How to Get Help Paying Your Utility Bills
When you haven’t budgeted for a high utility bill or find a cold snap or heat wave has you relying on temperature control more than usual, a bill can throw your budget off course and leave you scrambling for funds. What can you do if you need cash to pay your utility bills? Read on to learn how you can get the help you need to pay the bills and some loans that may be at your disposal.
How to get money to help pay your utility bills now
Here are some ways you can get money now when you need help paying your utility bills:
Call the utility company for a payment plan option
If you’re a customer in good standing, it may make sense to call your utility company. They can assess the bill for errors — which could be a possibility, especially if the bill is much higher than usual. You may may also have the option to spread out the payment for the bill, like with a payment plan.
See if you’re eligible for utility bill assistance from the government
The government provides utility bill assistance for people that need help paying their bills. Eligibility for utility bill assistance is dependent on factors such as income, age (some seniors may be eligible for assistance), and disability, and may vary by state and county.
One national organization to look into is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is a federally funded and state-administered program that helps low-income families afford their utility bills. One simple way to find programs that may help with your utility bill is to call 211.
Consider a fast cash loan
If your high utility bill was a one-off and you don’t qualify for ongoing programs, a cash loan for bills may help you make your payment.
For example, if your utility bill is due now but you don’t get paid until next week, a Payday Loan — a short-term loan to be paid back when you next get paid — could help bridge the gap and ensure that service doesn’t get cut off or won’t add penalties or late fees to your account.
Or if multiple monthly bills have piled up and you have to pay or risk service being cut, an Installment Loan may make sense. This loan can help you pay the bills now and allows you to pay back the money over multiple installments. This means you can budget to pay back the loan as you assess your energy needs.
Lower your energy bills
A sky-high energy bill doesn’t need to be the norm — and receiving one can spur you into action to find ways to lower future bill. Some ways to reduce your energy bills include:
Assess ducts and seals.
Leaky seals on the windows, doors, even the fridge, and leaky ductwork in the vents may be costing you. Consider making the necessary repairs yourself or — if you’re renting — loop your landlord into the issue may be required. Fixing leaky seals and ducts may lower your electricity bills. For winter winds, you can buy plastic sealing for windows or unused doors for under ten dollars to reduce the amount of heat your house needs.
Rethink your thermostat.
Be conscious of how you use the AC or heating in the summer and consider installing a programmable thermostat, so the temperature automatically shifts when you’re away from the house or sleeping.
Adjust your water heater temperature.
Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 degrees may save you up to 10% on water heating costs. In addition, repairing any leaky faucets, doing all laundry on cold settings, and making sure your showerhead is energy efficient can all have a noticeable impact on your utility bills.
Ask for an energy audit.
Utility providers may offer energy audits, which can be conducted for free or on a sliding scale. Energy audits allow you to assess any energy leaks and give customized advice and improvements such as switching to Energy Star lightbulbs and updating appliances.
Benefits of getting a loan when you need help paying your bills
Here are some advantages of getting a fast cash loan when you need help paying your utility bills:
Many fast cash loans, like payday loans and installment loans, have a quick and easy application process. You can normally apply for these loans in just a few minutes, either in-store or online from the comfort of your home.
Get cash quickly
If you get approved for a fast cash loan, you can get the money you need quickly to pay your utility bills. Lenders who offer fast cash loans typically have a quick approval process, and you may get an instant decision once you submit your application. If approved, you could receive the funds in your bank account the same day you apply or within 24 hours
You don’t need good credit
If you have a fair or poor credit score, don’t worry. You can still get approved for many fast cash loans when you need help paying bills. Advance America and other lenders accept people with all types of credit scores.
Bottom line: There are options to pay your utility bills quickly
Getting fast cash to pay utility bills now can give you peace of mind that your services won’t be shut off as you’re assessing ways to budget for utility bills in the future.
But it’s important to treat a high utility bill as a clue that something — whether it’s family habits or a piece of equipment — could be improved when it comes to energy usage.
Performing an energy audit, either on your own or with a pro, and being conscious of your energy usage can help ensure that your bills are manageable in the future.
What happens if you can’t pay your bills?
If you can't pay your utility bills, you may face disconnection of service. But options are available to help you keep the lights and heat on. Whether you want to arrange a payment plan with your utility company or get a loan, taking action before your service disconnects is vital. Once that happens, it can be difficult and expensive to get reconnected.
Other options when you need money to pay your bills
When the utility bills come and there's not enough money to go around, you may not have to get a loan to make ends meet. Here are five options to make a quick buck so you can keep the power on:
1. Sell unused items
One man's trash is another man's treasure. If you have any old items lying around the house that you don't use anymore, try selling them online or at a garage sale. Maybe you have clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in years or some old electronics gathering dust in a drawer. If you don't need it anymore, odds are someone else may be willing to pay for it. You might be surprised at how much you can make to pay your bills!
2. Get a side gig
If you need a little bit more than what you could make by selling unused items, consider getting a part-time job or starting a side hustle. This extra income can help you get the money you need to cover your utility bills and other expenses. There are plenty of opportunities out there, so take some time to find something that fits your skillset and schedule. Once you get started, it might even become something you enjoy!
3. Take surveys online
There are lots of companies who are willing to pay consumers for their opinions on various products and services. While you won'’t get rich by taking surveys, you may be able to make enough money to cover an outstanding bill or two. Just be sure to research any survey company before signing up to ensure it'’s a legitimate opportunity.
4. Cancel subscriptions
If you'’re struggling to pay your bills, another option is to cancel any unnecessary subscriptions or memberships. This might mean getting rid of that gym membership you never use or canceling one of the streaming services you subscribe to. When every dollar counts, it’s important to only spend money on things that are essential.
Which bill payment option is right for me?
No one likes being in a situation where they can’t afford to pay their bills. Whether it'’s an unexpected car repair or a higher-than-usual utility bill, there may be months when your expenses exceed your income and you need help. If you find yourself in this situation and don't have the cash on hand to cover your bills, don't panic! There are several options that may work for you.
Calling your utility company to figure out a payment plan may be the right choice if you’re in good standing with them. If you’re eligible for assistance from the government, consider looking for programs that can help with your utility bill. And a fast cash loan can offer same-day funding if you can’t afford to wait.
Advance America can help you pay your utility bills
If you need cash to pay your utility bills right away, consider getting an Advance America loan. Our Payday Loans, Installment Loans, and other emergency loans can get you instant funds to cover your expenses. You can fill out an application online or in-store in just a few minutes and may get an instant decision. Advance America doesn’t require you to have a good credit history to get approved, so you can still get a loan from us with poor or fair credit.