency. The best way to avoid this is to budget some money for savings. Building an emergency fund will help with unexpected expenses.

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