Summer is all too brief in Pittsburgh, but with Memorial Day in two days, it is finally (almost) here. Summer has great associations of family, friends, fireworks, cookouts, and baseball (or, in Pittsburgh, playoff hockey and Steelers training camp). However, for families facing debt, it can cause a few issues. Here are a few tips if summer is causing more worry for your budget than you care to think about.
- Seasonal employment. It can either help or hurt your budget. If you are a teacher or work in the education field, summer can mean a major decrease in income. If you are in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, this can negatively impact your plan payment. If you are facing a summer decrease in income, or even unemployment, let your bankruptcy attorney know as soon as possible. He or she may need to alter your bankruptcy plan to account for the reduced income. On the other hand, summer may mean an increase in income if you work in construction or the service industry. Warm weather may be your best opportunity to put some money aside, or catch up on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. Be sure to let your attorney know about any large increases, as well. An increase in income could prevent some people from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Increased childcare costs. No school is great... to kids. However, parents may face daunting day care and babysitting bills while the kids are home. This is another major stress on Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans. It's best to plan ahead, but if school lets out without a plan in place, you may need to wing it, or even delay a bankruptcy filing. This is a short-term problem, but no doubt a problem for some.
- Vacation costs. Vacations are another stress on tight budgets. It's hard to say "no" to kids wanting to go to the beach, or even to deny yourself after a hard year of work. But, if you are facing financial difficulties, it may mean taking a more modest vacation. One week instead of two, and driving instead of flying (especially with kids) can make budgeting a vacation much more manageable.
- Moving. Summer is the time of year where most people will move to new apartments and rentals. If you are considering bankruptcy, moving beforehand may be a good idea. Most landlords will not care about a bankruptcy on your credit history, but for the few who do, filing after signing your lease may be prudent.
I always tell my clients that debt and finance problems are temporary and fixable. They should not ruin your summer, let alone you life. If you are considering filing bankruptcy this summer, contact us to set up a free consultation.