My Bankruptcy Experience

Six months ago, just seeing or hearing the word bankruptcy would send my mind and body into frantic mode. There I was, a 24 (now 25) year old that had just moved back in with her moms and needed to file for bankruptcy. If you’ve read my introductory post then you know what caused me to make the move and file, but for any new comers…here’s the story:

Before moving home I lived in Massachusetts. I moved there after college, wanting a change of scenery and to start my life on my own. I was supposed to move there with a friend but that fell through so my moms put out a lot of money to make the move still happen. A couple of months after being there I decided to put myself out there on match.com. Long story short, I met a guy on there…fell quickly…and due to having a scummy landlord, moved in with the guy. Fast-forward about a year and we’re engaged.

In that time he convinced me to open some credit cards; mostly store cards like Lowe’s, Macy’s, a furniture store, etc. At the time it made sense…we got an apartment together and we wanted it to look nice. He had pretty bad credit, so the cards had to be in my name but I wasn’t overly worried because we both had good jobs. But a couple of cards turned into like eight and the payments got a little crazy and confusing.

Then he went on disability from work for his back issues. He had legitimate health issues, but his issues went much deeper. During this time is when I saw the true man he was and it was not the man I wanted to be with. When he asked me to marry him, I said yes. Not because I was ready but because I felt like I couldn’t say no. Don’t get me wrong…I loved him and still do love him. A part of me always will. But his faults and his lack of determination to get help is what made me leave. He was degrading, condescending, and just flat-out mean. He never got physical but would often say that he wished I was a man so that he could.

Since he went on disability, he was only getting a fraction of the salary he was and thus we had to rely on my lesser paycheck. I eventually just stopped paying all the credit cards because I couldn’t keep up, especially with my student loan payments. I talked to him about it and he convinced me that taking out a personal loan to consolidate was the best option. I agreed that it was the best option and it would have been…had he not run all the cards up again once they got paid off with the loan.

So I was in such a big hole that there was no rescue anywhere in sight besides bankruptcy. He told me we would do it eventually together and then we would both have good credit. I went with it. But then his disability ran out, he applied for long-term disability but got denied and he worked his way into getting unemployment. He didn’t even put any effort into finding a job…just went through the motions so he would get paid.

Fast-forward to me leaving him the day after this past Christmas and moving home. My mom helped me find a bankruptcy attorney through her work’s Employee Assistance Program. The attorney made everything seem MUCH less scary than what you hear or read about bankruptcy.

The process was relatively simple and the worst part was waiting. Here’s a rundown:

  • Had a phone consultation explaining my situation and getting facts about bankruptcy.
  • Compiled a list of my debt and sent it to my attorney.
  • Met with attorney to sign off on petition to file for bankruptcy.
  • Waited about 2 months for my bankruptcy hearing.
  • Went to bankruptcy hearing that lasted all of 5 minutes.
  • Waited 60 days to see if any creditors would fight the bankruptcy.
  • Got a letter in the mail saying all of my debt was discharged.

Little side note: student loans are pretty much the only thing bankruptcy won’t take away. Sucks, I know.

As I said, the waiting was the worst part, as it usually is in situations where the end result is unknown. But when I got the letter in the mail last week saying my debt was discharged, it felt like a massive weight came off of my shoulders. I was at work when the letter was delivered. I took a break and checked my phone and there was a missed call from my mom. She doesn’t call me at work unless it’s important so I called her back and she asked if she could open it. I told her she could because I didn’t want to wait the rest of my shift wondering what it said. She read it to me and BAM! Insta-tears…happy tears…tears of relief.

The bankruptcy went through and I can now start rebuilding my credit and continue rebuilding my life. I know I still have a long road ahead of me. However, through therapy and a lot of self-care, I feel ready for it.

To anyone who may be debating filing for bankruptcy, get informed by experts and have a person-to-person conversation. Getting a consultation does not mean you are roped into filing. It’s simply to help determine if your situation deems bankruptcy necessary. In my situation, it did.

Check to see if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program. Using my mom’s made finding a good, affordable attorney very easy. They can even help find therapists and often offer free sessions!

To those in the middle of the process, hang in there. If you have anxiety about worst-case scenarios like I do, then believe me when I say I struggled internally with the waiting. My patience was pretty thin during my process. But it does end and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I would also stress the importance of a good support system. Having people to rely on can make a huge difference in handling any situation but especially one as stressful as bankruptcy. Not only have my moms helped me financially, they have been there for me every step of the way. My sister and my friends helped a lot, too by giving people to vent to.

