Plan Ahead

STRIKE PREPARATION

A strike involves sacrifice, something you need to prepare for, financially.

Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Prepare a complete household budget. Do this as a family project:
  • Fixed expenses such as mortgage/rent, insurance, loans, installment payments, etc.
  • Monthly expenses such as food, vehicle gas and maintenance, repairs, prescriptions, entertainment, etc.
  • Future expenses such as income and property taxes.
  1. Set priorities for your expenses.
  • List payments in order of importance.
  • The most important will be your mortgage/rent. Next are utilities, insurance, car payments and gasoline.
  • Child support and alimony (if applicable) are also high priorities.
  1. Make a complete list of creditors.
  • For each, list contact person’s name, address, phone number and email address; account number, total amount owed, payment schedule and amount.
  1. Notify your creditors before getting behind.
  • Determine how much you can regularly pay on each bill.
  • If you need to negotiate lower payments, notify your creditors before you get behind. Creditors are usually easier to work with when you inform them before a severe problem arises.
  • Contact them in writing and include your account number, phone number and address. State why you need a payment reduction, refinancing or delay.
  • Keep copies of your letters and notes from any phone conversations.
  1. Pay what you can.
  • Even if you can’t pay the total amount, pay something regularly. This lowers your overdue balance and lets creditors know you’re acting in good faith.
  • Partial payments may keep your account from being referred to a collection agency.
  1. Stay in touch with creditors.
  • After your first letter, keep in regular contact with your creditors. This is reassuring, shows a responsible attitude, and may keep them from “hounding” you.
  • Important: Don’t ignore your mail. That only makes things worse. If you don’t understand a bill or notice, promptly contact the sender.
  1. Stop credit card purchases.
  • Stop relying on plastic. Interest on most credit cards is extremely high.
  • Make larger payments to reduce your balance.
  1. Reduce household expenses.
  • With your family, plan reductions to stay within your budget.
  1. Check into other financial resources.
  • If you have life insurance, review your policy or talk to an agent to see if you can borrow against your policy.
  • If you have the resources, also consider dipping into savings.