Bankruptcy and debt are emotionally charged issues. This article is in no way an attempt to shame anyone. It’s also not a guarantee that avoiding bankruptcy is always easy. Bankruptcy can happen to anyone! And in some situations, declaring bankruptcy is not only inevitable but also potentially the best option for moving forward and improving your life.
On the other hand, sometimes bankruptcy can be avoided! So, if you’re at a stage where you feel like your finances are out of control or you fear that bankruptcy is looming in your future, don’t give up! Take advantage of these 8 tips. Whether you discover that you can work hard and strategize to avoid bankruptcy or whether you realize that bankruptcy is the best way forward, remember that you do have the power to turn your life around for the better.
Start Using a Written Budget. Whether you use pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or a free software, the important thing is that you use it. A quick online search will lead to an abundance of free advice and tips for building a budget.
Identify Your Financial Pressure Points. Where are most of your expenses going? What items can you let go? What expenses can you adjust? For example, you can sell items or cancel subscriptions. You might not be able to sell or cancel a critical medical treatment, but you might be able to switch insurance companies to get a better rate or switch to a doctor who charges less.
- Sell What You Can. First, sell whatever is causing your financial pressure points. You can’t sell medical expenses but you can sell a car. You can use public transportation or arrange rides with coworkers, family, and friends while you take control of your finances. You can downsize your home. You can rent out your extra bedroom. On a smaller scale, you can sell assets that you have – even the ones that aren’t causing you financial pressure. You’d be surprised how much you can make selling things like furniture, collection items, jewelry, appliances, decor pieces, or electronics. You can often get more than you expected by selling on sites such as Craigslist or OfferUp. If they’re not selling there, try a good old fashioned yard sale. Living without extra stuff for a while, even stuff you thought you relied on, is a small price to pay to get financial freedom.
- Decrease Expenses. Be ruthless and be creative! Do your research online at sites like The Balance for advice on cutting everyday costs. Get started by cutting out memberships and subscriptions. Cook instead of eating out. Put a hold on beauty services. Shop sales when buying groceries and only buy essentials.
- Consider Cutting Up Credit Cards. Credit cards not only encourage debt, but many credit cards also have yearly fees which just add to your expenses. When you miss credit card payments or are unable to pay minimums, interest rates can skyrocket and increase your debt even more. YouNeedABudget.com and the majority of other financial experts advise against using credit cards until you are totally out of debt, and many experts suggest not using them at all.
- Increase Your Income. Does this sound obvious? You’d be surprised how many people neglect this point. When you’re struggling with debt, it’s not the time to be prideful about your work or hold out for your dream job or avoid work that seems beneath you. This is the time to be creative and resourceful. Pick up temporary work wherever you can. Try adding a shift at your current job. Try adding a second job in the evenings or on weekends. Think about what skills you have to offer and what jobs need doing. You can try giving private lessons or tutoring sessions, driving for Uber, adding a night shift at a restaurant, mowing lawns for your neighborhood, cleaning houses, nannying…the possibilities are endless.
- Don’t Fall for Consolidation. YouNeedABudget recommends that consolidation usually doesn’t help in the long run. Many consolidation companies are looking to take advantage of people who feel stressed about debt. Before going into more debt to pay for existing debt, use the above tips!
- Stay Calm. Remember that debt and financial stress can happen to anyone! You are not alone. You can turn your financial life around!
Do you have questions about your bankruptcy options? For over 20 years, Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar has been helping individuals and businesses in New Jersey understand the pros and cons of bankruptcy for each unique situation. Call (973) 233 4049 or send a message online. We serve clients in Livingston, West Orange, Newark, Belleville, Clifton, Irvington, East Orange, Paterson, Passaic, and Verona.
Tel: 973) 567-0954