Losing your job can be devastating on many levels, not least of all financially. If you find yourself suddenly out of work, it's important to not panic. This is probably easier said than done, especially if you have bills to pay and mouths to feed. For this reason, Debt Fix has put together a "survival" list of tips to help you get through these difficult times.

 

1. Know where you stand.
It's important to understand clearly what money comes into the household (income), what money goes out for food, accommodation and essential living costs (expenses) and who you owe money to (creditors). This can be a daunting task, but we've made it easier with the "Debt Fix Budget Calculator" - it's free. Click here to use it.

2. Know your entitlements
When you become unemployed, income naturally becomes an issue. It's important to know whether you will be receiving any redundancy or entitlements. Additionally, you should contact a Centrelink office for an appointment as soon as possible if there is a chance you can't find a new job in a reasonable time frame. Centrelink's Financial Information Service conducts seminars on retrenchment and financial issues and can offer face-to-face interviews so you can find out about all of your options.

3. Contact your creditors
You should contact your creditors as soon as possible and explain the situation to them. If you have maintained a good repayment history with them, they should be understanding and reasonable.

4. Make realistic payment arrangements.
If you can't meet the normal payments with your creditors, you should offer to pay them something as long as it's affordable. You should use the Debt Fix Budget Calculator to know exactly what you can offer without putting undue pressure on essential living costs (such as food and accommodation). "Payment Plans" (or paying a set amount of money over a period of time to pay the debt off).

Sometimes, payment plans are not possible because the creditor will only accept an amount of money that is beyond your means. In this case, perhaps a debt consolidation plan is the answer.

 

Debt consolidation is a powerful way to manage bad debt because it collects the debts into one, affordable payment. There are many ways to consolidate bad debt, including personal loans, informal management plans, property refinance and debt agreements. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for a debt consolidation plan and this may provide the best solution.