Re: Journey through Chapter 13
09-01-2012 11:03 AM
I didn't have any objections, well except the trustee wanted my student loan within the plan, which is fine by me. My attorney didn't know how I had been managing for 2 years. I had garnishments, was living on cash (because of the multiple garnishments I had to get a paper check instead of direct deposit and my complete lack of interest in managing my checking account was causing many overdraft fees). Those were tough times, cash, paying in money orders and living with my 2 kids on lots of ramen noodles (and a couple trips to the food pantry, which was humbling). I guess I had to hit bottom. So when we set the budget with the chapter 13 it was much more realistic, with more than $100 a month on groceries (I was getting by on that, yep, with 3 mouths to feed and I still don't know how I managed). So living on the plan/budget is a step up for me. I have money for things like renters insurance and am even socking $15 a month into each of my children's college fund (I have to start somewhere). I have savings and checking accounts again (after getting turned down at one credit union to even open a savings account initially I found a bank that is working with me). I am meticuluous about balancing it. I use Mint.com to track my expenses and progress. I'm still flying under my budget (I think it was $400 a month) for food mainly because I'm an avid bargain hunter/couponer and I had to learn to live with less. This allows me to start saving a bit. It was a great feeling a couple weeks ago to have my battery die in my van and have the savings to cover the expense. Before bankruptcy this would have set a tragic tailspin on my life. I had no expenses for entertainment before and now we do, although I still try to not use it. I'm hoping my van last 5 years. My plan is to keep saving and hopefully have a decent downpayment on a house when my credit is clear enough for a mortgage and pay my next vehicle in cash. I do not want to get into the credit mess ever again. I'm thinking of picking up some seasonal holiday work and will hopefully be able to add to my savings (I never had saved anything before). I guess it just feels good to finally have a plan and not to be living in such a fog anymore. Someone once told me if I could get my finances in order then the rest of my life follows.
To those who have increased their credit score-what seems to help? I just looked at my credit report in detail. There's many inquiries from what looks like collection agencies-and as I read it looks like those will be on after 2 years. There's a slew of adverse reports which will be coming off in the next few years. I have one adverse with a balance due that was in my bankruptcy that I need to get changed. I have no open credit, which I'm planning to get a secured card in the next month or two (and to me a secured card seems like a debit card almost).
I was hoping to next year begin thinking about a house, depending on how much I'll have saved for a downpayment and how much I'm able to increase my credit score. However thinking about a timeline it looks like a bunch of things will be coming off my report in 2014 so perhaps that is a better timeline for me.
I guess I'm lucky, I have a great job, health insurance, a roof over my head and food on the table. I'm counting my blessings.
Starting Score: 541
Current Score: 588
Goal Score: 640
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