Buying car seats and children’s accessories can be hard on a family’s finances. Especially if you suddenly find yourself in a situation that wasn’t accounted for. Be it because you had an accident or something else. Either way – for some people it can be an expense that is hard to save for or because it became a sudden expense that was not planned for – you might have had to borrow money.
I don’t generally post these types of posts, though they are very much in the ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Family’ category, they are not a car seat category or a safety category. But when I was approached with this article and I read it, I decided that it is indeed a very very useful article that I think can help many families and therefore it does fit in with my readers. :)
Generation debt, generation rent. Call it whatever you want, but there seems to be ample literature to suggest that millennials – and even Generation Y – are considerably worse off financially than those before them, with many headed for a lifetime of debt.
That said, debt is by no means exclusive to the young; especially in the UK, where average household debt is now in the region of £13,000, excluding mortgages. Whether or not we are a country living beyond our means is a debate for another day, but it’s safe to say that being in debt is not something anyone enjoys.
So, if it is something that affects you and your family, here are some ways in which you can begin to chip away, and carve out a path to debt freedom.
The 0% balance transfer
Credit card debt is the most common type of unsecured debt, and while these pieces of plastic may be a convenient way to spend, the downside is that if you are unable to clear the balance each month, you’ll likely get stung by high-interest charges. Yet for those stuck making minimum repayments on high balances each month, the good news is that there is a better way.
There are a myriad of credit card providers out there who offer 0 per cent balance transfers, whereby you shift your debt from one card onto another and are granted a window period – sometimes as long as three and a half years – where you won’t be charged any interest.
Sounds too good to be true, right? It isn’t, provided that you are confident that you can clear your debt in the allotted period. Because after that, you’ll almost certainly be hit with hefty charges once again.
Debt consolidation loans
If you aren’t confident about clearing your credit card balance in the required period as per the above, another option may be to simply make your debt cheaper. Debt consolidation loans are an increasingly popular option in this respect and don’t actually require much effort. In the current economic climate, interest rates are at record lows, and, as a result, taking out personal loans has never been cheaper. For borrowers, and especially those mired in credit card debt, this is great news.
When you consider that APRs on credit card debts tend to be upwards of 20 percent, while those on personal loans are a fraction of that cost, it makes perfect sense to take out the latter to cover the former, and thus leave yourself paying plenty less in interest as a result. It isn’t like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul: this is a legitimate way to reduce the cost of debt.
Prioritise debt in your finances
While the above two tricks are very helpful, ultimately the best way to get onto sounder financial footing is to look after your finances better. For starters, if you have any savings, these should be used to pay off debts. That’s because interest earned on savings will always be less than the interest owed on the debt.
But at a lower level, simply getting a handle on your income versus outgoings, and restructuring your budget accordingly, will help you get your head further and further above water. It may need a few spending sacrifices here and there, but often, once you get in a routine where typical outgoings are better accounted for, it’s not as painful as you may think.
It isn’t always easy when raising a family to keep costs down, and certainly, our natural instinct is to give as much as we can to our kids. However, in these uncertain times, a secure financial future for your family may well be the best gift of all.
This is a sponsored post.
Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.