The convenience of buy now, pay later (BNPL) can be tempting, but keeping multiple balances in check can feel like a financial juggling act.
Late fees, hidden charges, and even collections can lurk beneath the surface of those easy installments.
From cutting back on expenses to finding creative ways to earn extra cash, here are practical strategies to help lower your financial stress and tackle your BNPL debt.
Eliminate your late tax debt
Each year, the IRS forgives millions in unpaid taxes. If you have more than $10,000 in tax debt, or have 3+ years of unfiled taxes, you could get forgiveness too. You might be eligible to lower the amount you owe, or eliminate your tax debt completely.
Easy Tax Relief could help you lower or get out of your tax debt for good. They’re well respected in the industry and have been recognized for their ethical standards when dealing with tax debt. While most tax companies just put you on a payment plan and file your taxes for you, Easy Tax Relief talks to the IRS directly. They can help you pay off your tax debt faster while potentially reducing what you owe.
Important: Not everyone will qualify. To take advantage of this special program you must owe more than $10,000 in past-due taxes.
Get a payment extension
Some BNPL companies allow you to request a payment due date extension. For instance, you can get seven more days to pay for each purchase with Klarna. Afterpay and Sezzle also offer extensions if you contact them before your payment’s original due date.
Ask your lender about hardship accommodations
Contact your lender if you’ve had an extenuating circumstance that inhibits your ability to pay. They may pause your interest or make a note on your account so it doesn’t get sent to collections.
Consider taking out a personal loan
Are your BNPL charges about to go to collections? Then, a personal loan may be a smart way to preserve your credit and consolidate your BNPL charges into one payment.
Personal loans charge an average of around 11% interest, so this isn’t the cheapest option, but it might be worth looking at if you need to save your credit score.
If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources
Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.
How to become a member today:
- Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
- Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
- Start enjoying your discounts and perks!
Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.
Adjust your budget
The cheapest (and possibly easiest) way to handle BNPL payments is to adjust your monthly budget. You may temporarily reduce your spending on groceries or reroute what you’d usually spend on eating out to take care of your BNPL payments.
Set up autopay
Sometimes, keeping track of multiple accounts and payments is hard, even if the balances are small. Setting up your BNPL payments on autopay ensures you pay on time and avoid late payment fees.
Monthly subscriptions can be sneaky charges that siphon off money without you realizing it. The silver lining is that if you cancel the subscriptions, you can allocate those dollars to your BNPL balances without tightening your budget.
Sell unwanted items
Consider selling items you no longer use or need when you need to get a leg up on your BNPL payments. A glance around your garage, storage unit, closet, or basement will likely produce a few things you could sell for extra money.
Take up a side hustle
Using your spare time to drum up extra cash could help pay down your BNPL balances much faster. This could be anything from a second job to working for a gig economy app (like DoorDash or Uber) to starting your own freelancing or pet-sitting business.
Americans spend $150 to $200 on gasoline each month. If you could cut that amount by carpooling with a friend and splitting gas money, you would have a decent chunk to pay down your debts. Plus, it’s better for the environment.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Cash out your cash back
Cash back credit cards aren’t the only way to earn rewards. Cash back web browsers like TopCashBack or apps that give you PayPal gift cards like Upside or Mistplay can be used to reduce your BNPL balance. It may not be a huge amount, but every little bit helps.
Return unused items
If you’ve purchased clothes, shoes, or other items hanging out in your closet with the tags on, see if the store will refund you.
Even if you don’t have the receipt, many stores can look up the purchase with the credit or debit card you used. Many stores have generous return policies, so this is worth checking into.
Use category restrictions
Is there a troublesome spending category in your budget, such as entertainment, shopping, or eating out? Try shutting it down for one month and redirect your spending to pay down your debt.
Challenge yourself to find free ways to replace these things. You may not miss them as much as you think.
Delay spending when you can
When you’re in a financial pinch, try delaying non-essential spending items for a month while you catch up on your bills.
Your dog will still love you if you wait a month to go to the groomer. Your cracked phone will probably limp along for another month while you pay off your BNPL. Delay spending only when it’s prudent.
Go for the free option
Until you get your BNPL charges under control, opt for the free version of everything you can.
For date night, go stargazing or cook dinner at home. If you want a new book, check out the library (most of them have audiobooks, too).
Check out your local Buy Nothing or Freecycle group on Facebook for clothing or household items. See how many of your needs you can fill for free.
Use a credit card with a 0% introductory rate
If you’ve gotten in over your head with BNPL purchases, consider getting one of the best credit cards with 0% interest to pay them all off. To avoid repeating the cycle of debt, don’t use this card for any other purchases; just pay off the balance as soon as you can.
Buy now, pay later options may seem like an easy way to break up the payments for large purchases, but they can quickly get out of hand.
If you’ve racked up several BNPL charges, don’t despair. Stack as many of these options as you can to spend less and earn a little more so you can pay off your debt faster.