How to Handle Unexpected Bills

Everyone knows that overdue and unexpected large bills can cause strain or panic. Learning how to address these situations with calm and ease can seem nearly impossible, but almost every situation can be addressed with planned strategies. Sometimes, borrowing from friends and family is necessary to cover the costs of overdue and larger bills. At other times, you may need to renegotiate the repayment terms or see if you can submit payments in smaller increments over a longer period. Finally, you may need to find ways to reduce your regular expenses, increase your income, or both.


You can learn details of how to renegotiate the payment terms with your creditors by contacting them directly or doing some research on your own. In some cases, as long as you send a minimum payment each month, a creditor cannot demand full payment at once since you are making an attempt to pay your debt. For instance, if you have a medical bill for $500 that is due in 30 days, as long as you make a payment of $10 to $20 a month until the balance is paid in full, the medical facility will recognize that as an attempt to pay. However, you should check with the creditor or billing company first to see if you can arrange a formal extended payment agreement.

Long-Term Planning

A better way to manage unexpected financial bumps is to save for them. This often means taking a detailed look at where your money is going each month. Figure out how much you need to spend on the essentials, such as rent or a mortgage, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing. You’ll also want to take a detailed look at where you can trim or eliminate certain expenses. You may need to consider more economical ways of meeting your needs, such as finding cheaper substitutes or purchasing items when they are on sale or in season.

Unexpected financial woes can be a major source of stress but, unfortunately, they are a part of life that needs to be considered in your financial planning. First, see if you can make alternative payment arrangements with the creditor or bill collector. Second, find ways to rearrange your monthly expenses so that you can save adequate funds you can use when these bills cross your path.