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Monday, April 5, 2021

Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Family's Finances

Debt sucks. Unfortunately thanks to college many adults start out their life with significant debt. Another large percentage of people have credit card debt because of their income being less than their expenses. Debt is tough because each month the payments can eat up a sizable amount of your income, making you have even less disposable income. If you're in that situation, here are some suggestions from a reader on what you can do to improve your family's finances.


When you graduate from college with a four-year degree in hand, you leave the hallowed halls of learning behind and are suddenly thrust into the world of adult responsibilities. It's now time to get a full-time job, where you will work endless hours as you try to handle your projects and lengthy to do list. You'll also have to find a place to rent and then you'll have to buy all of the things you need to set up your first home. Once you get settled in, you'll have some time to start exploring your new town and hanging out with friends again.

While the change from college student to adult is a big transition, nothing prepares you for being a parent and strapping on all of those new demands. Suddenly, everything you do has to be considered in terms of how it helps take care of your family. You can't just live anywhere, you have to get in a good neighborhood where your family will be safe and the schools are great too. When you have kids, you quickly find out it's even harder to make ends meet. Your finances take a hit, because it takes money to raise a child.

Lowering Your Student Loan Obligations

In recent years, the cost of attending college has skyrocketed. The annual costs for tuition, room and board, books and fees have risen far in excess of inflation. As a result, most recent college graduates leave school with a lot of student loan debt. It can be really hard to balance your family's budget when you have to grapple with high student loan payments each month.

If you want to reduce your student loan obligations, you should work with a private lender to refinance your existing student loans into a new, consolidated loan with one easy monthly payment. If you act now, you'll be able to take advantage of today's lower interest rates. You can go online and use a student loan refinance calculator to estimate monthly savings and see how much money you'll save over the life of the loan.

Eliminate Your Credit Card Debt

When you are just starting out in life, it's tempting to put everything you buy on a credit card. Reaching for plastic in your wallet instead of paying cash makes you feel like you hardly spent anything at all. Soon you find that you can't pay the balance off each month and you're suddenly trapped in a cycle of minimum payments and outrageous interest rates.

The annual interest rates on credit cards far exceed the rates charged to refinance a student loan. If you don't pay your credit card balances and only send in the minimum payment it will take you years and years to pay off the debt. If you are in this situation, one of the best things to do is to get a side hustle or part-time work and dedicate all the income from that to paying your card balances off.

Pay Less Each Month for Food

It's easy to spend money on food each month when you have a family. The high cost of groceries really adds up, and with everyone rushing around you probably regularly pick up take-out meals from restaurants too. If you buy lunch at work, that drives the food bill even higher. Fortunately, you can make some easy changes to lower your cost for food.

First, shop the grocery store flyers each week and stock up on the items that are on sale. Next, start buying raw ingredients and lots of fresh produce and eliminate prepared or processed foods completely. Once you have taken these steps, you can save even more money if you start preparing all of your meals at home. If you sign up for online cooking classes, you'll be able to prepare gourmet meals for a fraction of the restaurant price.

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