Much of the Texas business community is looking ahead to a return to offices as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes in intensity. For more than 25 months, many of us have commuted from our bedrooms to closets, guest rooms, garages, or even our cars so that we could work from home. With a return to brick-and-mortar offices, will your budget suffer?
Consider the Costs
Immersed in the daily grind of commuting, putting in your eight office hours, and hurrying through everyday errands, you probably never noticed all the hidden costs of holding down a job:
- Car maintenance
- Dry cleaning
- Office parties
- Co-workers' children's fundraisers
- Vending machine snacks
All of those expenses dropped during the pandemic. None of us had our jammies and sweats dry-cleaned during our work-from-home days. Many of us saw reductions in our auto insurance rates because of the lack of mileage.
With a return to regular business, your expenses are rising. Gone are the leisurely lunches during which you raided your own refrigerator for hours on end, for instance. Even if you carry lunch from home, you have to restock the refrigerator with portable, convenient, office-approved meals. (You don't want to be that officemate who microwaves leftover salmon in the office break room. And then there is there wafting essence of burnt microwave popcorn—did you miss that?!)
COVID-19 … Pounds
We may have put on a bit of excess baggage over the past two-plus years. The Harvard Gazette says around 39 percent of doctors' patients gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic. An unsettling 10 percent gained more than 12.5 pounds (and — ugh! — 2 percent gained more than 27.5 pounds). Even if you “only” put on 19 pounds, you went up a size or two.
With a return to the office comes a need for properly fitting business attire. Clothes cost each of us around $134 a month, say folks at ValuePenguin. But you cannot buy your business clothes one item per month; you need to put out $700 for a right-sized business suit, $30 for a blouse or shirt, and $200 for business shoes now.
Can Your Budget Handle It?
Your household budget may not be able to handle the sudden, added expenses of returning to the office. Sure, you can put the new suit, the daily or weekly gasoline purchases, and the lunch groceries on credit cards.
Until your cards are at their maximum, and you are staring at late payments and all their damaging fees. Until your savings are tapped dry. Until you have to juggle a credit card payment car payment or a mortgage payment, but not all.
Bankruptcy can be a solution. Bankruptcy may be the protection you need to get through your financial bind:
- Bankruptcy creates a whole new budget
- Bankruptcy can prevent creditors — like the credit card companies and their not so friendly debt collectors— from harassing you
- Bankruptcy can keep your house from falling into foreclosure
Bankruptcy can help make your budget, your business suit, and your expenses all fit into a livable, workable plan for success.
Already In Bankruptcy?
You may already have filed for bankruptcy. If you are in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the sudden new cash outlays may compel you to meet with your bankruptcy attorney to modify the Chapter 13 repayment plan. With the return of added expenses of commuting and working in the office again, you may not be able to afford your current plan payment to the trustee.
Whether you are seeking protection through Chapter 7 bankruptcy or need to modify a current Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, you need the experience of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. You need to speak to a lawyer who shares your experiences — sweatpants, fuzzy slippers, and all — and can offer compassionate, practical solutions.
The Page Law Firm can help you make a brighter financial future. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary strategy session. We provide bankruptcy and debtor education services to residents of Collin County and beyond. Call 214-618-2101 today to make an appointment to meet our Frisco bankruptcy lawyer.