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The Top Ten Reasons Your Budget Doesn’t Work

Making a budget is hard, sticking to it is even harder. But, if you want to gain financial freedom, spending less than what you make and putting some aside for savings is a must. Most of us have the best of intentions when making a budget, but then life seems to get in the way. No one intentionally busts their budget, most times an unexpected event such as a death or illness arises and it is no longer feasible to stay on track. With a little help though, even those of us that struggle can come up with and stick to a budget that fits our finances. In order to get to that point, it is important to understand why your current situation is not working.

The top ten reasons your budget doesn’t work could include any, or a combination of, the following factors:

  • You must establish a budget that fits your lifestyle, and that of your family. If you do not account for eating out, but your family goes to restaurants weekly, your budget will not work.
  • You only stick to your budget some of the time. Just like going to the gym once a month will not result in any real change in your physical appearance, if you are not consistent with your money habits, you will not see results.
  • You overlooked certain items, and thus the extra money you thought you had disappears.
  • Your budget lacks flexibility. Sometimes you have to be able to spend less in one category, in order to spend more in another when the need arises. If you do not have this flexibility built into your budget, your budget will likely not work.
  • You are too easily persuaded to make an impulse buy. When you buy things not accounted for in your budget, the entire bottom line is thrown out of whack.
  • You have to resort to loans to cover a deficit.
  • You failed to account for emergencies, or to set up an emergency fund.
  • Your budget does not include any entertainment expenses. You have to give yourself a little fun now and then, if you are stuck without any entertainment funds, you will quickly be derailed.
  • You make less than you spend. This one is simple math. If your expenses are more than you bring home every month, you have to find areas to cut back, or eliminate from your budget.
  • Life got in the way. Unexpected events can throw a wrench in your plans, but life has a way of happening without asking.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, call our office for help with debt consolidation or bankruptcy. We can help put you on the path to financial freedom, while giving you the tools to stay there.

 

If you have questions about how budgets and bankruptcy, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

 

Tips For Including One Time Expenses In Your Budget

Making a monthly budget requires you to list out all of the expenses you generally incur in any given month. Common components of a monthly budget include rent or a mortgage payment, utility bills, groceries, credit card payments, a cell or landline phone bill, car payments and the insurance that goes along with the vehicles, and cable or other television services. But, not every expense you have is one that you have to pay on a monthly basis. However, it is just as important to budget for onetime expenses as it is to budget for recurring expenses.

Tips for saving for expenses that are not monthly, like annual homeowner’s dues or car tags, include:

  • Opening a separate savings account that is earmarked for these expenses. A good example is an annual expense, which allows you to divide the amount of the expense by twelve and then deposit that amount of money into a separate account on a monthly basis. In this way the expense is included in your monthly budget, but you are not making the payment on a monthly cycle.
  • Use bonuses and gifts to establish a savings account, the use the money in the savings account for onetime expenses.
  • Include a miscellaneous category in your monthly budget and determine an amount to save each month for those expenses. This will leave extra cash in your account, for use when a onetime expense or emergency arises.

Whichever method you decide, make sure you take steps to set aside money for things that come up only once or twice a year. When you have saved the money needed for large onetime expense, you can avoid resorting to use of a credit card or the need to take out a loan to cover the fees. The more frequently you are able to devote a portion of your paycheck to a onetime expense, the more likely the money will be there when needed. Be sure to include other expenses, like the cost of gas and entertainment, in your budget as well. These expenses are not ones you see monthly by way of a monthly statement, but are expenses you incur nonetheless One of the biggest reasons people are unable to stick to a budget is because items are overlooked. For help with your budget, call our office. Or, if you do not have enough income to cover your monthly expenses, call us to learn your legal remedies for debt management.

 

If you have questions about budgets and how to save for a onetime expense, call our office for answers. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

Tax Benefits To College Education Savings Plans

Let’s face it, the cost of higher education is great. Going to school is one way to get ahead, because most employers who offer better paying jobs are looking for applicants with a college degree. But, getting there can put a real strain on your finances. There are options for paying for college, such as student loans and grants. However, if you are trying to avoid going into debt, taking out a loan may not be up your alley. One thing you can do is to open a college savings account, and this can be for yourself or for the benefit of another.

