10 Ways To Better Use Your Money Than Credit Card Payments

Credit card companieS!

Although the title of this blog article is really tongue-in-cheek, have you every really considered how your life could change if you didn’t have the struggle of making your minimum credit card payments?

As a bankruptcy paralegal, I’d have to say that at least 9 out of every 10 people I meet with have budgets that would make “shoestring” seem like a luxury.  There was the person who needed windshield wiper blades for her car but hadn’t been able to save up the money to buy them.  I also met man who was on 8 aspirin a day to calm down his toothache – he wasn’t able to save up the money to have a dentist look at it.  These are just two of the many examples of the extremes that good people go to to keep up with credit card payments, payments that have interest rates that at minimum payments will take decades to repay.

When it gets to that point, sometimes you need to think about the things that you’re missing and you’ll probably find out that we’re not talking about luxuries.  Here is my list of Top Ten Things You Should Consider When You Are Struggling To Make Credit Card Payments:

  1. Car repairs:  Are you able to keep your car in safe running condition that will also help your car to last as long as possible?
  2. Health care:  Are you putting off needed procedures or treatments that will help you live a happy long life?
  3. Food:  Do you have enough money to buy healthy, fresh food?
  4. Homeowner’s insurance:  Do you have enough to protect your largest financial investment?  Renter’s insurance:  Do you even have this?
  5. Charitable contributions:  Are you able to help your church and those organizations that are near to your heart?
  6. Eye care:  When was the last time you had an eye exam, new glasses or new contacts?
  7. Umbrella, flood and earthquake insurance:  These are separate policies.  Do you have them?
  8. Home maintenance:  Leaky roof?  Dripping faucet?  Can you afford to take care of these problems before they hurt your home?
  9. Emergency fund:  Do you have enough cash to cover you if your work hours are reduced for a week or more?
  10. Saving for retirement:  It can’t wait forever.

Bankruptcy:  A New Chapter In Your Life

If you were asking me about bankruptcy, you’d hear me talk about how bankruptcy can offer someone a fresh start.  While that is a very real way to describe what bankruptcy can give you, there’s also another similar thought – bankruptcy can be like a chapter in the book of your life.

We’ve all had chapters in our life that we’ve been through and couldn’t wait to move on from… bad relationships, bad decisions, bad circumstances.

Our desire for each of those is to move on and get to a happier chapter in our book.  Bankruptcy can be a way to turn the next page and get to that better chapter.  A chance to be free from the financial ball and chain of the past and to move on to a chapter where you are able to save money for things like car repairs BEFORE they happen (now that’s a happy chapter!) and once again feel that you are in charge of your finances.  So, when you think of bankruptcy, don’t think of it as a last chapter, think of it as the chapter where you turn the corner and become in charge of what is written in your life.

Photo credit: eliazar

Lisa Starrett

I am a bankruptcy paralegal in El Cajon, California, working with my husband Carl to bring the hope of a fresh start to debtors facing mounting bills. Through this blog, I'll share ideas about dealing with financial stress, budgeting and hopefully provide a little humor along the way.

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