I need help with my bills. It’s something that most people have said at one time or another — and there is absolutely no shame in it. Fortunately, there are various programs out there that can help you cut costs and acquire funds to pay your most pressing bills.
Should I consider a payday loan if I need help with my bills?
If you’ve ever searched for quick ways to get extra money when you’re experiencing a cash crunch, you’ve probably come across payday loans or payday lenders. On paper, they sound great. Even if you have poor credit, you can get an immediate influx of cash to help you cover your bills until your next paycheck lands in your account. Then, you can pay the money back over time with interest.
Unfortunately, the payday loan is a predatory practice that often leaves some of the most financially vulnerable households in a perpetual state of debt. The interest rates are insanely high. On a typical loan, you can expect an interest rate that is anywhere between 5% and 45% based on the type of loan you need, the lender, your income, your credit, and a variety of other factors. However, with a payday loan the interest rates are much higher.
Even in the best of circumstances, you can expect to pay at least 100% of the principal amount in interest. This means that if you take out a loan for $1,000, you will need to pay at least $2,000 in total. But it gets worse. Most payday loans set a minimum payment that is small enough to make it seem “easy” to pay back the loan, but not large enough to actually chip away at your debt. Consequently, you can make all of your minimum payments on time and see virtually no progress towards paying off your loan.
Consider these things carefully before applying for a payday loan – even if you have multiple past-due bills. Ultimately, you will probably end up paying more in interest for your loan than you would pay in late fees from your bills. There are various other methods to get the funds and help you need to pay your bills on time.
Where to go when I need help with my bills
If you’re willing to hit the pavement and look for a physical location to talk to someone face-to-face, there are likely a variety of options in your area. Most cities and even small towns have locations related to government assistance programs, local community outreach programs, charities, churches, and non-profits.
If you’re unsure where to look, you could start with churches in your local area. These are often easy to find and even if they don’t offer any kind of direct financial aid, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Many churches partner with local charities and outreach programs that aim to help people.
Alternatively, one of the best ways to find the most relevant locations and resources in your area to help with bills is by calling or texting 2-1-1 on your phone. 211.org is a non-profit that helps people facing a variety of issues, from potential homelessness to a lack of food. So, if you’ve already talked with local churches and organizations in your area to no avail, 211 could be one of the best ways to get the help you need.
Online resources to help pay for basic needs
On the national scale, the US government offers several programs to help with utility bills, namely LIHEAP. You can also get assistance if you are short on rent or don’t have enough to cover medical bills. You can learn more about getting help with your bills via government programs right here.
Additionally, the list below includes a few websites, programs, and organizations that offer assistance and guidance:
- Benefits.gov (General Government Assistance)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Low-Cost Medical Care
- Low-Cost Mental Health Care
- Mortgage Assistance
- Rental Assistance
- Gradient Gives Back (Mortgage & Rental Assistance)
- The Salvation Army
- St. Vincent de Paul (Rent & Utility Assistance)
- Lifeline (Phone & Internet Assistance)
- Dollar Energy Fund (Utility Assistance)
- Feeding America (Grocery Assistance)
- Modest Needs (Medical Bill Assistance)
- Patient Advocate Foundation (Medical Bill Assistance)
- Working Cars For Working Families (Car Payment Assistance)
- Take Charge America (Debt Payment Assistance)
Get help with budgeting and personal finance
Sometimes, you may have a steady income and a stable lifestyle, but you still find yourself struggling to make ends meet. This is actually way more common than many Americans realize. In fact, recent data suggests that more than half of Americans with full or part-time work are still living paycheck to paycheck.
Fortunately, at Low Income Relief, we believe in providing actionable advice to those in need. We offer guidance and resources for a wide range of issues. Whether you are afraid of losing your home or you need help securing a debt consolidation loan, we can offer you the resources you need to get it done.