The most common form of college savings plan is called a 529 Plan. The plan is called a 529 Plan because it is named after the IRS provision by the same number. Along with providing an account for you to put money into for growth, a 529 Plan also has other financial benefits:

  • Money you deposit in a 529 Plan is tax free, on your state income tax return. This means that your taxable income is reduced by a portion of the total amount you pay into the plan over the year.
  • The money deposited is invested, which means that when it comes time to put the money to use, there is more in your account that what you have put in over time. This is one way to save for college that doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Opening an account well before reaching college age will allow the account to grow.

There are limits on the amount you can contribute to these plans, so be sure to follow the rules to receive the maximum benefits. The money can be used for higher education, and in some instances can even be used for the technology needed to attend college (like a computer). Establishing a 529 college savings plan does not have to be a daunting task, once set up you are I control of the account, for the benefit of the named beneficiary. If you have questions about how to save for college, call us to speak with one of our trained financial and budget specialists.

 

If you have questions about college savings and the tax benefits it offers, call a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options. We can help you understand your choices and make a decision that works for you. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

Three Things To Know About Credit Card Use When Filing Bankruptcy

Chances are, if you have filed bankruptcy or are considering doing so, you have a substantial amount of credit card debt. The interest charged by most card companies is high, making it nearly impossible to pay off credit card debt if all you are able to do is make the minimum payment each month. When you file for bankruptcy, you should stop using your credit cards, and most companies will put a hold on your account to prevent future charges. For those companies that don’t block charging ability, proceed with caution.

Fox Business offers the following advice, with these top three things to know about credit card use when filing bankruptcy:

  • Any credit card you have included in your bankruptcy will no longer be available to you, but the chances of receiving offers from other companies after your bankruptcy is over (or even during the pendency) is high.
  • If you decide to open an account with a new credit card company, be sure to keep the balance low and pay it off monthly. This will prevent you from incurring debt that spirals out of control and accumulates large amounts of interest to be repaid.
  • Opening a new account can help you to re-establish your credit, as long as you act responsibly and make the payments on time and as required.

Other options for credit card use include opening a secured account. This type of credit card is one where you pay a certain amount to the card to secure your repayment of future charges. It is not uncommon for those in a bankruptcy to be made this type of offer, but accepting the offer must fit within your budget. Bankruptcy offers you a fresh financial start, and taking steps after your case is over to keep on track is important to your future finances and budget. Once you have received a discharge of debts, the last thing you want to do is find yourself in financial distress again. If you have questions about bankruptcy, credit card use, and how to get out of debt, call our office.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy and credit card use, contact our office for help. We will explain your options, so you understand your choices and can make a decision that meets your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

How Creditors Are Given Notice Of Your Bankruptcy Case

When you have overwhelming debt and are receiving calls from creditors, it can be difficult to know where to turn and how to stop the calls. Bankruptcy is a very real option for many people, and the moment you file your creditors are prohibited from contacting you in an effort to collect their debt. If this seems too good to be true, it might be because it seems like a burdensome task to notify countless credit card and loan companies that you have filed. The logistics of getting notice out to all of those that you owe money to seems like a lot of hard work, but bankruptcy is designed to help the honest but unfortunate debtor. So, when you file and when events take place in your case, your creditors get automatic notice.

As you prepare to visit with a bankruptcy attorney, you will need to gather your debts and income. For your income you can bring copies of your pay stubs and tax returns. For your debts, you will need to list out everyone you owe, the amount, and their address. When you file your case, the list of creditors you owe money to is uploaded to your electronic file. Notice of your case is then sent to everyone on your list of creditors. Other things that your creditors are notified of include:

  • The date of your first meeting, so your lenders will have the opportunity to come to that meeting and ask questions regarding your intent for their debt.
  • Notices of all the activity in your case, including when the discharge is entered.

