Chapter 13 is a set of fairly stringent rules, and a few areas with some flexibility. The way to figure out your payments is to meet with a lawyer and plug in all the relevant information to see your monthly payment. Most people in Chapter 13 can expect to alter their lifestyle to some extent (though many find things are a little better when they don't have to juggle a lot of debt).
The best way to keep your payment low is to hire an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney will know all of the exceptions and other options that are available to you and will be able to set up the bankruptcy correctly. Most Pro Se debtors pay far more than they would if they hired an attorney.
Your Plan payment is determined either by the amount of disposable income you have each month, or by the value of everything you are keeping. The court will take the highest number. There is no option for "keeping it low." Your attorney should always try to get your payment as low as possible, but the payment is determined by these formulae. I am surprised that your attorney did not explain this to you.
This answer is very simple. Get a good lawyer to write it for you. The amount that you'll pay the lawyer will be"low" compared to what you save and all the work they do. 13's are way to hard to do yourself.
Your attorney will prepare a budget for you with your income and expenses and will compute the lowest payment the Chapter 13 trustee will accept. There are some numbers that you can be flexible with. Others you can't.
As previously posted in this answer by other attorneys, your Plan payment is determined by rules set out in the bankruptcy code and are fairly stringent. There are a few areas with flexibility but they are limited. Your situation should be carefully reviewed to determine if Chapter 13 is the proper solution for you. For example, a Chapter 11 has much more flexibility than a Chapter 13 in structuring your payments and repaying your debt to meet your particular financial situation. Utilizing a Chapter 11 may not be right for you but make sure that you consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney that is well versed in all available solutions. Consulting with a lawyer and reviewing all your relevant information is the best way to determine what will work best to get you back on the road to financial stability.
Steven K. Teuber, Esq.
Neaher & Teuber, PL