If you are facing financial troubles in South Carolina, you might think bankruptcy is your only option. You might be hesitant about seeking the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney because you are afraid of the stigma and reputation that might follow you when you file for bankruptcy protection. However, there are things that you can do to help you get your financial footing reestablished and avoid filing for bankruptcy even if you are facing financial woes. When you are facing financial problems and you can’t pay your bills on time, you and your family are caught in a stressful situation that takes over your thoughts 24 hours a day. Facing financial problems can be one of the most challenging things you do in your lifetime. Here at David Aylor Law Offices we want our clients to be aware of all the options available to them.
You might be able to get the help you need through credit counseling. Credit counseling can help you negotiate with creditors, come up with an acceptable repayment plan, pay off your debt, come up with an efficient and effective budget, and work toward your financial goals. Many people can avoid bankruptcy by working with an experienced credit counseling firm so they can understand what they did wrong and correct those mistakes so they don’t face the same financial problems in the future. If you are looking for how to avoid bankruptcy in South Carolina, we might recommend you seek credit counseling from a reputable, licensed credit counseling firm. There are other recommendations we offer clients as well.
Ways to Avoid SC Bankruptcy and Get Your Finances on Track
If you believe bankruptcy is in your future, you might have several different options for avoiding filing a petition for bankruptcy protection. We want our clients to know their options so they can make the best decision for them and their financial futures. We understand that for many people, debt has become a way of life. Sometimes your debt might seem so stressful and overwhelming to you that you believe your only option is to file for South Carolina bankruptcy. However, because bankruptcy can impact your credit you might want to look at other options before filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. For some people, there are alternatives to bankruptcy that might work. Some of them might cost a little more or take a little longer than a bankruptcy filing and discharge, but for some people, they are worth it. Here are a few things that might help you avoid bankruptcy in South Carolina:
Sell Off Some Assets
As you know, if you file for South Carolina bankruptcy protection you won’t be able to keep all your assets. While you can claim some exemptions, often you own more than you are allowed to claim and those things will be sold with the funds being paid toward your debts. You can take over this aspect yourself sometimes and avoid filing bankruptcy. Sell whatever you can spare then use that money toward paying off your debts yourself. When you are struggling to make payments, you need to act immediately. It is time to downsize. By doing this, you can often catch up on your debts and keep the most important things, such as your house and car.
You might not know how to proceed with selling some assets. Well, there are several ways that you can proceed with this. As an example, if you have a collection of something that you have obtained throughout the years, you need to get rid of it. While it might hold some sentimental value, it isn’t needed to help you with your daily life. It can, however, be sold to help you with your debts and your living expenses. You can list these items for sale on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and on specialty sites that deal with collections. Look up similar items and list them at a fair price so they will sell, but so you aren’t losing a lot of money.
You can sell your furniture, jewelry, electronics, and other items in yard sales, at flea markets, on Craigslist, or through local swap ‘n shops or classified ads. While there are those who can’t get past the inconvenience of living without their stuff, there are some things you can surely do without. You can adjust to having fewer things. And look at it this way, it will help you spare your credit, avoid bankruptcy, and get your finances back on track. You can replace the items later as you improve your finances.
Slowly and Gradually Pay Your Way Out of Debt
Can you pay your way out of debt over time? If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that is basically what you will be doing. If you are trying to save an asset and think Chapter 13 is your only option, or you failed the means test and were told you had to file Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7, you might be able to trim your budget and pay your way out of debt. You might have to trim some things that you have grown accustomed to, such as satellite TV or cable. You can cut these costs without too much pain on your wallet. If your high-speed internet is too expensive, you can ditch it and visit the library or public internet hotspots to get connected when you need to get online.
If you are already living on a barebones budget and don’t have those kinds of things to cut, there are ways you can increase your income. If you have hobbies or skills that can help you earn some extra cash and avoid bankruptcy, put them to work. As an example, if you are good at woodcrafts or have a knack at making flower arrangements you could use those skills to make some extra cash. Is overtime a possibility at your job? You could take any overtime pay you earn and pay it toward your debts. If overtime isn’t an option, have you considered a part-time job? Even just a few hours each week can give you the funds you need to pay down your debts.
