Maybe you didn’t think of it in just this way, but bankruptcy plans are based on budgets. One of the important items that I discuss with people who come to my Indiana bankruptcy law offices is their budget, meaning their income and their regular expenses. In fact, when clients file bankruptcy, one of the documents that will be turned in to the court is their budget, which shows how much money the people are bringing in as compared with the regular bills they have to pay. That, in turn, tells the court how much money might be left over to pay creditors.

It’s obvious – as the price of crude oil rises, and it costs more to fill up the gasoline tank, that’s not going to help anybody’s budget. But it’s a whole lot worse than that, actually, because so very many of the everyday products you and I use are by-products of oil. If you blow a tire, replacing it will cost more, because the tire is a byproduct of oil. When you go to the store and bring home stuff in plastic bags, those bags are going to cost more, which will be reflected in the price of what you’re buying. OK, so you’ll ask for paper next time, you say? Well, that plastic milk carton, the wrapping on the bread, even the plastic store card itself – all are related to oil. Even the coating on the wax paper inside the cereal box is a byproduct of oil!

My work as a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana has me counseling thousands of people and then helping them through the steps of the legal process of filing bankruptcy. For a bankruptcy to turn into a success story in the long run, however, it always means the people have to start taking greater responsibility and control over their finances. No, you and I can’t single-handedly stop the price of crude oil from going up or down. But all of us can become more aware of what’s going on with prices and make more careful choices about spending our money. And, speaking of the price of gasoline, we can all be more careful about how we use our cars, by cutting down on unnecessary trips and even car pooling. Mostly, we can come to a realization that, for all of us, it’s worth making a big deal about our budget!