Information On Budgeting And Credit Reports
How Do I Make A Budget?
In order to determine if you should be considering bankruptcy, you should create a monthly budget so you can see what, if anything, you should have left at the end of each month to pay toward your debt.
Your budget should be realistic and based on averages. Hence, if your income or certain expenses fluctuate, use figures that are an average of 12-24 months. Otherwise, your budget may not be dependable. For example, “home maintenance” is a category that varies greatly month to month.
You should combine all expenses in this category and divide by the number of months you have used. It is unrealistic to figure little or nothing, and then with one major repair, you can no longer afford to pay toward your debt. Thus, if you are realistic from the beginning, you will not waste precious time or money struggling to repay debt that you may not be able to afford, or committing yourself to a monthly payment that you cannot maintain.
This is why many repayment plans, either through Chapter 13 or credit counseling, fail — because budgets do not plan for unexpected, fluctuating expenses!
Do not forget to include all your expenses, even those that creep up rarely such as vet expenses for pets, title/license renewals, etc.
NOTE: The above tools are great for getting an idea of where you are spending your money. However, when you are ready to prepare for an appointment to review your situation with us, please use our budget form as it is more specific to the bankruptcy petition.
For more information and guidance, contact our lawyers at the office of Debra Booher & Associates now.
I’m Not Sure What I Owe
Credit reports from the big three:
- Experian: or call 800-682-7654
- TransUnion: or call 800-916-8800
- Equifax: or call 800-685-1111
Consolidated credit report from all three of these: www.credit411.com
BE CAREFUL: Relying ONLY on a credit report is not wise. Not all debts are reported there. You should try to determine all debts you owe first by going through your bills AND your memory.
If you believe you owe a debt but can no longer find the bill, you should still list that creditor in your bankruptcy. Otherwise, the debt may not be discharged. The credit reports should be used only to supplement what you believe you owe.
How Long Will It Take To Pay Off My Debt If I Don’t File?
In deciding on whether to file bankruptcy or deal with your creditors on your own, you should determine how long it will take to pay off the debt if you DON’T file. Forget about minimum payments — those get you nowhere. Look at your statements to verify this. Most of every payment is interest. In order to become debt-free, you MUST attack the principle.
Debt tools are available online to calculate how long it will take to pay off your current debt.
Get Trusted Legal Advice Today
If you have questions about filing bankruptcy or need help with the process, turn to Debra Booher & Associates. We are one of the leading consumer bankruptcy law firms in northeastern Ohio and our bankruptcy attorneys file more than 2,000 bankruptcy cases per year for our clients. Call 888-542-1300 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced lawyers.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.