This time of year we receive numerous calls from clients about their inability to make their Chapter 13 payment due to “unexpected bills”. The unexpected bills usually turns out to be shopping for Christmas! Christmas comes every year on December 25th so it is very important to budget for those on our shopping list year-round.
Here are some tips:
- Make a list. When you are on a budget, making a list and sticking to it is very important. Set a limit on what you can afford and still meet your monthly payments for your rent, utilities and Chapter 13 payment.
- Start early. Buying a little here or there can help ease the burden with shopping in the days leading up until Christmas.
- Talk to family and friends about limits on gift giving. Consider being thoughtful vs. expensive or not even giving each other gifts. Believe me, they will understand. Money is not something people like to talk about so you may ease the burden on them and not even know it!
- Consider only buying for your children and no one else. Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate our faith and family. As children, the memories include Santa coming and the pure joy of all the surprises he brings. Kids do not know the cost of things but will enjoy anything if it’s under the tree Christmas morning. Have your kids make a wish list and try and buy at least ONE item on the list. The other items can be more inexpensive items that you know your child will enjoy.
- Cash only. While in Chapter 13, you cannot use any credit cards or incur new debt.
Please call one of our Bond & Botes offices today if we can help your family with financial problems.
- Making a Household Budget and Sticking With It
- Decreasing Debt Related Stress
- Solving Debt Issues on Your Own
Gail Hughes Donaldson is a Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. She’s been helping families work through the bankruptcy process since she started with Bond & Botes back in 1993 as a paralegal. Read her full bio here.