Any parent, thrifty or not, will tell you… Raising a kid ain’t cheap. A recent study showed that the average cost of raising a child in 21st century Britain is a whopping £230,000. As the cost of living rises exponentially and a national housing crisis is leading to an increasingly unsustainable housing price bubble, most parents face a difficult balancing act just to keep their heads above water. While our baby boomer parents were able to pay off their mortgages by the time they were 40 and enjoyed the kind of job security that many generation-xers and millennials can only dream of, the deck is stacked heavily against modern parents.

In this financial climate, leaning on debt and credit is not the financial irresponsibility our parents told us it was, it’s practically a necessity. While the odd credit card and overdue utility bill can be manageable, it’s easy for debts to spiral out of control (however noble our intentions). There comes a time when no amount of thrift can dig you out of the hole of parental debt. Here are some effective ways to manage it, before it starts to affect your children.

Supplement your income

Many parents also work full time so the idea of taking on extra work may seem like anathema to you. Fortunately, there are many quick and easy ways for busy parents to make a little extra money with very little time or effort required. The world of digital apps has made it easy (and, dare I say it, even fun) to make a little extra money on the side while doing our day-to-day shopping. Be sure to take your phone with you on your next shopping trip and you’ll be surprised at the pocket money you could make as a mystery shopper.

Retailers are desperate for market research data and they’re more than willing to pay for it. Their need can be your gain. You can make money using an app like Field Agent; which assigns you 10 minute tasks to complete as part of your usual shop in exchange for credit.

If you can… Always consolidate!

Not only can multiple debts lead you to pay more than  you need to, they can also be unnecessarily damaging to your mental health. Juggling numerous debts with different interest rates and deadlines can be extremely stressful. Check out for some examples of how you could consolidate your debts. Merging them into a single monthly payment not only ensures that you won’t be paying over the odds in interest rates, it also makes the debt more psychologically manageable.

Be clever with credit cards

Credit card debt can be an inescapable yoke around your neck if you don’t know how to box clever with interest rates. But with a little know-how and a smidgen of effort, they can be your lifeline in the event of unexpected costs like a leaky roof, a broken down car or non functioning oven. The trick lies in capitalising on cards with attractive introductory interest rates and moving your debt around between different cards to ensure that you don’t accrue unnecessary interest.