Credit debt affects many people in the United States! A 2016 report from the American Household Credit Card Debt Study showed that the average American home has $16,061 in credit card debt alone. Add to this student loans, auto loans, and mortgages, and it is easy to see why people sometimes struggle to get by.
Fortunately, if credit card debt has started to affect your family, there are solutions. You are the sole breadwinner, and you need to make your income last. That doesn’t mean you should have to live paycheck-to-paycheck. You, your spouse and your child benefit from having a savings and extra to spend, so here are some tips on how to cut back and get out of debt.
Cut expenses one by one
Sometimes, cutting expenses doesn’t mean giving up what you love completely.
It might be difficult to imagine living without television, but could you cut back in a way that saves money in the long term? Absolutely. If a cable and internet bill is $100 a month, consider using online subscription services, so you pay only for an internet connection and the services you really use. Most services are $10 or less per month, depending on what you want, so you could see your bill cut nearly in half if you simply keep internet and one online television subscription service. Alternatively, use free digital channels by purchasing an antenna.
Avoiding eating out, or choose from cheaper menu options if you must. If you have a car, consider carpooling to work to save gas. When you drive less, your insurance may also drop in price, since the vehicle isn’t used as your primary transportation. Consider shopping for clothing only when necessary, or try resale shops to save money on brands you love.
Increase your income
It can be hard for a single-income family to get by, depending on the circumstances. Consider taking a second job or, if your spouse has time, see if he or she would be willing to take on a part-time job while the kids are at school. Non-traditional jobs like selling items online or working from home are other good alternatives for bringing in some extra dough.
Work on one debt at a time
Debts may look overwhelming if you look at them all together. For instance, if you have five credit cards that have balances of $100, $150, $500, $1,000 and $4,000, looking at the amount as $5,750 might feel overwhelming. Instead, start focusing on your debt piece by piece. Look at the payments you need to make, and decide which card to tackle first. If you have enough to pay off the two lowest cards, do it and feel the success of being down to only three credit cards. Alternatively, opt to work on paying off the larger card, and then put the money you would have spent on it each month toward the next highest balance. The key here is to never pay the minimum amount on credit debt. If you must, try to pay more on at least one card, so you can see that you’re getting closer to eliminating your debt once and for all.
If your debts are still overwhelming, there are other legal alternatives you can discuss with your attorney, like bankruptcy or debt consolidation, short sales or foreclosures for your home and debt negotiation techniques.