Talk with Your Creditors and Ask Them to Help You Avoid Bankruptcy in South Carolina
If you file bankruptcy, odds are your creditors will get very little money or no money at all. They would rather get some money from you if it all possible. If you let your creditors know that you are having financial difficulties and that you want to avoid bankruptcy, they are much more willing to work with you. Let them know that you want to pay the debt. Ask your creditors if they can help you ease the burden a little by lowering your monthly payments or lowering your interest rate or possibly do both. You might qualify for a hardship program that many banks and credit card companies offer for their borrowers facing financial challenges. Before you agree to enter a hardship program, make sure your monthly payment and interest rate actually decrease. If you don’t, you might end up being stuck with a minimum payment that is much higher later on and end up facing financial difficulties that are worse than ever.
Ask Family and Friends for Help
While it is usually a bad idea to borrow money from your family and friends, it can be very helpful in this situation. If borrowing money from your loved ones can help you avoid bankruptcy, well it is worth the move. You should carefully and accurately calculate how much money you will need to avoid bankruptcy in South Carolina. Then, you need to figure out how much you are able to contribute from selling assets, working extra hours, and so forth. You can then come up with a figure you can ask friends and family for so you can make up the difference. Before you ask them, you need to come up with a plan regarding how and when you will repay them after your financial situation has improved. Remember, you need to pay the cash back because borrowing from friends and relatives has caused hardships and even caused rocky relationships.
Reach Settlements with Debt Collectors and Creditors
While debt settlement should be avoided under normal circumstances, being on the verge of filing for South Carolina bankruptcy protection isn’t normal. You should opt to settle a few debts to avoid bankruptcy, but it should be done right. You shouldn’t use a debt settlement company because that uses up your valuable time and costs you extra money. If a debt is not past due, don’t settle on it either. Put your time and energy on debts that are in collection or that have been charged off. As soon as an agreement has been reached, you will have to pay off the lump sum amount so don’t agree to an amount higher than you can afford.
Combine and Create Your Own Plan to Avoid Bankruptcy in South Carolina
You can combine these ideas so you can create an effective plan to avoid bankruptcy in South Carolina. There are several ways you can work on decreasing your spending and paying off your debt. Here are few ways you can save money:
- Spend less on food – Cook your own meals at home instead of eating out and take your lunch to work
- Use coupons – Use coupons for groceries, cleaning products, household items, etc.
- Cut your transportation expenses – Carpool, service your car for better gas mileage, avoid unnecessary trips
- Reduce spending on clothes – Shop thrift stores and consignment sales, forget brand names, and avoid dry-clean only labels
- Cut entertainment costs – Share subscriptions with friends and family or drop subscriptions, rent $1 movies or check them out from the library, have game nights
- Lower housing expenses – Do your own home repairs, do your own lawn work, refinance for a lower interest rate
- Lower your phone bill – Cancel your landline and use your cellphone as your primary phone and make sure you get the right rate plan
- Re-evaluate services – Wash your own car, cut out spa visits, reduce salon visits, cancel gym memberships
- Banking – Avoid overdrafts and insufficient funds fees, don’t use ATMs out of network, use expense tracking, stick to your budget
- Increase your income – get a second job, work overtime, make money from a hobby, set up an Etsy shop, tutor students, give music lessons
- Get rid of some assets – Sell unneeded or unwanted household items, have a garage sale, post on Facebook or Craigslist, sell on eBay or Etsy
- Lower utility bills – Set your thermostat at 62 degrees, don’t use too much water, be energy efficient
If you are facing financial difficulties and aren’t sure where to turn, call on David Aylor Law Offices. We offer South Carolina bankruptcy services and we can help you decide which option is the best for your particular situation. Call us today at 843-310-4900.