One of the most difficult aspects of adjusting to life after bankruptcy is living with a budget. Many people create weekly and monthly budgets to keep them on track financially, and they are accustomed to this being part of their life.
Unfortunately, as someone dealing with a changed financial outlook, you’re going to need a little time to sort through budgeting issues and find a system that works for you – and it might not be very fun, at least at the beginning. Complicating things even more is the fact that you must also help other family members, those affected by your finances, adjust to living on a budget, as well.
How can you make this easier on everyone?
One of the most important things you can do is sit down and discuss your new financial reality with family members living in your home. Obviously, you and your spouse must discuss your situation and probably already do regarding the bankruptcy filing.
It’s also important to include children in this discussion – even if they are too young to completely understand what is happening. Make the conversation age appropriate and explain how things will change now that you’re on a budget. Put any fears that have at ease and let them participate, if possible, in planning the budget.
Use Exact Calculations
One of the issues many people have when managing their money is estimating how much things cost. It’s important to be exact when planning your budget because this allows you to better plan. It also eliminates confusion within the family – what means a “few dollars” to one person might not mean be the same as someone else.
Plan for Fun
Once your bankruptcy is complete, you’ll begin to enjoy things a bit more. This means you’ll be able to add things that are above and beyond the necessities – which can seem a bit scary when you are just regaining control of how you spend your money. It’s important to enjoy a few things here and there, and if you and your family discuss these indulgences in advance and plan for them, it’s easier to fit them into your budget. Put your financial priorities first and with what’s leftover, you and your family can enjoy something fun.
Post Your Budget
Everyone in the family who is spending money, or who will ask to spend money, must be aware of the budget. If the budget information is easily accessible to everyone, they’ll be able to see what is going where and how much is left over for other items.
Finally, when planning your budget, try to be as flexible as possible. Life is going to happen and things are going to pop up unexpectedly – and cost money. This isn’t just emergencies, either. You want to be sure there’s some wiggle room for opportunity as it comes along. As mentioned above, be exact when planning your budget, but set aside something to allow for flexibility. This makes it easier for everyone to adjust to being on a budget because it won’t mean you are always saying “no,” or being forced to put off dealing with emergencies.
For more tips on creating a budget that works for your family, check out this article from Forbes.com.
Do you want to know more about planning for your life after bankruptcy? Do you have questions about whether bankruptcy is right for you? Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to discuss your situation and find out how we can help you.