If you’re going to be filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the end of the year, then you’re likely facing some anxiety about the holidays and the expectation of gift-giving and other expenses that come with them. This may be especially true if you have children who still expect a visit from Santa or friends, family and co-workers who don’t know about your financial situation.
You can still enjoy the holiday season. You just have to stay within the repayment plan requirements you submit to the bankruptcy court and be aware of any purchases that may attract the Court’s attention.
Don’t go on a spending spree before you file
If you’re planning to wait until after you do your Christmas shopping to file for bankruptcy, remember that any purchases you make on your credit cards after you know you’ll be filing for bankruptcy could get you in serious trouble with the bankruptcy court. They don’t look kindly on people who have one last blow-out.
Prioritize non-monetary gifts this season
A lot of people have gone through tough financial times the past couple of years. Your family isn’t alone. Explain to any friends, family or others who may be expecting gifts that you’ve had to tighten your belt this year.
If you have a large family, suggest a Secret Santa or White Elephant exchange so that everyone only has to worry about one gift. You can give the gift of babysitting, dog walking, house cleaning or small home repairs. Find things to do in the area or at home that will cost you little or nothing.
Work within your bankruptcy budget
A Chapter 13 debt repayment plan allows for necessities as well as things like clothes and miscellaneous items. You can make room in this budget for inexpensive gifts –- particularly if they’re practical items, like a new coat or pair of shoes. If you absolutely must make a large purchase, consult your bankruptcy trustee or your attorney first.
The sooner you start living within your repayment plan, the sooner it will become a new way of life for you, getting you back on firm financial footing. It won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself or your family. Having experienced legal guidance can help you make wise decisions.