To stay out of financial trouble in the future you need to understand your financial weaknesses, and work to stay clear of them.
Reduce Reliance on Credit Cards
If overuse of credit cards got you into trouble, try living without them for awhile. Use a debit card instead, but use it as a credit card, not with your pin number. Removing cash from your wallet at purchase time makes it clear how much you are spending, unlike swiping a credit card. Once you believe you can avoid using credit cards for items you would not spend cash on, try using a card for the basics—gas, groceries, and staples. Pay off the balance every month. To rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, be sure to make all payments on time and keep your charges at or below 30 percent of your limit.
Stick to Safe Investments
If high-risk investments have cost you money, then stick to safe ones like money-market accounts, bank CDs, and short-term bonds.
Avoid Luxury Purchases
If luxury purchases are what break your budget, get some new low-cost hobbies. Stay out of the malls, off the online store sites, and out of expensive restaurants.
Use Saving Techniques
You can find hundreds of money saving techniques in books and on the Internet. Do a little research and pick a few to try that you think you can stick with. Keep adding to them. Here are just a few money-saving techniques you can try:
• Bring your lunch to work one day a week, then two, then three.
• Instead of buying books, use the library. The library may also offer free video rentals.
• Perform some small household repairs yourself. Then tackle something larger.
• Establish one no-shopping weekend a month, then two.
• If the money is not in your budget, don’t buy it.
• Declare a moratorium (3 months, 6 months, 1 year) on purchases of items you do not need, for example clothes, shoes, jewelry, collectibles, the latest electronics.
• Postpone large purchases.
• Buy used.
• Spend more time with your thriftier friends.
• Focus on living rather than acquiring.