It’s easy for low income people to fall behind on their bills, especially when hard times come. You have an emergency that saps your savings, or your entire paycheck, you lose your job, or an unexpected expense pops up and you have to use rent money to survive another day. Sometimes situations are beyond our control. Even if you bring on certain calamities through bad decisions, it isn’t the end of the world. You can change your future by working hard today.
A friend of mine recently went through a four-month period of unemployment. As a result, he fell behind on his rent. It was a blessing that his landlord managed to let him stay for so long. Still, my friend was in the hole and didn’t know what to do.
After getting a job and landing his first paycheck, I popped over and helped him set up a budget for paying off his landlord. It looked something like this:
Week Income Necessary Bills Pay Landlord
1 $200 $50 $100
2 $300 $75 $150
3 $300 $ 0 $200
4 $250 $ 0 $150
By writing down his budget, I was able to make my friend see an end to his dilemma. When I made it visible, he could see that paying down his rent was doable. Until I did that, he had no clue how it was going to work.
Why does this budget work for my friend, who is single and lives with another single man who pays his share of the rent? First, because he only has two recurring bills other than his rent. He’s got a cell phone and an electric bill. He has a vehicle, but he can’t legally drive it yet because he has no insurance, but he lives close enough to work that he can walk. Extra money left over after paying bills and rent is for food and entertainment. If he sticks to the budget, he can get his rent paid up within two months and still have enough to live on. After that, he’ll be in the clear.
I learned to do this when I was a young man and fell under similar circumstances. I skipped out on an apartment one time because I couldn’t pay the rent. After getting a job, I walked into an apartment complex and explained my situation. They said I needed to go back to the previous management company and work out a payment arrangement. So I did.
What that meant for me was I had two rent payments each month, but I was able to pay them both off, clean up my credit, and get on with living. In the end, the resultant feeling was one of victory, not defeat.
There is a light at the end of every tunnel, but we have to open our eyes and look for it. Writing a budget is the best way to look for the light at the end of your financial tunnel. Budget for your necessary expenses first, with the most immediate and most urgent having top priority. Base your budget on your income. Be sure to keep a little back for food and living expenses, but the end goal is to pay off your rent. To that end, you have to budget over your normal rent amount in order to pay off the debt. When you do, it will feel like a great weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
- License: Image author owned
By Allen Taylor