Managing money when you’re raising a family is no easy task at the best of times. For many households, the challenges and costs of the pandemic have made it that much harder.
Even as the economy rebounds and more people are getting back to work, prices for groceries, housing, gas, and more are on the rise, and inflation is eating away at your purchasing power.
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In these tough times, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan. These are some of the steps you can take to get your family’s debt under control.
Explore Your Debt Relief Options
Debt relief can add breathing room to your family budget. When those bills keep mounting, and your credit card balance never seems to go down, it can feel like debt’s keeping you back in a big way.
A good place to start is credit counseling, where an accredited Credit Counselor with a non-profit credit counseling agency sits down to review your financial situation, build a repayment plan, and negotiate with your creditors to reduce your interest charges. Through a Debt Consolidation Plan, they can make repaying your creditors simple and more affordable.
Trim What Expenses You Can
One of the biggest problems that families have with debt is that it’s so hard to make room in your budget. Raising a family is expensive, and it’s tough to find any leeway in that budget. Take a month where you track and compile all of your expenses. Compare that with your lifestyle, then see what’s essential and where you can make room.
You may not be able to reduce your costs in all of these areas, but they are common areas for families to start:
- Takeout and restaurant costs. Calling your favorite restaurant can be tempting after a hard day at work, but it can make your food costs extra high. If cooking really isn’t an option that day, save by doing pickup instead of delivery or go with a more affordable restaurant.
- Going from two cars to one if you can carpool for work and manage your kids’ schedules on one vehicle alone. Car ownership is one of the highest costs your family faces.
- Go over utilities, subscriptions, data plans, etc. If there are cheaper plans that you can use, now could be a great time to change.
Save Up an Emergency Fund
One of your first financial goals should be to save up an emergency fund. You may not even want to wait until you’ve paid off all your debt. Having a buffer between you and reaching for that credit card when an emergency expense comes up will save you down the road.
From sudden car repairs to those field trip fees your kids forgot to tell you about until the last minute, an emergency fund makes sure you’re never caught short-handed.
Getting debt under control is all about finding savings wherever you can. If you can’t find enough of them, make them by seeking out debt relief and renegotiating with creditors.