5 Best Ways To Get Out Of Your Bankruptcy Rut

If you have made the decision to file for Bankruptcy, you can start making an effort to repair your credit and get back on track.

The financial decisions you make after you file will impact how fast your credit can improve.

  1. Check your credit. Within a few months of your finalization of bankruptcy, check to make sure your credit reports have discharged your debts and closed accounts are properly reported. You can request one free report per year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).
  2. Start a budget. You need to get your spending on track and under control. Check out our article on setting up a budget. If money is tight you may want to get an extra part time job and use that paycheck to jump start an emergency savings fund for any unexpected financial hardships. Another smart move is an emergency savings fund to help you weather unexpected financial hardship. You can set up Automatic Transfers from your checking account to a savings account. If money is tight, take a part-time job and use that paycheck to jumpstart your emergency savings fund.
  3. Pay bills on time. Bill paying habits make a huge impact on your credit score. Making on time bill payments will improve your credit score over time. Meeting payment dates is a huge step in recovering from bankruptcy.
  4. Acquire new credit but do it wisely. There are different products and services you can take advantage of to rebuild your credit. If you receive a secured credit card make sure they send reports of your payment history to the credit bureaus. Use your credit card wisely in order to build up credit only on items you can afford to show you are in control of your spending.
  5. Apply for a loan. If you want to rebuild your credit score, two years after your bankruptcy you will be eligible for an FHA loan assuming you meet qualification rules. Some lenders can even qualify you for a car loan sooner than that however it will probably be at a high interest rate.

While the formal record of a bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 7 to 10 years, its impact recedes over time. Your bankruptcy is a reflection of the past. The future is completely within your control, and how you handle your finances going forward will tell your creditors whether you in fact are a good “risk” to do business with. By following these steps to recover from bankruptcy, you improve your chances of increasing your credit score over time, and having a better financial future.

Do you have questions about filing for bankruptcy?  Please call us, The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales & Preston, at (951) 461-2500.

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Surviving College With Money To Spare

College tips for spending money wisely.

College is a fun time for any student but students should be aware of some money saving and spending tips. Check out The Law Offices Of Page, Lobo, Costales & Preston’s college money tips:

  • Setup your online banking and automate your finances. If you have bills, set them up to automatically be paid through your online banking. It isn’t a bad idea to also automatically have a little go into a savings account each month as well.
  • Open a credit card BUT only one with a small limit. We know this can be dangerous but you need to only do this if you are going to pay off the balance each month and set the limit as low as possible. Credit cards are a great way to build your credit rating.
  • Apply for scholarships – it’s free money so why not! If you are already in college, don’t worry you can still apply for a scholarship. You may be surprised at how much you can get.
  • Work while you are in college or start a side business. There are most likely plenty of job openings on campus or you can start your own business like a landscaping service or tutoring business.
  • Limit your entertainment money. Of course you will go out in college but pick your nights wisely so they stay within your budget. Or stay in and enjoy a homemade meal and drinks with your buddies.
  • Use local transportation to get around instead of a car. Most college towns offer great public transportation. Not having a car will cut down on gas bills, parking fees and regular upkeep costs.

What To Look For In A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Rule Number One: Don’t go into bankruptcy alone!

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.

 

Give Jonathon Preston from the Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston a call.

When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.

You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.

Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.

Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.

Looking for a lawyer? Call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston.

7 Ways To Save For Christmas Now!

It’s no surprise when Christmas is. It comes the same time each year!

However, it always seems to sneak up on us when it comes to affording it financially. Christmas doesn’t have to be a holiday that buries you in more debt.

Christmas savingsPage, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some great tips to get your savings started now for Christmas:

  1. Do you come across extra money? Whether it is finding spare change or shopping rebates, put it away into an envelope. If you go out to eat and your friend pays for a portion of the bill in cash and gives it to you, use that to put into your Christmas envelope as well.
  2. Do you ever earn gift cards or receive them as gifts? Put those into your Christmas envelope as well! You can always re-gift them or exchange them for presents when it gets closer to Christmas.
  3. Eliminate eating out one day of the week. Use the money you would spend on your lunch or dinner out towards your Christmas envelope.
  4. Do you have extra stuff lying around the house? Sell it! Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning. Clean the clutter out of your home and sell them at a garage sale. If you have more quality stuff, sell it online through eBay.
  5. Cut back on some of your utilities for a couple months. For example, if you cut back on your cable subscription for 2-3 months, put that extra savings into your Christmas envelope. It’s so nice out lately anyway, who wants to be inside watching TV?
  6. Call your cell phone company to see if you can lower your bill. Do you have a landline? Cancel that and just use your cell phone.
  7. Pay yourself daily on each transaction you make. For example, if you go to the grocery store and you spend $94.87, put the extra $5.13 into your Christmas savings envelope.

