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How To Help Your Wallet Survive Black Friday

Black Friday shopping tipsIt’s Thanksgiving week… which means we’re just a few days away from Black Friday. Sure, you can get some great deals on some of those items you have planned for Christmas – but it’s also one of the biggest factors contributing to the debt load of many American families.

Everything about Black Friday is designed to get you to spend more money. The hype for the shopping holiday now starts an entire month before Thanksgiving, and stores now commonly leak their specials several weeks before the actual event.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement – but it’s important to plan ahead so that you’re not adding debt that you can’t afford to pay off. The following steps will help your wallet (and your sanity) survive Black Friday:

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Struggling with debt? Here’s how to avoid bankruptcy

avoid-bankruptcy
Debt is pretty much a fact of life for most Americans. Most families don’t teach their children how to responsibly manage money, which leads to problems down the road. The majority of today’s workforce has learned money management through trial and lots of error.

It’s far too easy to get overextended on your finances, and most people don’t realize that they’re in trouble until it’s almost too late. When you’re already stretching your finances to the limit, any unexpected bump can send you down the road to bankruptcy.

If you’re wondering if you’re overextended or starting to struggle with debt, the following signs show you’re in danger:

  • You don’t have any savings, or you have to pull from your savings every month for expenses
  • Other than your car payment and mortgage, you couldn’t pay off 100% of your debt within 1 year
  • You don’t actually know how much you owe
  • You use new credit cards to pay off old credit cards or loans
  • You use credit cards for everyday expenses
  • You always pay only the minimum due on your credit cards
  • You’ve paid your credit cards late, or skipped payments
  • More than 20% of your actual take-home pay goes towards debt
    • You don’t have to be behind – if you’ve got credit card balances that never seem to get paid down because you’re always making new charges, that’s a dangerous situation. A sudden accident with big medical bills or even the loss of your job would send you spinning out of control.

      If you said yes to any of the items above and think you might be overextended, you should take immediate steps to get your financial situation under control. If you can regain control and stay on a healthy path, you’ll be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

      Here’s how to get your finances on track:

      1. Figure out exactly what you owe. It can be scary to sit down and look at the big picture, but you need to know the exact number. Once you know exactly what you owe, you’ll be able to make a plan.
      2. Look at your total take-home pay for a single month. This is the most important number, because you have to create a plan where you’ve got more coming in than what you’re spending.
      3. Create a detailed budget. Figure out what you have to spend for the essentials – shelter, utilities, food, and transportation. Don’t count your credit cards or any other expenses here – you need to set your number for necessary expenses so you know what’s left over each month.
      4. Take the money that’s left over and start applying it to your debts. Pay the minimum amount due on every debt except one, and push as much as you can afford towards that balance. Once you’ve paid off that debt, move on to the next. If you make a solid, realistic plan for paying off your debts, it’s much easier to stick to your budget and be responsible with your money.
      5. Once you’ve paid off most of your debt, start saving. Build up your savings in case an unexpected event comes up – you don’t want to have to start all over!
      6. Most importantly – stick to your budget even after you’ve paid off your credit cards. If you stick to your budget and plan ahead for big purchases, you’ll find that it’s easy to stay on top of your finances and avoid debt altogether.

How to dispute an error on your credit report

report an error in your credit reportWhile most of our clients need bankruptcy because they’re struggling with uncontrollable debt, every once in a while we talk to people who simply have problems with their credit reports. Sometimes it’s a result of identity theft, and others it’s simply an error in reporting.

It’s surprising how often we hear the question, “How do I fix an problem on my credit report?” – and while we specialize in helping clients with their bankruptcy cases, we’ve learned a few things about dealing with incorrect credit reports over the years.

If you want to dispute an error on your credit report, these tips might help: (more…)

Should I file bankruptcy?

should i file bankruptcyWe’ve helped many hundreds of Dallas-area residents with their bankruptcy cases over the years, and the most common question we hear first is “Should I file bankruptcy?”

When you’re drowning in uncontrollable debt, you’re stressed and scared – and bankruptcy seems like a huge step to take. That’s why we offer free consultations… we want to help explain every step of the process and all possible outcomes, so you’ll be able to make the right decision for your situation.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy and ways to decide when bankruptcy might be the right decision for you.

What exactly is bankrtupcy?

The federal government established bankruptcy laws to allow individuals and businesses a way to get relief from debts that they’re unable to pay back, in order to get a fresh start. The laws were created so that honest people who had unfortunate circumstances could get a clean slate and start over. (more…)

Check out this review from a happy client

Rubin & Associates reviews from happy clients in DallasIt’s always great to hear from happy clients… Bad things can happen to good people, and we love to help hard working Dallas area residents get a fresh start. Here’s an awesome review left recently by Mr. Shaw:


Mr. Rubin was at the 341 meeting with me in Plano. Sitting there nervously waiting, I was relieved to see Mr. Rubin walk in. This process is new to me. I was very apprehensive and a bit depressed in the first meeting with Mr. Rubin. I felt ashamed and feeling I had failed in my responsibilities. I left the meeting feeling a bit better with the confidence and knowledge that Mr. Rubin showed.

The entire staff I have been involved with at your offices have all been very pleasant, helpful and respectful, and left me feeling much more comfortable about this whole process.

After leaving the meeting yesterday with Mr. Rubin in the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Office, I wanted him to know how much I appreciate his efforts and his work. Being represented by someone so comfortable in his abilities and knowledge has put me and my family at ease and confident that we have done the right thing and the future looks much better.

