Living Within Your Means

Sun, May 10, 2015

Bankruptcy, Debt Mitigation

 Some rights reserved by JoshuaDavisPhotographySounds easy, right? But there’s always a way to spend the money you make, and it’s easy to just keep spending more as you make more. Credit cards don’t always help the situation, either.  Remember that buying something on credit is still like taking a loan, especially if you don’t pay it off in full right away.

A good way to buy something is by saving up for it. Do some budgeting to allow yourself some money to purchase those big items, so you have enough money to buy the necessities without racking up debt. It’s a real problem when you can only buy necessities by using credit. And I know sometimes you’re using that credit card to rack up some sort of travel or car points, and if you can manage that type of charging…then great. But make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. Sometimes it’s easy to keep spending on credit because you aren’t really making conscious choices about where your money is going. If this is a problem it’s a good idea to conscientiously look at your credit card spending on a regular basis to make the purchase seem more real.

If you find yourself in a rough spot financially, see where you can cut spending. Will a minor shaving of your food budget solve your financial distress or do you need to take on a second job? Try little things first and then turn to the more drastic options.

If you have found that your spending has far out-paced your income, you are headed for real trouble. You’ll need to start some grim budgeting tactics. Yes, it’s hard to face sometimes, but necessary to help curb your debt. Saving a little here and there can really be helpful. Check out where you can save in your negotiable expenses and then move on to what changes you need to make in your less flexible expenses like rent and utilities.

If you’ve really started living outside your means, then it’s time to evaluate your financial health. Do you need to move? Downsize? Take on a second job? Cut out all the extras? If you’ve lived outside your means for a long time and your debt is out of control, make sure you take action now.

Of course, sometimes life’s necessities and emergencies require you to take on more and more debt. If this debt becomes unmanageable it’s time to seek help. Talking with a financial professional is a way to start. They may be able to teach you some strategies for cutting your expenses. Debt mitigation experts can often get credit card payments reduced, stalled or sometimes significantly reduce the balance due.

If all other available options have been exhausted, it’s time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. SmithLaw is able to examine your financial outlook to see if bankruptcy is an option for you. And it’s not always the best option for everyone. You’ll need a professional to tell you the pros and cons of bankruptcy in your situation. It’s not always possible or useful for everyone. But it’s not an option to be ashamed of or delay for too long if you feel it’s your only choice. Meeting with a bankruptcy attorney can assuage your concerns over the situation and explain the ramifications for the future.

Of course, you still need to live within your means whenever possible. But we all know that’s not always realistic in today’s world and with today’s costly emergencies.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith, Sr. is designated a Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer by the American Board of Certification.  SmithLaw is located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.  Attorney Smith concentrates on bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area.  Call 941-202-2222 to learn more.  SmithLaw offers free consultations in certain areas, including consumer bankruptcy, probate, and personal injury matters.

Image:  Some rights reserved by JoshuaDavisPhotography

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