As a bankruptcy attorney, I have met with thousands of people regarding debt problems in Indiana. One thing is very clear. No one really wants to file bankruptcy. Who can blame them? It isn’t a great feeling to need to file bankruptcy even though for those who need bankruptcy it can turn around their financial lives for the better.
So, if you are one of those people who wants to avoid bankruptcy and is doing some research on the internet I thought I would try to give some good tips for spending less and earning more that I believe can help people avoid bankruptcy. Keep in mind that these are little things, but in my experience the little amounts of money typically add up to something more significant.
Spending first. It is usually easier to spend less money than it is to make more. Here are a few tips on how to stretch your dollar:
1. Either cancel cable or downgrade your package to basic cable;
2. If you are eating out for lunch at work….STOP. This will save hundreds of dollars a month. Pack a lunch instead. Your bank account balance will rise and your pants will fit better;
3. Skip the Starbucks. If you work in an office get your morning coffee fix there. If you don’t work somewhere that provides coffee brew your own and take a mug;
4. Stop having your hair professionally colored. I am guessing it is almost only ladies I am talking to here. Yes, this is a painful cut. However, you can buy hair color at a drug store and do it yourself for about 10 bucks. A great savings;
5. Stop subscribing to magazines/newspapers. The only exception here would be a newspaper that you use to cut coupons…..if you actually end up using the coupons;
6. Cut out manicures/pedicures. Do them yourself and save money;
7. Don’t go out to eat for dinner, either. Again, this will save you hundreds. Plan your meals and buy groceries to cover each meal;
8. Review your cell phone plan. Is it possible to downgrade your plan to save money? Are you paying for minutes or features that you don’t use?
9. Think about your driving habits. Are you making multiple trips when you could accomplish the same thing in just one trip had you planned it out better? Is there someone you could carpool to work with? Could you arrange to carpool your children with another parent? Now that gas is getting near $4.00 per gallon again saving miles on your car could go a long way.
10. Do you use shopping as a method of entertainment? Many people have this habit and it is one that needs to be broken. If you don’t need to buy something don’t go shopping. Shopping for entertainment will either cause you to spend money you shouldn’t or depress you because you cannot afford to buy all of the things you want;
11. Do you pay someone to cut your grass, clean your house or any other thing you could do yourself but enjoy not having to do? Stop. Do these tasks yourself. Since you will not be out spending money for entertainment you will have more time.
Earning extra money, as I said previously is harder to do than cut your spending. However, spending cuts are much more noticeable when paired with additional income. Some ways to make extra money (assuming you already have a full-time job are:
1. Cut grass, clean houses or do some sort of side business that you used to pay someone else to do;
2. Like sports? Consider working as an umpire or referee part-time. If you live in a town such as Indianapolis that has professional sports teams look into ushering at the sporting events. Not only will you get paid, but you will get to take in sporting events that thousands of people pay to see;
3. If you are an early riser (or even if you are not but need the extra money) consider taking on a paper route. This typically pays weekly;
4. Add a second job as a server at a busy restaurant. These positions often allow you to start at 5:30 and work until 8 or 9. A successful evening may result in $100.00 of cash in your hand;
5. Sell things you don’t need at a consignment shop or on craigslist. Not only will you de-clutter your home, you will generate some additional cash;
6. Like children? Consider babysitting for people in your neighborhood when they have a night out or need some time to run errands;
7. If you are willing to open your home, consider renting out an extra bedroom. You can charge $300-$550 per month or maybe more depending on your home. Make sure you take precautions to investigate who will be living in your home, especially if you have children. However, for some people this can be the perfect way to have their car payment, utilities or student loan paid for by someone else each month;
8. Pizza Delivery. No explanation necessary.
9. Lots of pets in your neighborhood? Put together a flier and go door to door letting everyone know you are available to walk fido.
10. Are you an expert in something? Can you earn money as a tutor?
11. Do you love blogging? Do you have something interesting to write about? Companies may buy ad space on your blog and allow you to earn money for your time writing.
As I said, many of these are small things. However, cutting spending and adding income can easily mean a swing of a thousand dollars a month in your household. For many people and families this may be just what is needed to avoid bankruptcy. I also know that there are those of you out there who are reading this who have tried all of these tips and more to avoid bankruptcy. For those of who struggling with debt no matter what you try I would be happy to meet with you to discuss either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I will answer all of your questions (without sitting you in front of a video monitor) and let you know whether or not I believe bankruptcy could be of assistance. Check out testimonials given by Halcomb Singler clients. If you would like to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation regarding bankruptcy call 317-575-8222 or click here for your appointment at our Carmel, Indiana office.