Financial struggles don’t just affect individuals, but families too. Parenting is not easy by any means, and neither is the cost that comes with it. Parents want their kids to have the best life possible. When you’re spending too much money on vacations, extracurricular activities and other things, it can put your family over the financial edge before you even know it. Unfortunately, being a parent and being in debt do not walk hand in hand very easily. Thankfully, a little planning and education on bad financial habits can help parents avoid financial pitfalls. Here are 5 ways families hurt their finances:
Who doesn’t love a trip to Disney World or a week on the beach? While vacations like these are memorable and a great recipe for a good time, they are also expensive. If you have multiple children, they can cost thousands of dollars once you factor in hotels, airfare, and other activities. You do not have to stop going on vacations, but in order to prevent high debt, it is crucial for families to create a vacation budget. They must know what they can afford and not spend a lot of money in the short term that they cannot handle in the long term.
Too Many Extracurriculars for the Kids
Every parent wants the best for their children, but some of these investments into your kids’ futures have heavy price tags. Between sports equipment, band instruments, tutoring, theater productions, or whatever else your child may be involved in, it can cost hundreds of dollars every month. Instead of committing your child to everything, find out what they want to try that’s new every few months or so and only pay for one or two things at a time.
Pets can be a wonderful addition to the family, but they can also be very expensive to properly care for. The vet bills, food, medicine, day care, and other essentials can also add up to hundreds of dollars a year if you are not careful. If you cannot properly care for an animal financially without going into debt or struggling to take care of the rest of your family, it might be best to hold off on getting a pet.
Not Checking Credit Reports
To maintain better financial health, the heads of a household should regularly review the family credit reports. By doing this every year, you‘ll be able to fix any inaccuracies. These may include catching any mistakes made by your lenders and clearing up charges that should not appear on your report, which can improve your overall credit score. A higher credit score offers many advantages. It may allow you and your family access to things like lower interest rates for credit cards and mortgages.
Not Maintaining a Budget
Perhaps one of the biggest and most common reasons families fall into debt is that they do not keep a proper budget. Food, clothes, school dues, extracurricular activities, vacations, and generally just paying the essential bills can be extremely expensive. Having a set budget, especially one with savings, is crucial to ensuring the family’s success. It’s also important to make sure to educate your kids about money management, so they learn these lessons too.
Plan for What Your Family Wants and Needs
We all want our families to be happy, healthy, and successful. The key to starting that process is to sit down and look at what you can and can’t afford. Be open with your significant other and your kids about what’s going on. Find ways to have fun and grow with each other that won’t break the bank!
Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers the latest developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, finance, law, real estate and investing, but she also enjoys writing about events, travel, and home trends.
If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Call 800-769-3571 to speak to a certified credit counselor.