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Money & Finances

How to Decide Whether or Not to Pay a Bill

what happens if you don't pay your bills

No one likes giving their hard-earned money away to heartless utility companies or insurance agencies, but it’s a fact of life. Or is it?

Ask 100 people: would you rather pay this $931.38 bill to the hospital for an MRI on your painful foot, or not pay it? 99 out of 100 would say, “Shit no, I’ll pocket that dough, bro!” The other single person would say “Oh, fine… but only because it’s what Jesus would do.” So if so many people don’t want to pay their bills, how come so many do? It should go without saying that not paying a bill will result in serious consequences, from dealing with collection agencies to having your wages taken away. On the other hand, maybe you’ll get off scot-free? Should you try?

Why pay your bills?

  • A transaction took place. You received something from someone, and they put a price on that service. You are supposed to hold up your end of the bargain. It’s just what you do. Maybe the amount of money seems like too much for what you received, but a deal is a deal!
  • You will avoid getting in trouble.
  • You will be an upstanding citizen and a proud part of society.
  • Paying your bill up-front will keep you from incurring any late fees, which mean you still have to pay, just more.
  • Annoying collection agents won’t call you, mail you, or even show up at your door.
  • It’s good for your credit. Staying on top of bills means you can get credit cards and loans. Most people need to take out loans for education, homes, home improvement, cars, and more at some point in life.
  • In many instances, paying your bills are necessary to survive. If you stop paying certain bills, services you depend on will go away, like water, electricity, and internet.
  • It’s unlikely, but conceivable, that an angry individual or company could send a goon or henchman out to bust up your knees with a crowbar for not paying your bill. And even then, they don’t consider the score to be settled.
  • In certain instances, you could be jailed for not paying up. Such debts might include child support or taxes, but normal bills like Columbia House won’t jail you.

Can any good come from not paying your bills?

  • If you don’t pay your bills, you can use your money—for the time being—for fun things like candy and digital music downloads. It will probably catch up to you sooner or later, though.
  • You might feel like you’ve “won” or “stood up to the man”. If you got utilities for free for six months, and they eventually gave up on trying to collect payments, you could claim victory for “the little guys.”
  • If you wait long enough, many companies will just take what they can get from you. You might receive some level of forgiveness for a debt if you just give them something, in which case it pays to hold out.
  • A family member, friend, or even wealthy stranger may take pity on you and bail you out.
  • In instances where you have very little or no money, you have nowhere else to turn, and you have children in your home, you may not have any choice but to not pay your bills. What little money you do have may need to be prioritized towards things that will help you and your family live. If ignoring an old medical bill means another month of having a roof over your head, you should probably go that route and hope to find a permanent solution later on.

It’s a difficult call for many, but sooner or later, most of your bills get paid off in some fashion or another. It’s one of those facts of life!

My Hot Take

I despise bills as much as the next guy, but unless I truly forget, I make an effort to pay most everything. There was one time, however, where I ignored an expensive medical bill for a really long time and it eventually just went away! I got letters every month for five years, and then they just stopped. I don’t feel great about it, but my credit score didn’t suffer one iota and that’s $400 that went towards something more important. But that’s not a normal end result.

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About Glanzer

A native of Carpenter, South Dakota, I work professionally as a digital marketer. My favorites include karaoke, cocktails, the Minnesota Twins, and of course blogging. I strive to one day own a small town bar.

1 comment on “How to Decide Whether or Not to Pay a Bill

  1. That’s my boy!!!

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