When you’re drowning in debt and have a family to support, things can feel really difficult. Your family simply cannot afford the same luxuries around you that others seem to enjoy.
Though it’s hard, getting out of debt sets a good example for the kids. It can bring you closer together as a family and soon free up money for the things that you want. You just have to buckle down and do it.
It’s smart to look at where you’re spending your money and find ways that you can cut back. For example, you might consider dropping cable, switching phone or Internet providers and shopping for a lower insurance rate.
If the kids are involved in costly after-school activities, consider scaling those back for a few months. Once you free up this money, use it to apply to your debt.
Budgeting for food
Aside from rent or a mortgage, food is probably one of the biggest expenses a family can face. Fortunately, it’s something that’s relatively easy to change.
Consider using less meat in your meals or giving it up altogether at times. The simplest ingredients are almost always less expensive than prepackaged foods. For instance, dried beans are cheaper than canned, and a cake baked from scratch is cheaper than a boxed mix.
Find a few cheap staples to eat multiple times a week, changing the recipe slightly. Pasta is cheap, and you could have spaghetti one night and pasta primavera another night.
In some cases, boosting income is the only way you’ll really be able to get the family out of debt. Parents can work different shifts so that there is always someone home to watch the kids, and you can save on daycare costs.
Another way to boost income is to search around the house for things you don’t use and could sell, such as the toys the kids have outgrown.
Cheap family entertainment
Seek out opportunities that are free or cheap. Many cities offer a free newspaper listing such events. Get together with other friends with kids for potluck meals that everyone can enjoy.
For birthdays or other holidays, ask relatives to give a membership to a local museum. This offers free admission for a whole year.
Debt consolidation can be a great way to not only make it easier for you to pay back your debts, but to save on the interest rate as well.
In this case, you merge all of your debts into one, so you’ll only have one monthly payment. It can be easier to remember to pay the bill, and it’s also easier to see the total debt decrease.
Getting out of debt with all the expenses a family incurs is difficult, but a little persistence and a dash of frugality will really pay off. Sometimes, these changes can be hard for a family to make, initially.
But remember to follow some of these steps to start down the more fiscally fit path for your family.
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