Another first of the month is here and bills are due; you have options

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Photo by AP.

Friday is May 1, and it marks the second monthly cycle where bills are due with no income coming in for many in Southwest Florida, making it a difficult time to make ends meet.

We spoke with one woman who’s putting together a plan to get things paid.

Kelly Gray is getting nervous as she watches her savings account slowly dwindle. While she is grateful for that savings, she knows it won’t last forever.

Gray has now been out of work for a month and says her employer isn’t reopening until June or July.

“I’m getting to the point where I’m getting worried because I haven’t received my unemployment I have no answers I have no clue where if I’m ever going to get it,” Gray added.

She said she’s coming up with a plan to see where she can get some leeway, “I really don’t want to ruin my credit over an $80 bill.”

The good news for Gray is that a survey by Lending Tree found more than 90% of people who asked for a break on their mortgage or credit cards got one.

Matt Shulz, with Lending Tree, says before you get on the phone, know what you’re asking for, “Like a higher credit limit that might help. A reduced interest rate in the short-term, or even maybe just a reduced minimum payment if they won’t waive that payment altogether.”

And ask the representative, nicely.

“They’re working long hours,” he explains, “their kids are home going crazy, they’re going through all the issues that you are. It never hurts to be nice.”

Gray says she’s going to start making those calls so that she can stretch every last penny for her family.

Schulz also says to remember the power you hold as a customer. Lenders want to keep you to build relationships with you, because it’s in their financial interest to do so.

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