Covid-19 Notice: Bankruptcy cases can be handled by phone and video chat.
For most of my clients, money and budgeting are stress bombs. No wonder. very few of us are taught budgeting, either by parents or by our schools. So, we're dropped into adulthood, into college or our first jobs with a "Good luck!" and a whole lot of responsibilities.
If we had a ton of money to play with, most of us would figure things out on our own, but we don't, so it's easy to make small mistakes that have a ripple effect on our finances. When inevitable bad luck happens, that ripple can become a tidal wave.
Most of my clients come to me feeling embarrassed or ashamed of the mess their finances are in, but when I look at the finances, I just see life happening and a years long effort to throw small piles of money against a growing mountain of bills.
But after bankruptcy is a great time to face the stress and fear and become one of those insufferable people who has their finances all figured out!
The best time to tackle your budget once and for all is right after bankruptcy. Okay, ideally you could have sorted all that out in high school, but this is the second best time. Start with the budget prepared for your bankruptcy itself! If your lawyer did a good job helping you prepare that--I always tell my clients it's the most important part of any bankruptcy, it's a great tool.
Get some help and don't stress out about the learning curve. Like anything else, it takes time to change how you see money, takes time to develop (and live with) a plan. There are lots of apps and tutorials that will help you Without telling you you're a bad person if you can't magically pay down your mortgage in a year (I'm looking at you, Dave Ramsey!)
Be realistic. Be patient with yourself. But get started! Decide to track what comes in and what goes out. It sounds silly, but people who do have more money available and less stress about money than people who don't. It's just that simple.