When the bills pile up, financial pressure can leave you feeling isolated and stressed

Remember, you’re not alone and there are steps that you can take to help get your situation under control.

 

If you're having trouble paying your bills, such as electricity or your phone, discuss your situation with your service providers so they understand what’s going on. Remember, it’s better for the providers to know what’s happening than for them to make assumptions that may not be correct.

 

Another important step is to plan a budget, and stick to it! Read our helpful guide on creating a budget.

The consequences of not managing your finances

Everyone’s financial situation is different, but there are always consequences if you don’t manage your money. Here are just a few of the possible outcomes of failing to manage your finances.

  • You may be disconnected from basic services such as electricity and phone.

  • You may face legal action, which could result in your property or car being repossessed.

  • You may be forced to declare bankruptcy, which will have serious implications for your future.

  • Your wages may be garnished if you fall within a certain tax bracket. This is when some of your salary is held back to pay a debt.

  • Your debts may continue to mount, becoming unmanageable.

  • If you live in a rented home, you may be evicted. Your name may also be placed on TICA, Australia’s largest tenancy database, which could prevent you from renting a home in the future.

  • Your name may be placed on a default listing if your mortgage is not paid. This could affect any future borrowing and may result in the seizure and sale of your home.

  • You may also be charged extra fees or charges for not paying your bills on time.

  • Your debt may be sold to debt collecting agencies, resulting in more financial stress.

 

What options are available if you cannot pay your bills?

Your credit provider is legally obliged to consider your request for a change in payment plan due to financial hardship. It’s best to contact your creditor/provider as soon as possible to explain your situation. Remember, they can only help you if they are aware of your circumstances.

 

Work out a budget that will enable you to maintain achievable payments. Read our helpful guide on creating a budget.

 

You may be able to delay a payment period, reduce a payment or request a full and final amount to settle your consolidated debts.

 

Emergency relief services such as the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society and financial counsellors operating in your area can also offer support.

 

Make sure you are receiving all the government grants that are available to you. You may be eligible for a grant, rebate or concession that you’re currently unaware of.

 

You may be eligible for the Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme (Queensland electricity and gas rebates).

 

How to prevent bills from rising

The first step to managing your finances is to create a budget that works, and stick to it. A budget is your best tool to reduce your risk of overspending. It’s important to include a savings and emergency fund to cover any unexpected expenses.

 

Open a bills account that is separate from your everyday bank account. When your bills are paid, you will be able to see exactly how much is left for the month.

 

If you’re in receipt of a government payment, Centrepay can help you take control of your debt. Through Centrepay, you can make payments towards your debts before the government payment is deposited into your account.

 

If possible, share accommodation or other living expenses with family and friends. They will not only provide emotional support, but will also help you financially by reducing your living costs.

Additional resources

women meeting with finance councillor
The National Debt Helpline offers a free advice service.
To speak with a trained financial counsellor, call the free helpline on 1800 007 007.

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