Having people is good and I have some pretty good people.

I’m actually looking forward to what comes next in my life. I’ve struggled a bit recently with motivation. Having the bankruptcy done and over gives me a new look on the future. I have been working really hard, technically working three jobs at the present time, saving up my money. I do not want to make she same mistakes I made before. I’ve done some big ‘me’ things lately, like my new tattoo (Follow me on Insagram! @caitiep08). I am budgeting and holding myself accountable when I do spend money. It won’t be an easy or short path but it is one I am excited to take and I can’t wait to take all of you along with me!

If you aren’t already, follow my blog! You can either create a WordPress account or simply enter your email to be notified when a new post goes up! I’d also love to hear from anyone who has gone through bankruptcy and what helped them to get through it…drop a comment below!

Until next time…

Love always,

Caitie♥

Road to Van Life: MONEY

While eventually embarking on my van life journey and documenting all I can, I also want to document and share my road to van life. One of the biggest factors to consider in wanting to travel full-time is money. I racked up quite a bit of debt through student loans. So for the foreseeable future, a hefty amount is going to be coming out of my bank account every month. [Tip: Avoid private student loans if you can.]

I’m also aware that, just because I will be traveling in a van, doesn’t mean there won’t be expenses. I’ve given a lot of thought to exactly what kind of budget I’ll need in this next stage of my life. I don’t see myself minding working on the road because I will be able to travel and set up shop to work wherever I would like. If I can find a cute spot with free wifi, GREAT! If not, I plan on having internet access somehow for when I go off-grid.

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Van Expenses: Gas is a HUGE and obvious one. I also will more than likely have a car payment, which I don’t mind. I don’t want to buy an older van and risk having to pay more money fixing the van than traveling. In addition to that will be auto insurance. Since it will be my traveling home, I’ll need more protection. Maintaining the van will require me to budget some money aside as well. Not to mention the costs for the actual van build.

Personal Expenses: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself means groceries and not just eating out for every meal. I plan to have a fully functional kitchen space so that I can make my own meals from wherever I am. I’m pretty simple with my regular food choices but definitely not afraid to try new or weird things. I’ll also need some kind of health insurance since I am quite accident prone. No one ever really plans to use their health insurance, but it does provide peace of mind and is pretty mandatory to have.

I also have to factor in that, even though there is a lot of free stuff to do on the road, at some points there may be something really cool that I really want to do. I want to be able to have that freedom to pick a new activity to experience every now and then. For example, I really want to road trip to Alaska. My dad has said he would go with me, so I would want to make sure I had some money set aside to make that trip special.

Traveling With a Pet: This adds a whole other set of expenses. Albus is a very healthy kitty (vet confirmed today at his annual exam) but that means giving him the best I possibly can. Albus started out his life not so healthy and once I adopted him I knew I would do whatever I could to make sure he stayed as healthy as possible. I pay more for a better quality food and pay more for a better, more protective flea and tick preventative. Just because I’m downsizing my life doesn’t mean I will downsize his. Yes he may be in a smaller space that he’s used to, but he will be cared for just the same. He even has pet insurance.


Having so much in student debt, going through bankruptcy, and taking a huge pay cut means I have very little in savings. I plan on spending the next year saving up as much money as I can. There are two main reasons for my savings; the van build and a cushion to have for emergencies.

I’ve had to seek out multiple outlets for money in order to maximize my savings. My main source of income is my job as a mental health worker. It unfortunately does not pay enough for all that we do or deal with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job and working with the kids…not every day is stressful and some days are fun. However the stress that it does cause, in my opinion, is just not worth it for the long-term.

It doesn’t earn me much, but I pick up a few hours here and there hosting at a local restaurant. Basically I’m a fill-in for when people want some time off. This suits me just fine because that leaves room for my more important side job–freelancing. I’ve started putting myself out there now so that I can build a reputation for myself in order to have it be my full-time job on the road. I’ve been able to obtain a part-time position as a social media content developer for a small marketing company that works very well with my schedule. This has literally just started, but I can tell it is going to lead to great things!

It might sound corny, but I really do officially feel like I am on the road to van life! I can daydream and browse Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube all I want. But actually obtaining this freelancing position gets me going in the right direction towards making van life a reality. If anyone has any advice on freelancing whether it be social media content or article/blog writing, I am all ears! Well…eyes. Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time!

Love always,

Caitie♥