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How can I live on a budget?

If you're approved for chapter 13, you must make payments to creditors according to a schedule established during the bankruptcy process. If you fail to make payments the plan could be revoked, and you may be ordered to pay off your debt in full. To make sure you stick to your new budget, U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice.

Have a goal in mind

Your goal may be to pay off your debt earlier than anticipated, but you might also want to build up retirement savings or purchase a new home one day. Whatever the goal, be sure to keep it in mind when focusing on your budget. It can be difficult to live on a fixed income, but if you’re working towards a larger goal, you’ll be motivated to stick to it.

Comparison shop

When shopping, make a concerted effort to find the best deals for whatever you need. For instance, take a few minutes to search for your purchase online to see if there aren’t cheaper versions readily available. These cost-savings will add up over time, and you can put aside the money for an emergency fund or to pay down your debt even further.

Know the difference between want and need

In the same token, be able to recognize when you merely want something, as opposed to needing it. Your budget must have room for the essentials, i.e. food, clothing, shelter, and basic transportation. Anything that falls outside of the essentials should be questioned before making the purchase. A good example is coffee, which most people need to get going in the morning. You can buy coffee, brew it at home, and take it with you each day for a fraction of the cost of buying a cup of coffee while out and about.

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