In order to have a successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must make sure you are on time with your Trustee payments. If you have a house, you must also make sure you stay current with your mortgage payments. Of course, life happens, and if you have trouble with making your payments we at Bond & Botes will do everything we can to ensure you will complete your bankruptcy. However, there are steps you can take to make sure your bankruptcy is successful, and one way is to make a household budget and stick with it.
When setting a budget, you first must figure out how much money you are bringing in, and then figure out your expenses. Some expenses will be fixed, such as your Chapter 13 payment, your cable bill, or your mortgage payment; and some are discretionary, such as eating out or entertainment. Fortunately, when you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have already filled out a budget to submit with your petition. This is a wonderful starting point. I recommend tracking your spending religiously for several months. Keep track of where every penny goes- it is easy to discount small amounts spent here and there, but those small amounts really add up! There are several free online tools you can use to do this. Some of the most popular are Mint and Budget Simple.
After tracking your spending, sit down and take a hard look at where your money is going, then set small goals for yourself to reduce spending, such as cutting $20 a month off your grocery budget, or not spending more than a certain amount a month eating out. Be sure that you set small, realistic goals. If you try to cut your spending by a very large amount at once, you are just setting yourself up for failure. Making these small changes here and there will make a huge difference over time!
Bankruptcy is a great opportunity to get your finances back on track and take control of your budget! If you are having financial problems and are ready to get a fresh start, please give one of our offices a call and set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.