Wednesday, June 8, 2016

5 Free and Fun Summer Activities for You and Your Kids

5 Free and Fun Summer Activities for You and Your Kids

Bankruptcy is hard enough when you're single — I can't imagine going through it with little ones to support. I was talking to someone who is in that situation, and the angst she feels shone in her eyes when she spoke about not being able to give her children everything they deserve, including a summer vacation. It pained me to listen to someone I know to be a very good person hurting so much.

You see, while at this moment in time she may not be able to give her children what she feels they deserve, she is giving them what they need: herself. This is more than a lot of people with wealth do, so she should not feel bad. She's going through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and money is tight. I get why she feels the way she does. I just wish it wasn’t so.

Her plight got me thinking, so I emailed her last night with a list of things she could do with the kids this summer for free or cheap. After all, it's really the spending of time, and not money, that matters to the kids. I haven't heard back from her yet, and I hope she takes my message to heart. In the meantime, I thought I'd share these things here to remind folks that they can make their children happy without lavishing gifts upon them. It truly is the thought (and time) that counts.

Here are 5 free or cheap fun summer activities for you and your kids to enjoy:

1. Go to the beach — this is something you can repeat many times this summer, making it a different experience each time you go. For example, build sandcastles one day and go wading the next. Walk the pier or collect shells that you can turn into a crafts project on yet another day at home. The possibilities are endless and exciting.

2. Start a vegetable garden. This is fairly inexpensive if you do it from seeds, but even starter plants won't set you back very much and will pay for themselves with edible food in due time. Gardening is a great way to occupy children's time throughout the summer, as it will require daily attention. It's also great fun to note the daily growth of plants and rewarding for kids to know they had a huge part in making it happen. 

3. Teach your children to cook. I mean, you’re going to spend money on food no matter how broke you are, right? Why not spend some quality time in the kitchen with your kids. You could make a couple days of it and do breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take a day to prepare and shop, and let them have input as to what type of dishes to make. Show them how to save money by making wise purchasing decisions too. You will have a great time and you may even spawn the next celebrity chef.

4. Go Camping behind your house. So. Much. Fun. Break out the sleeping bags, grab the flashlights and scary books, and go to town — in your backyard. Why not barbecue in the afternoon to start the evening off right? If you have a fire pit, you could roast weenies and marshmallows. Be creative.

5. Do arts and crafts. You can use the shells you collected at the beach, but this may take some research. Many normally discarded house hold items, such as toilet paper and paper towel rolls, can be used to make games and animals. Do some research on arts and crafts for children, and you’ll find numerous opportunities for fun things to do – so many you can easily fill your entire summer with them if you like.

Those are just five free of cheap things you can do with your children this summer, but I could write all day on this subject given the time. My point is that you don’t have to spend a lot (or any) to entertain your kids. Remember, just going through bankruptcy doesn’t make you a bad parent. The kids just want you to be there for them. And, you are — I know you are.

Best of luck with your fresh start,


Monday, June 6, 2016

United States Bankruptcy Code

United States Bankruptcy Code

Here's a handy link to the United States Bankruptcy Code posted on the California State Controller's website:

United States Bankruptcy Code

It's worth a look, but in my opinion, a very complicated read, which is why I think most people are better off filing with the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney rather than trying to go it alone.

Anyway, I hope someone find this link to the United States Bankruptcy Code useful. Until next time, carry on and good luck with your fresh start.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

When Does Bankruptcy Leave Your Credit Report?

When Does Bankruptcy Leave Your Credit Report?

Someone asked me how long bankruptcy would continue to show on their credit report today, so I thought I’d post the answer here, so others can see it as well. Bankruptcy leaves your credit report after 10 years. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get credit before then.

As a matter of fact, you may even start getting credit offers right after your bankruptcy discharge. This is because creditors know you can’t file bankruptcy again for at least eight years. I guess they figure they’re safe. However, in my experience, most of the offers I got immediately after discharge came at a very steep price. High-interest credit cards with ridiculous annual fees that got immediately charged to a very low credit line. Thanks, but no thanks.

Debt After Bankruptcy

It was a while before I applied for any kind of credit after my bankruptcy — mostly because I was scared to death to get into debt again. It was great being debt free. Eventually, I did need credit though, and I now have it at a few places. I don’t have nearly (nowhere near) as much debt as I used to, and what I do have I can handle, but I still wish I didn’t have it. Debt sucks. But then, you know that, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the BK coming off my credit report, but I still have two years to go. My credit score is higher now than it was when I filed, but I’m looking forward to having it be very good as it once was so very long ago. Le sigh.

Good luck with your fresh start,


Monday, May 30, 2016

Life After Bankruptcy - 8 Years Out

Hello everyone. Happy Memorial Day!

I've been gone for a while. I've been enjoying the post-bankruptcy life for the last few years. The topic used to consume me, but I'm happy to report that there are now days that go by in which I don't even think about it. I'm sincerely grateful for that, but I don't ever want to forget the lessons I learned from it, which is why I'm resurrecting this bankruptcy blog.

It also makes me a little nervous that I'm coming up on the 8-year mark. That is, it will soon be 8 years since I filed my bankruptcy petition. That means I could file again if I needed to, but I'm not going there! It's just weird to think about.

There were many people who helped me through my personal bankruptcy — most of them strangers on the internet — and I want to pay that forward if I can. In addition to talking about the ins and outs of bankruptcy, I want to concentrate on giving small advice to get you through the day, whether you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy or are already in the middle of one. BK is hard. But, please know that things get better if you let them.

My Life After Bankruptcy

So far, so good. I wish I could say I was completely debt free now, but that would be a lie. The good news is that soon after you are discharged from a BK, you start to get credit opportunities again. However, that can also be bad news. Being in debt sucks, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. I'm not that much in debt, but it still bothers me. I'm working to pay it off as soon as possible.

Anyway, I'll be talking about life since bankruptcy a lot more going forward. I just wanted to touch base. If you have any questions, concerns or just thoughts, drop me a comment. I may not have the answer, but I offer you an ear.

Until next time,

Good luck on your Fresh Start,