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Spending money prior, and exemption amounts. What should I do?

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  • Spending money prior, and exemption amounts. What should I do?

    As many know (from my spamming here) I am receiving a PI settlement. The check came in and my wife and I should have the money in our bank next week. It was pretty unanimous that I could and should use it. Which was confirmed by two different attorneys I have met with. Anyhow I have been advised to use it only for life essentials (well at least no unsecured debt). But I do have some things I need that just cropped up. For one thing the majority of it will be spent on home repairs and catching up secured debt (ie. mortgage). But I also need to repair my PC, my wife needs clothes for her student teaching and we need a new hot water heater. However the exemptions are pretty low in my state for personal property items (furniture, clothes, appliances etc). So I am wondering how they figure up what exactly you do own? We don't own anything of value really, but do have things like TVs and a laptop and cheap furniture. So lets say I spend like 400 on my computer, 300 on clothes and 700 on a water heater would they scrutinize that? Does a water heater fall under "appliances"? I can just see that 1,500 sticking out there and eating up 1/2 of my exemption.

    I also want to know how detailed I should keep track of everything spent. Like if we go to target and buy toiletries, or Lowes and buy say a light fixture (one of ours burned out) or even groceries do we need to provide receipts for everything? Or should I only worry about bigger ticket items? I might be thinking into this too much due to paranoia, but wanted to get some opinions.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I kept all receipts. I just put them in an envelope. No one ever asked for a single one of them, but it made me feel better & it's not a hard thing to do. No need to be paranoid about it, but I probably was, too. Lol

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    • #3
      I remember you saying that! I wasn't sure how detailed you were though. Did you keep receipts even for routine shopping? I wasn't sure how picky they get.

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      • #4
        I kept receipts for anything big (appliances etc) and also for all of the cash we spent. We had taken out $3900 from our son's savings to buy him a car and had it in the safe. Had to spend it on my husband's surgery & necessities instead. Basically anything you think might be questioned... I'd keep a receipt. Because, why not?

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        • #5
          How would they have known that you had cash in a safe? I suppose you took it out and had to spend it though, did it go into the bank? Of course that's illegal if you don't disclose it, but you know.

          Anyhow ya there is no reason to not keep a receipt, I just was curious how meticulous they get. Plus I was wondering about the new stuff vs allowances (like clothes, computer parts etc). Thanks for the help!

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          • #6
            We had just taken the money out, thinking we were going to buy a car on Craigslist or something, in the few months before we filed. Anyone who cared to look at our bank statements could have asked where it went, and I was prepared for that. But they didn't.

            I was so honest when filing that I even made sure to spend every random gift card we had in our wallets. $70 to old navy? Jeans for the kids. $5 at Starbucks? Last treat for a long time. lol. I wanted nothing on my conscience and the way to do that was follow the rules & be honest. I would much rather be over prepared than be caught fumbling around trying to explain something.

            As as far as your worries about amounts for clothes, etc I would talk to your attorney -- but mine put in her own numbers for many things and literally said to me, "No one is going to come and search your house." She also said, "I'm not really including the kids in this." Umm, ok. We have three. They have clothes. They have Legos. No one cared.

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            • #7
              spend every random gift card we had in our wallets.
              That is one of the most honest things I have ever heard. I can't say I will do the same, I have a few for Lowes and such from Christmas. I figure they won't know and I might need them for repairs later on. =) 5$ starbucks? You are a very good person. Thanks for all of the responses!

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