Giving notice of your filing will put your creditors on notice that you have filed, and they will then know that they cannot collect the debt. Notice of your discharge will give creditors notice that their debt is no longer considered due. Any action taken to collect the debt during the case or after the discharge is a violation of bankruptcy law. For more information about the bankruptcy process and how your lenders will know that you have filed, call our office today.

 

If you have questions about bankruptcy, let an experienced attorney help you. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

Establishing Long Term Financial Goals That Are Attainable

It is well known that setting goals is the first step to achieving what you want. If you fail to establish a goal, it is difficult to get there. But, it can be difficult to figure out what you want, in a way that makes sense and doesn’t seem overwhelming. In order to be successful with reaching your goals, there are some steps you can take that are helpful.

The following steps are meant as a guide, and can help you to establish long term financial goals that are attainable:

  • Identify what you want, and write it down. Start big, the sky is the limit on this step and thinking about what you want for your future and putting it down on paper will help you to start setting the wheel in motion to get there.

●          Once you have identified the bigger picture, break it down into smaller components.

  • After the key pieces of your goals are established, figure out which ones mean the most. Make those your priority. It is unreasonable to think you can reach all of your goals at the same time, so make a list of what is the most important and dedicate yourself to working on that goal first.
  • Take action! This can be as small as saving $5.00 a week, or as large as selling your home and downsizing. Whatever works for you and is within your comfort zone, do it!

Every time you consider making a purchase, consult your list. If the purchase doesn’t get you closer to your goal, walk away. Sometimes all it takes is a cooling off period for the “need” to buy something or spend money disappears. And, in many instances, a few days later you will have forgotten all about the item. Once you start making progress towards your goals, it becomes more exciting. Be sure to consider other options as well, maybe there are lesser priced items available that get the job done just as well as a more expensive product. Do your research and spend wisely. When you do, you will be on your way to reaching long term financial goals that have a positive impact in your life.

 

If you need help with your finances, call our office. We can offer solutions, legal and practical, that meet your needs. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

What Is An Emergency Fund?

Perhaps figuring out what an emergency fund is can best be accomplished by looking at what it is not. An emergency fund is not for a new dress or pair of shoes, it is not for a lavish vacation, and it should not be used for daily trips to the spa or golf outings. An emergency fund is a fund of money, set aside for use when your car breaks down or when your roof springs a leak. Life has a way of throwing us curveballs, and the more you are prepared, the better.

An emergency fund is something everyone should have. Some things to remember when starting an emergency fund are:

  • Continually contribute to the fund, on a regular basis. This is the only way you will be able to grow an account that is there for you in the event of an unplanned event.
  • The fund should contain enough money to pay your bills for 3 to 6 months.
  • Opening a separate savings or investment account is a good way to keep the money earmarked for emergency uses.

Setting up an emergency fund should be a part of your financial plan. The money can be used in times of unemployment, natural disasters, or other unexpected circumstances. Having an emergency fund allows you to maintain your lifestyle, without going into debt. It is no fun to make monthly loan payments, and never see any progress. Using funds from an emergency account will help you to avoid falling into that trap. If you have questions about how to start an emergency fund, or need help managing your current debt load, call our office.

 

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information about emergency funds and why you need one. We can help you develop a budget that works, and explain your legal options if your budget has fallen apart. We can also put you on the path to financial success, starting with saving for emergencies.

 

 

The Importance Of Sharing Financial Goals With Your Spouse

We’ve all heard how money is one of the leading causes of divorce. This is because when there is not enough money to go around each month, tensions rise and bring out the worst in people. Not being able to pay all the bills can cause arguments between spouses that quickly escalate, and sometimes there seems to be no turning back. In order to maintain peace at home, you have to make peace with your finances and make sure your spouse is on board.

A couple will benefit in more than one way when they share financial goals. Take a look:

  • Setting goals together builds a sense of commitment to each other, to the family, and to common goals.
  • Working together to reach financial goals gives the feeling of a true partnership, and strengthens the bond between a couple.
  • Talking about money reveals what’s important to each party, and can help to make sure your philosophies are in sync.

