While handling basic expenses, taking care of your family’s needs, and searching for new work become your top priorities, making sure you can pay your debts increases the stress and worry. And when it comes to your credit card debt, it becomes even more difficult to see how you can pay them off especially when you consider the high interest rates and minimum monthly payments.
So how should you deal with credit card debt after facing unemployment?
Outline your expenses
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to take a moment to set a budget and identify your key expenses. You’ll want to prioritize what’s necessary and consider areas where you can cut back on your spending. From reducing your energy usage to cooking more meals at home rather than eating out, you can find some simple ways to reduce the amount you spend day in and day out. You might even consider cutting the cord to save on cable TV and cancelling nice-to-have, but not necessary subscriptions also serve as small ways to add funds back into your monthly budget.
Consider selling off personal assets
When you’ve become unemployed, you typically cannot borrow funds or refinance your home. Therefore, considering family heirlooms or valuable assets you feel comfortable parting with can be a good solution. These assets may include jewelry or furniture, which you can sell off to help you meet your monthly expenses and give yourself some time to find a new source of income.
Work with a professional
Many companies and services exist that can assist you with debt relief. While these services come with a fee, it may seem nominal when considering longer-term damage that struggling with your credit card debt could cause. Consider reaching out to debt relief companies and discussing how they might help you.
Work with a negotiator to settle your debts
When you’re facing a financial hardship such as unemployment, creditors are often willing to negotiate a debt settlement in which they are guaranteed to receive a smaller amount than you owe in order to be sure they receive some money. You’ll want to work with a company that specializes in debt settlement so that they can negotiate with credit agencies on your behalf to help you become debt-free. Debt settlement can help by reducing your monthly payments and overall debt through professional negotiations with your creditors. Lower monthly payments and a lower overall debt can be a huge relief for anyone who is unemployed.
Seek out unemployment benefits
If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you should take advantage of them. Government funds are set aside for unemployment programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and school lunch assistance for your children. Consider the ways that the government can serve you when facing unemployment and the credit card debt that may ensue.
Overall, know that unemployment is temporary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment is approximately 22 weeks as of August 2019. If you can outline a concrete plan or employ these debt relief solutions to get you through this time frame and refrain from taking measures like pulling out funds from your 401(k), you will be on the road to financial recovery.