Recovering from bankruptcy can be a difficult process to undertake, but it doesn’t have to be a dead end. As a bankruptcy lawyer, I understand the range of emotions people feel after filing for bankruptcy.

While the thought of starting over can be daunting, there are a few steps you can take to rebuild your financial future more quickly.

Step 1: Establish a Budget

The first step to financial recovery is to build a budget. Start by tracking all of your expenses from the past several months. This will help you to identify areas where you can cut back and create a budget that is realistic and achievable. Once you’ve established a budget, stick to it. This will help you to get your spending under control and start saving for the future. Schedules I and J (which is a budget presented to the court as part of your filing) from your bankruptcy filing are a very good starting point to planning and creating an after bankruptcy budget.

Step 2: Build a Savings Plan

Once you’ve established a budget, the next step is to create a savings plan. Start by setting aside money each month for emergencies. This will help you to avoid having to rely on credit cards in the event of an unexpected expense. Additionally, set aside money for your future goals.

Step 3: Start Re-establishing your Credit

A secured credit card is a great way to rebuild your credit score and help you re-establish your credit history. Even though a bankruptcy can stay on your record for up to 10 years, you don’t have to wait that long to start building your credit. Ideally apply for a card with no annual fee, start using the card wisely and you’ll help you rebuild your credit score over time. Don’t use all your available credit balance and make payments on time making sure you pay off your credit card in full each month.

Credit builder loans are another smart way to start rebuilding your credit. When you take out a credit-builder loan the funds will not be available to you, they will stay in an interest earning account as you make fixed payments with interest on it every month. Once the final payment has been paid, the funds are yours and because you’ve made regular payments they will increase your credit score. Check out products like to help you rebuild credit and save money.

Step 4: Monitor Your Credit Score

Monitor your credit score regularly to ensure that your credit score is increasing and to identify any errors on your credit report. You can sign up for one free report a year from each of the three credit bureaus at: You will become eligible for mainstream credit offers once your credit score reaches 700 or above. Once you move from a secured credit card to an unsecured card you should still aim to keep your utilization low and make full payments every month.

Step 5: Avoid Future Bankruptcy

After going through bankruptcy, the last thing you’d want is for it to happen again. Avoiding future bankruptcy means understanding why it happened, creating a plan for your future success and sticking with that plan moving forward. Once your good behavior is rewarded, and your credit is re-established, remove temptation to spend and slip back into old habits by not carrying your credit card with you.

Bankruptcy Isn’t the End

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for repairing your credit. Most times lifestyle and spending habits need to be adjusted, which can be hard to do. But there is hope after bankruptcy and the fresh start it can give you if done wisely.

Recovering from bankruptcy is often something that is difficult to do on your own, if you feel overwhelmed reach out to a reputable credit counselling service for help. The U.S. Department of Justice’s website offers an approved list of counselors that will help you incorporate new financial habits so you are set up for future success. As always, beware of scammers or credit forgiveness companies that sound too good to be true.

Contact Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Lynnwood & Snohomish County Today

If you’re thinking about declaring bankruptcy, knowing what comes after filing can help you understand and plan for your financial future. If you haven’t yet started the bankruptcy process and have questions, please schedule a complimentary consultation with experienced bankruptcy attorney Steven Palmer to learn more about the process and to get a clear picture of all your options.

Contact Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Lynnwood & Snohomish County Today

Steven Palmer of Curtis, Casteel & Palmer, PLLC is here to help you every step of the way in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process. Speak with a Bankruptcy Lawyer today to discover your best options.