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If your Chapter 13 repayment plan is approved by the bankruptcy court, then you will spend the next three to five years abiding by a strict budget. All of your disposable income will go to the bankruptcy trustee. While the idea of living on a tight budget might not be all that appealing, attitude truly does matter. Remind yourself that you’re on your way toward greater financial freedom, that you no longer get harassing phone calls from creditors, and that budgeting now is good practice for managing your finances responsibly after your repayment plan has concluded.

Transportation

The bankruptcy court will likely approve expenses for your car if you need it to get to work. However, unexpected expenses can arise from time to time. You might need new tires or your transmission may need repairs. Depending on where you live, it might be a better option to use public transportation or to switch from a two-car family to a one-car family.

Household Expenses

You’ll have a set amount of money each month that you can spend on utilities, food, and similar household expenses. Because of this, you might consider talking to your utility company about programs that distribute utility expenses more evenly throughout the year. This is also a good time to start looking for recipes that feature inexpensive ingredients and to brush up on your culinary skills, rather than dining out or ordering takeout.

Free or Cheap Entertainment

It doesn’t need to take big bucks to keep your family entertained. Look for free programs for the kids at your local library, where you can also check out movies, music, and books for free. Adults might consider joining a local softball league or adult soccer team to stay busy while not at work. Once your family gets into the spirit of searching for inexpensive entertainment, you’re likely to find that your options are plentiful.

Special Occasions

Special occasions can be more difficult to manage while going through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. During the holidays, consider making baked treats for friends and family members instead of buying gifts. You should still be able to purchase reasonable gifts for your kids, but you’ll need to budget for this when you develop your proposed plan.

If your circumstances change during your repayment plan, contact your bankruptcy lawyer right away.