Going through bankruptcy during the holidays? These tips can help!
Families throughout the country continue to face financial struggles. The holiday season can be particularly stressful, but some simple tips can help reduce the stress of going through bankruptcy during the holidays.
From gifts to family and loved ones to holiday meals and other treats, the holidays are a season of giving. Unfortunately, for those struggling to make ends meet this time of year can be difficult. Many households throughout the United States continue to struggle to find their financial footing after the recession. A recent report by the financial resource NerdWallet highlighted these struggles, noting that the average American family carries over $15,000 in credit card debt.
With such a high average debt it is no surprise that there were 935,420 nonbusiness filings for bankruptcy during the twelve months spanning from September 30, 2013 to September 30 of 2014.
How to enjoy the holidays while going through bankruptcy
Those that find themselves considering bankruptcy, recently filing for bankruptcy or recently receiving relief through a petition for bankruptcy are not alone. Although these financially trying times can make things more difficult this time of year, some simple tips can help increase holiday satisfaction:
- Budget. Putting together a holiday spending budget may seem like a dire way to begin the holiday season, but a smart plan can help you make the most of joyful celebrations while minimizing financial stress after the wrappings are tossed and the decorations are taken down.
- Limitations. If possible, consider drawing names and purchasing a gift for one individual instead of the entire extended family. Also, instead of having one family member make the holiday meal have everyone pitch in. This can greatly reduce the grocery bill for the holiday celebration.
- Credit. In many instances, those who were recently granted a petition for bankruptcy relief are encouraged to use credit cards. It may seem counterintuitive, but having a credit card can help rebuild one’s credit score. The key is to ensure that the card is paid off on time every month. In some cases, a secured credit card may be the best option. These are available at banks and generally require a deposit. The credit limit is then tied to a portion of the deposit.
It is important to note that those considering filing for bankruptcy should tread carefully during the holidays. Although a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition generally leads to discharge of credit card debts, courts frown upon excessive spending prior to filing for relief. This can lead to allegations of bankruptcy fraud.
Importance of legal counsel
Those who are managing debt during the holidays are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. This legal professional will review your unique situation and discuss the options that are available, including bankruptcy and settlement.