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Think Back to Home Ec in Order to Deal with Debt

In March, an article published in the Globe and Mail showed that the amount of personal debt in Canada had reached an all time high and suggested that it was time for Canadians to be financially vigilant. Canadians, however, don’t seem to be heeding this call. In fact, the percentage of Canadians who report feeling stressed or concerned about the amount of debt they carry has actually decreased recently. Canadians also don’t seem to be cutting back to avoid debt options. In fact, polls show that many across the country continue to spend money dining out at restaurants, eating out for lunch, and opting for expensive, pre-made meals at the grocery store. Studies also show that 53 per cent of Canadian families do not have a family budget in place in order to guide their spending.

If you are looking for ways to cut back and find debt relief in London, the answer may be to revisit lessons you were taught in middle school and high school. If you are a baby boomer, chances are you were required to take home economics education in school. Although the notion of home ec class may seem a little outdated, this curriculum featured some important lessons on running a home and making smart financial decisions that still have merit today. Here are three time-tested home ec tips that will help you cut back, save money, and possibly even avoid the need for formal debt options.

Plan your meals

Meal planning is a great way to keep food costs down, avoid debt problems and keep your family healthy. Although it may seem like a lot of work to plan your meals for the entire week, there are many online tools and resources that can help you accomplish this task. The Eat Right Ontario website, for example, includes a weekly menu planning template, sample menu plan and other great resources to help you get started.

Plan and prepare 

Perhaps surprisingly, 43 per cent of Canadians admit that they rarely cook their family a meal at home, meaning many Canadian families rely on expensive meal alternatives that could be leading them to debt and the need for debt options down the road. Preparing a home-cooked meal is an excellent way to save money and avoid costly alternatives. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with your family.

Follow a family budget

Managing household bills and expenses is far easier when you have a budget to follow. Your budget is an important tool that allows you to plan ahead and helps you stay on track when you are tempted to overspend. If you don’t currently have a family budget in place, you can create one using a simple budget spreadsheet that allows you to record all your fixed and variable expenses. For a more high-tech option, you can also utilize various budgeting apps, such as Mint, that allow you to track and monitor your spending and expenses digitally.

Do you remember attending home ec class in school? If you are part of the millennial generation, chances are you missed out on home ec class, as mandatory home economics education and lessons about comparison shopping, opening a bank account, preparing a meal, and balancing a chequing account  have all but disappeared from our schools. Unfortunately this means that students are less prepared for their futures as a result. Perhaps it time to bring home ec back to our classrooms.

How do you plan to cut back in order to avoid debt? Share your tips and tricks with BDO London using the hashtags #LetsTalkDebt, #BDOdebtrelief

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