In my work as a Commercial Pilot, I strive to be as knowledgeable, proficient and confident in my flying as I can be, so that my passengers are relaxed and comfortable and safe on their flight. I take that responsibility very seriously. Its a good feeling at the end of a difficult flight to see their appreciation. Not unlike what Mr. Rubin has done for me. I can see that he takes his job and responsibilities very seriously as well.

Please tell him and his staff, thank you, for me and my family. We are very grateful.

Bankruptcy Do’s and Don’ts

bankruptcy tips for Dallas residentsIf you’re on our site, you’re either considering bankruptcy or in the process of filing. Don’t be intimidated – we help tons of Dallas area families just like you every year with their bankruptcy cases. It’s an unfortunate truth of life – sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Sometimes, all it takes is one financial bump in the road – the loss of a job, a reduction in salary, or an unexpected medical expense – and you’ll be forced to file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws were put in place for just this reason… Everyone deserves a fresh start.

You’ll definitely want to consult with your bankruptcy attorney once you’ve decided to file, but these are a few guidelines that can help you prepare for your bankruptcy. We’ve shared several tips to help you get ready to file, so you’ll have a better understanding when you discuss your situation with your attorney.

Things to do before filing bankruptcy

1. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Filing bankruptcy is a scary process, and most people are incredibly stressed out from the overwhelming debt and relentless calls from debt collectors. Your bankruptcy attorney is there to help you through the process. They’ll help explain the process so you understand what’s happening and what’s coming in the future. Take a deep breath and think about how much better your life will be once you’ve got a clean slate. (more…)

The 4 Dumbest Money Mistakes, According to Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful

4 dumb money mistakesWe read an amazing post yesterday, and just had to share it here on our blog. Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, known as “Mr. Wonderful”, shared the 4 most common money mistakes that people make.

According to O’Leary, the most important question you need to answer about your life is “How much does it cost you to be alive?” If you can’t answer that question, you’ll be in serious financial trouble soon.

Common money mistake #1: Buying crap clothes you don’t intend to wear

Far too many people buy clothes they don’t end up wearing. Most people wear the same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Stop buying clothes just to buy clothes – instead, invest in high quality clothes and wear them out. (more…)

Recent Testimonials for Rubin & Associates

testimonialsWe can talk all day long about our experience helping local Dallas residents get a fresh start through bankruptcy, but sometimes our clients say it better than we do.

Here are a few of the notes and emails we’ve received from recent clients:


God Bless You –

Thank all of you for being there to see me through it, from day one until the last day.

Thank you, thank you!

– Barbara


Mark,

I wanted to thank you for taking time to meet with me in person on Tuesday 4/5. I now have a better understanding of the issues with my case. It was important to me to be able to do this, and I can’t thank you enough. Even though I’m aware that the Chapter 13 was the right decision for me, I still have some anxiety about the unknown. You answered all my questions and broadened my understanding of how these things work. It can be very complicated for a lay-person, and I appreciate your plain English.

I’m glad I have you representing me!

Thanks again,

Joey


Thank you so much… PRAISE GOD and Mark Rubin and Associates!!! A HUGE SPECIAL THANK YOU TO KELLI JOHNSON – now it bought me time… I’ve got connection to guy/friend who does home equity loans for those that are challenged. Says he should be able to get it done for me for 50-60k. I’d pay off bankruptcy stuff with it – what do I need to start doing or do is my next question? THANKS AGAIN MY ANGEL KELLI

Craig

How old do you have to be to file for bankruptcy?

Dallas bankruptcy attorneySometimes, we’ll have younger clients come in for their free consultations and ask if they’re old enough to file for bankruptcy. While there are government-set age limits for driving, voting, and drinking, there’s no age restriction for bankruptcy.

In fact, the absence of an age limit for bankruptcy made the news back in 1998, when a 10 year old in Maryland filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Yes, you read that correctly – a 10 year old filed for bankruptcy.
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What are the Texas bankruptcy exemptions?

bankruptcy exemptions in TexasMany of our clients wonder how a bankruptcy proceeding will affect their property and their family’s future. Contrary to popular myth, bankruptcy will not result in the loss of all of your property.

Each state decides on the available “exemptions”, which are basically lists of things that you can keep and isolate from a bankruptcy proceeding. In other words, the exemptions are removed from the estate – so the trustee and court are not able to touch them.

In Texas, the following exemptions are available:

Homestead exemption

If you live in a city and your home in on 10 acres or less OR if you’re in the country on 100 acres or less, your home is protected. If you sell your home, the proceeds from the sale are exempt for six months after the sale.

Motor vehicle exemption

You can protect the entire value of one vehicle per each member of your household who is licensed to drive.

Personal property exemption

If you’re a single adult, you can exempt up to $50,000 worth of personal property, or up to $100,000 worth if you’re married. Personal property can include home furnishings, clothing, food, jewelry (which can only account for a quarter of the total exemption), sporting equipment, up to two firearms, burial plots, and health savings accounts.

Retirement account or pension exemption

Most tax exempt retirement accounts and pension accounts are exempt in a bankruptcy proceeding.

If you’ve got more questions about exemptions or how your property and possessions can be protected in a bankruptcy case, please call us today at 214-760-7777 for a free consultation. We’re happy to take the time to sit down with you and explain the ins and outs of your potential bankruptcy proceeding.

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