How to Start a Budget When You are Already Behind in Bills

Maybe you’re in between jobs right now, or your income simply isn’t enough to cover all of your expenses. Regardless, you’re going to have to change how you spend your money when you’re short.

It is possible to start a budget when you are already behind in your bills though!

Here are the best tips for managing your money when you’re totally broke!


Table of Contents

How to Budget When You’re Broke

1. Call Your Creditors

First of all, if you have any debt, call your creditors. You do not want your account rolled over to a collection agency.

They are relentless and very hard to work with. After all, they only get paid when you pay them. You’ll never get them off your back.

Instead, calling your creditors as soon as you know you won’t be able to pay them, is in your best interest. You may be able to work out some sort of extension or reduce your payments long enough to get ahead.


2. Prioritize

Now, look at how much money you have available. Prioritize your bills according to their importance.

Things like your mortgage, utilities, insurance and food budget should come first. Credit cards are usually less of a priority.

Consider the worst case scenario of not paying each bill to help you make the decision.

Make sure to do this after you’ve already called your creditors. Your decision may be affected by their responses.

Now is the time to ruthlessly cut any unnecessary expenses.


3. Stop Saving

I know. Putting money in your savings account feels good and like the responsible thing to do.

But when your broke, it’s time to stop saving part of your paycheck. The expense of not paying your bills will be greater than the amount you put into savings.

So, if you can’t pay all your bills, you really shouldn’t be squrilling away money. Once you’ve stabilized your finances a bit and create a working budget, you’ll be able to start building your savings.


4. Avoid using credit

When you’re short on cash, it’s tempting to pull out your credit cards, or open up a new account to get you by.

But really, your digging yourself a bigger hole that you’ll have to eventually climb out of.

The cost of paying back the money you put on these credit cards can be very high. Paying this debt later will be very difficult.

Don’t fall into the credit card trap!


5. Increase your income

If you are in between jobs, it’s time to stop being choosey. Take whatever job you can get for now.

You’ll be able to look for a better job while working.

If you already have a job, consider getting a second one or picking up over-time.

There are also lots of ways to make money from home. You can start by selling items in your house you don’t really need. Or looking into making money online.

The less you fall behind now, the easier it’ll be to play catch up.


6. Start a Fresh Budget

It is time to take a long hard look at where your money is going. Your current budget simply isn’t working.

Either your income circumstances have changed or you’ve been spending more than you can afford. Either way, a new budget is needed.

Take a look at your income and your bills and make some smart choices.

Remember, its all about being smart with your priorities.


When you are behind on bills, starting a budget can be very stressful. It’s easy to let anxiety get the best of you.

It may even be tempting to ignore it. Of course, that will only make your situation worse and more challenging in the future.

Take a few deep breaths. You got this. Do everything you can to get yourself back on track financially. Even when things feel hopeless, there is always a way out!

You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you really focus your intention and energy on finding a solution!

Prioritize your bills, increase your income, and make a new budget. Things will be better before you know it.

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