The holidays are right around the corner. But when you’re in debt, the “most wonderful time of the year” can often bring more stress than holiday cheer. If your debt is keeping you from enjoying the season, consider speaking to a bankruptcy lawyer about your options.
Dealing with The Holidays While in Debt
When you’re busy trying to get rid of your debt, it can seem impossible to even consider the holidays. If you’ve filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debt reorganization may be helping you knock out your bills, but it’s likely left you with very little extra cash. Those who file for Chapter 7 may have eliminated a large number of financial obligations, but they may want to curb Christmas shopping so they can avoid starting the debt cycle over.
If you are in bankruptcy and you’re looking for ways to deal with the holidays, keep these tips in mind:
- Start saving early. The holidays often feel as if they blindside us, leaving little time – and money – to get so much done. You can avoid the financial aspect of this problem by starting a savings account at the beginning of the year and devoting a small amount of your paycheck to automatically deposit into it. That way, you can save without actually having to think about it too much, and when the holidays jump out at you, you’re ready.
- Make – and stick to – a budget. Budgets are a good idea for everyone, but for those of us struggling with debt, they’re an absolute necessity. Create a realistic budget that you can maintain throughout the holidays. That way you won’t find yourself strapped for cash, or worse – getting back into debt.
- Do not take on any new debt. Riding on the heels of the budget concept is another mantra: stay away from debt. Whether you have already filed for bankruptcy or you’re getting ready to, you definitely cannot afford to take on new debts. The holidays can provide temptations like no other time of year, but be vigilant: you don’t want to create months of regret over a two-minute impulse purchase.
- Pick handmade gifts. Instead of spending money on your friends and family, why not shower them with creative expressions of your love? Knit a scarf, bake a variety of treats, or just invite everyone over for pizza and Christmas movies. The holidays are the time of year when we tell people how much they mean to us, and we can do that in ways that are much more thoughtful than just opening our wallets.
Waiting Until After the Holidays to File for Bankruptcy
There are many people who think they could just wait until after the holidays are over to file for bankruptcy; that way, all the debt they racked up while Christmas shopping will simply be wiped out. It’s true that much of your credit card debt can be eliminated depending on the type of bankruptcy you choose, but you may still be left with a balance. The bankruptcy court goes over all your purchases with a fine-toothed comb, and they are bound to notice the increase in spending just a few weeks before your file date. The court may refuse to discharge newly-incurred debt, which means you will still be on the hook for your holiday purchases.
Contact a Cleveland Bankruptcy Lawyer
If your bills have left you in over your head, consider contacting a bankruptcy lawyer. At Cleveland Bankruptcy Attorneys, you will meet with an experienced Ohio bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your matter. Every situation is different, and we like to carefully consider the facts of your case while we work with you to find a solution that meets your needs. To schedule a consultation, call us at (216) 586-6600 or use our contact us online.