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Three solutions for families with money problems

Updated on May 29, 2016
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Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.

Prevent a foreclosure from happening to you.
Prevent a foreclosure from happening to you. | Source

Does it seem like no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead when it comes to finances? If you’re saving pennies and cutting corners but still struggling, you’re not alone. For many households, one unforeseen event could push their financial standing into ruin, making bankruptcy the only option or resulting in a foreclosure. If you’re concerned this could happen to you, there are extreme ways to address money problems. While these three options aren’t for everyone, their preparations and payoffs are worth considering.

Option #1: Become a One-Car Family

Meaning: Are two adults in your household driving a car? Make that number only one. Sell one of your cars.

The Preparation: Unless you live in a city where taking public transportation is the norm, it will be an adjustment. One-car families work as a team in this endeavor. This might mean that the Missus drives to work while the Mister takes public transportation or vice versa. In other cases, if the Missus is a stay-at-home mom, she’ll need to carefully plan errands such as doctor’s appointments, supermarket runs, lunch outings with friends or time spent volunteering. If walking to a destination isn’t possible or practical, car sharing – a form of car rental - can be an option for times when a second vehicle is needed.

The Payoff: You’ll save tremendously on car payments, insurance, gasoline and maintenance.

For More Information: Read up on How to Live Well Without Owning a Car.

Using public transportation can be a cost-cutting measure.
Using public transportation can be a cost-cutting measure. | Source

Option #2: Eliminate Extra TV Channels

Meaning: If you’re in dire straits and you still have cable or satellite dish, look at your bill and see the cost. What’s an alternative use for those funds? Getting out of credit card debt? Paying off a medical bill or student loan? Saving for the proverbial rainy day, if it hasn’t already arrived?

The Preparation: Contact the service provider and cancel your service. Decide what you will do instead of watching TV. Will you read, garden, sew, cook from scratch, or crochet? Will you play board games, write science fiction, lift weights, run or volunteer? Find fun ways to enjoy yourself as individuals and as a family without cable or satellite television. If you can't completely pull yourself off the TV - and most of us can't - an Amazon subscription and Fire TV stick is loaded with lots of TV shows, so look into the price of this and see if it will be cheaper than your current service.

The Payoff: Aside from saving money on the cable or satellite bill, there will be some other payoff depending on what you choose to do with your time. You might become an amazing artist, a skilled chef, an unbeatable Scrabble opponent, the next Rachael Ray or Guy Fieri or have enough sewing projects completed to start your own business. You might also find that your family becomes more connected without the distraction of TV.

Option #3: Skip Vacations

Meaning: Yes, it’s unpleasant to suggest that your yearly vacation to the beach or mountains be cancelled because you were going to pay for it with a credit card. However, considering how much longer you’ll be paying for it because you don’t have the cash to fund it, which will leave you feeling good for a longer amount of time?

The Preparation: If it’s too late to cancel the vacation you’ve booked, so be it. Pack, have fun, take lots of pictures and enjoy it. Plan now for how you won’t overspend while you’re there. If you can cancel something that you had planned to pay for with a credit card, plan a staycation. Yes, it won’t be as fun as going away, but consider how awkward it would be to have to explain to your kids why creditors keep calling, or worse, why you’re being kicked out of your house.

The Payoff: Financial peace; money guru Dave Ramsey coined this phrase. He’s a bit harsh and out of touch with the average Jane or Joe so if you’re seeking an expert opinion on the joys of saving money, listen to what Suze Orman has to say on the topic.

Do you think you'll try any of these options?

See results

© 2013 erinshelby

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    • erinshelby profile image
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      erinshelby 4 years ago from United States

      There's definitely a cost to the comfort of a vacation to consider against the comfort of other things, if a family is in that tough position. Thanks for stopping by, Ceres.

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      These are good possible solutions to help save money. Skipping vacations can be disappointing but if it would help to save money, then it's a good idea to consider doing so. The staycation would surely still be fun if the whole family can spend it together and enjoy themselves.