When Bankruptcy Is Right For You!

Bankruptcy isn’t a pretty word, but sometimes it’s the right solution.

Bankruptcy can sometimes be the best solution for your financial difficulties and can help you in many ways.

 

However, It is best to know exactly what you are getting in to and know exactly all the ramifications involved with bankruptcy.

We encourage those on the fence about bankruptcy to call our offices. We offer free consultations and would be happy to help you in determining if bankruptcy is right for you.

The following are examples of when bankruptcy may be the right solution for you:

  1. Loss Of A Job – Most people work hard to get a good, high paying job and in a lot of cases, along with a high paying job come higher living expenses. When there is a lay off or even restructuring at a place of employment, that loss of income can force people into bankruptcy.
  2. Medical Bills – Many bankruptcies are a result of high medical bills. Rare or serious diseases or injuries can easily result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills – bills that can quickly wipe out savings and retirement accounts, college education funds and home equity.
  3. Divorce – When someone gets a divorce, an income which was once used to cover one household now must be stretched out to cover two households. Many people file bankruptcy after divorce, in an attempt to clean up the mess that the divorce left in their financial life.
  4. Avoid Draining Retirement Funds – In most cases, retirement accounts are protected in bankruptcy.  When someone is considering draining retirement accounts to pay for debts, they need to consider the consequences and whether a bankruptcy would better serve their long term goals.  Those people who are at or near retirement and need retirement funds to meet their basic living expenses especially need to consider this option.
  5. Back Taxes Are Owed – Not all taxes are able to be discharged however some can be wiped out. Even when tax debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, wiping out other debt can make a payment plan to the IRS or state government possible.

Money Saving Tips

7 tips for saving money.

Saving money does not have to be a chore. It can be fun and you can make a game out of it between friends of who can save the most.

Our favorite way to save money is every time you use your ATM card, get cash back – anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00. Then put this money in a secret spot. It is amazing how much you will have saved in such a short period of time. It will also motivate you to save more!

Below are 7 more tips on how you can save money:

  1. Determine what the difference is between “needs” and “wants”. Many of those “wants” are impulse buys and you really don’t actually have to have them.
  2. Make your meals at home, usually what you make is better for you than what you buy. Also brew your coffee at home instead of stopping by Starbucks every morning.
  3. Set goals for yourself. If you want to have a certain amount of money saved by a certain date, find a way to do it.
  4. Use cash for everything. Once it is gone, it is gone. This will help you avoid impulse buys.
  5. Go to the library to rent movies, it is free.
  6. Stop impulse buying! Walk away and reevaluate how much you want it after 24 hours.
  7. If you see something you want calculate how many hours you would have to work to afford it.

5 Money Saving Tips Anyone Can Use

Looking for ways to cut back your expenses?

money savingsWith prices on just about everything going up, it is pretty common to start searching for ways to cut back costs and stretch your dollar a little further.

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like share some helpful tips to saving money that just about anyone can use:

  1. Call your electric company to see how you can save money. Many offer free energy audits to see where your utility dollars are going. You can then make changes and repairs to various areas of your home to save some electricity. Also unplug EVERYTHING when you are not using it. Even phone chargers, TV’s and computers are using electricity even if they aren’t turned on!
  2. Make your own repairs at home instead of hiring someone. Many stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free Do It Yourself classes where you can learn how to make minor improvements to your home all by yourself.
  3. Pay down your mortgage or put that extra money in savings. If you make an extra mortgage payment each year you can save thousands of dollars in interest of the course of a 30 year loan. However, if your interest rate is already pretty low (in the 4-5 percent range) you may be better off contributing to a 401(k) plan or paying down your higher interest credit cards.
  4. Ask for your interest rate to be lowered. If you have good payment history with your credit card company, they may agree to lower your interest rate if you just simply ask.
  5. Review your insurance rates. Many times your home and auto insurance rates can be lowered. Ask your current provider to do a review and shop around for other lower insurance rates as well.