Utility Bills Debt – Help & Advice
Handling utility bills is an everyday occurrence for Canadians across the country. From gas and electricity to water and cable bills, the cost of day-to-day living is ever changing and often, always increasing.
Making a pay packet stretch from one month to the next can be easier said than done for many. If this is something you’re struggling with it’s important to recognise that you’re not alone. Despite utility bills being essential industry figures reveal that four in 10 people don’t think they can cover all family living expenses, while almost half are just $200 from financial insolvency.
Despite utility bills being essential industry figures reveal that four in 10 people don’t think they can cover all family living expenses
How can utility debt affect life?
Did you know that not keeping up to date with your utility bills can affect your credit score? If you fall behind with your payments many utility companies will refer your account to a collection agency and your debt will be reported to the credit bureaus. Defaulting on payments can also turn into a legal judgement, making it imperative to be aware of the impact failing to keep on top of payments can have.
Finding yourself behind in utility bill payments is easier than it may seem, with several simple reasons often the leading causes of payment defaults.
Common causes of utility bill debt include:
- Direct Debits or standing orders based on inaccurate estimates
- Unexpected utility bill price rises
- Unexpectedly high usage, due to prolonged periods of cold weather
- Lost bills
- Moving house and forgetting to settle a final bill
- Unexpected expenses that mean you can’t afford to pay your utility bill on time
- Missed payments after switching supplier
Debt of any kind can have a debilitating impact on your life but defaulting on utility payments can have an immediate effect on day-to-day living. Below we highlight the impact utility debts could have on your life.
- Fees: Falling behind on payments will incur a late payment fee which can add further financial strain, especially if you’re already struggling to juggle several other bills and payments at the same time.
- Debt collection: You run the risk of your debt being picked up by debt collection agencies who will chase for payment if you fail to pay for a number of months.
- Future issues: Failing to keep up with payments can make it harder to make the most of utility services in the future as some companies keep track of a history of payments.
- Family life: Knowing that you’re struggling with payments of such vital amenities can understandably have an impact on everyday life and put strain on relationship with families.
- Day-to-day: Debt never takes a day off and naturally has an impact on day-to-day life. For many it’s the first thing they think about when they open their eyes and the last thing they think of before they fall asleep which can have a negative impact on quality of life.
However, it’s important to know that if you fall behind on utility bill payments you must be provided with payment plan options before being disconnected – including discussing the possibility of an equal monthly payment plan.
Admitting you’re struggling with debt is one of the hardest you could do in life, especially when it comes to struggling with bills deemed to be essential. As such it can be all too easy to bury your head in the sand when money worries begin, often making the situation worse.
- Ignoring mail and hiding from bills is one of the first signs that you could be heading for financial distress. Avoiding correspondence from creditors can seem like the easy way out but it’s often the first step into money worries that will only escalate.
- Having vital utilities, such as gas or electricity, cut off is understandably the most obvious sign that you’re struggling with debt and should seek debt help immediately.
- Consistently leaving yourself short each month for necessities can also be a sign that you’re struggling to handle your finances. Running out of money for essentials is a tell-tale sign that you should consider seeking financial advice.
- Have you had a visit from a debt collection agency? If you have it’s imperative to be open about your current financial situation and seek debt relief that can help consolidate your debts into a manageable payment.
- Living in debt is isolating and not having disposable cash to enjoy things such as socialising or enjoying hobbies is also a sign that your money problems are beginning to reach a peak.
How can I get help?
Every journey starts with a single step and your road to a debt free future is no different. Admitting you’re in financial difficulty isn’t easy but when you do you open the ability to change your life forever.
There’s no denying that being in debt is a lonely experience. We’re taught from a young age that talking about our finances is taboo and not something to be shared openly, however, it is this mantra that makes falling into debt just that little easier and all the more isolating. It’s not easy to put your hands up and admit you have a problem but talking about your financial woes, whether it’s to a loved one or a debt advisor, you can begin the process of finding the best solution to become debt free.
Ignoring mail and hiding from bills is one of the first signs that you could be heading for financial distress
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