No one likes to talk about money, but it must be done in order to make workable plans. Bringing the subject up is the hardest part, once the topic has been mentioned the conversations that follow become second nature. It is especially important to talk about financial goals if you are not yet married, but contemplating a wedding. Starting off on the right foot helps to ensure you stay on the right foot, and will give you the confidence to help steer a wayward spouse back on track. It is also equally important for both parties to a relationship to recognize when help is needed. If you and your spouse are having financial difficulty, don’t let it ruin your relationship. We can help you sort out the money problems, which just might save your marriage. Call today for more information.

 

For assistance with finances, call our office. We will help get you on track, and can offer legal options when you’ve exhausted all other efforts. We understand how sharing common financial goals with your spouse can help get you where you need to be, and can help make sure your interests align with your mate’s. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information.

 

 

How Recycling Can Help Save You Money

It seems everywhere you turn these days people have gone “green”. Catchy slogans like “reduce, reuse, and recycle” show up on just about everything and the push for environmentally friendly products is at an all-time high. Recycling does more than just save the earth though, it can really help you to use less and save. The idea of recycling has reached such gigantic proportions, that many businesses and companies are taking part, to do their part.

An article on Virgin’s website offers these tips on recycling, and how they can actually save you money:

  • Ask your city if the recycling bin you set at your curb for pick up every trash day comes with any incentives. Some cities and towns are now offering vouchers for recycling, which can be used at local eateries or shops.
  • If you can take bottles and cans in for cash, do it!
  • Shopping second hand can save you money, plus you get the added benefit of being able to recycle your own goods when you go to the store. So, go clean out our closet and take clothes you aren’t wearing anymore to a consignment shop. You’ll get paid, and just might find a hidden treasure while you are there, saving money on your clothing budget.
  • When it comes to gift giving, reuse gift bags or use an old piece of scrap fabric for wrapping paper.
  • Rather than invest in pricey food storage containers, save empty ones for leftovers.

If you adopt just a few of these habits, you will be surprised at how fast you can save money. And, most people find doing these little things becomes a way of life and is fun. The money you save can go towards paying down debt, putting funds aside, or replacing the worn tires on your car with cash rather than credit. For more money saving tips, and for advice on what to do if you have too much debt, call our office. We can help you get out of debt, save for the future, and stay out of debt!

 

If you need help with your budget, contact our office. Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information and learn how recycling can help you save money, as well as other helpful money tips.

 

 

Characteristics Of Debt Free People

Getting in debt is the easy part, but getting out is hard. Being saddled with an unbearable amount of debt can negatively impact your life though, so it is important to take control of your finances and find ways to cut back and eliminate debt. Doing things like brown bagging it, brewing your morning cup of coffee at home, and eating in more are steps in the right direction. But to become totally debt free takes dedication.

Here are some common characteristics of debt free people, which can be applied in your life as well:

  • People with no debt tend to be detail oriented. You don’t have to rush out and take a course on how to organize your office, maybe starting with getting a shredder for documents with sensitive information is a start. This will allow you to remove the clutter so you can focus on getting things in order.
  • Debt free people are practical, foregoing luxury and impulse buys and opting instead for purchasing only what is needed.
  • It takes patience to get out of debt, and if you lack the ability to wait to see results you may end up in a deeper hold. Take a breather and a step back, things may appear different after a short break from the situation.
  • Debt free people use credit wisely, only in emergencies, and pay it off in full monthly.

Adopting some of these practices can help you to become debt free too. However, if you are already in over your head, you may need help getting to the starting line. We can offer advice on how to achieve a fresh start where money matters, and get you on track to a bright financial future. Call our office today to find out more about how you can take charge of your budget, and get out of debt!

 

Call a Plantation, Florida debt relief attorney today for more information about money management techniques and learn how to get out of debt for good. Schedule an appointment to learn more.