You probably love the holiday season because it is a clear opportunity to give to others and show how much they mean to you. The end of the year is also a popular time to treat yourself to things you’ve wanted since January, like that new television or vacation. For those who are in financial duress and are considering bankruptcy, though, the spending surge of the holidays needs to be curtailed. If it is not, overspending could dramatically worsen an already-precarious situation.
Consider these quick tips to stop yourself from overspending:
- Budget: First things first, make a budget. How much can you actually afford to spend? Be realistic and don’t rely heavily on credit cards. Budgeting is also the last thing you should do, as you need to track your expenditures after each purchase to see if you are meeting your goals and expectations.
- Give for others: Remember that the best gift of all is the gift of giving. It might be tempting to grab an item or two for yourself when visiting a retail store for others, but the fastest way to cut holiday spending is stopping the trend of self-gifting in its tracks.
- Beneficial inconvenience: Sometimes the price of an item increases due to a “convenience cost” that is tacked on. More often than not, this is something like expedited shipping. Look at deals carefully and you can probably trade some lower costs for some choices that are a little less convenient, like having to go across town to get a comparable item at another retailer.
- Travel tips: Many of us will travel this holiday season to visit friends and family, and most of us will drop the most money in doing so. There are nearly-innumerable travel apps and websites that fight against one another to save you money, so don’t be afraid to shop around. Consider other money-saving travel tips, too, like using an Uber to get to and from the airport, rather than parking your car in the lot for a week.
Recent Debts May Not Be Discharged
If you are planning on filing for bankruptcy, it is crucial that you do not think that you have a free opportunity to overspend and wash it all away with debt discharges. In many personal bankruptcies – such as Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filings – recently-acquired debts will not be eligible for discharge, and therefore persist after the bankruptcy is finalized. The bankruptcy court will also not appreciate you maximizing your credit cards with the hope that they will forgive you. Act and spend responsibly during this most-tempting of seasons.
Make This Holiday Your Fresh Start
If there was ever a time of the year that made it hard to save money, it is the holiday season; the National Retail Federation estimates the average American consumer spends nine-times in November and December what they do in most other months. Use this chance as a fresh start and take active steps to limit your spending. If you can succeed during the holidays, you can succeed year-round.
For help understanding and planning for bankruptcy, you can contact the Law Offices of James C. Shields and our Torrance bankruptcy attorneys. We have more than two decades of legal experience and always take a compassionate approach to our cases in hopes of helping our clients find financial freedom once again. Call 888.910.6652 for a free consultation.