How to Pay Off Debt When You Have Kids- Intro

Thanks to an awesome email subscriber (Thanks Kristen!) I was given the idea of posting about how to pay off debt when you have kids, or are expecting a baby. Either way, kids most definitely complicate the debt payoff process. But, it can be done and in this 4 part series, I’ll give you some practical tips on how to make it happen for YOU and your family!

People think, sure, it’s easy to pay off debt when you don’t have kids to think about. Anyone can do that. But how do I pay off debt when I have kids to take care and pay for? Kids are stinkin’ expensive! I mean, look at this research from NerdWallet:

I’m here to say, that babies DO NOT have to cost $21,000 – $51,000 in their first year. Really.

We didn’t even start our debt payoff journey until I was pregnant with our second child. Our oldest had just turned 1. Needless to say, I was NOT about to spend $21,000 of our income on a baby! I was hell bent on paying off that debt!

So, after about 15 months of pretty intense debt payoff, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd. Talk about a blow, right to the gut. It felt like all the hard work and long hours and sacrifice had been completely wasted!

I cried hard that day. Hard. Sam, on the other hand, hugged me, talked about his excitement about another baby…

And then promptly called Dave Ramsey for some advice.

At this point in our journey, we still had about $50,000 to pay off.

Dave’s advice was, and still would be, to save as much as possible during the next 9 months. To only put minimum payments on all the debts and take all your extra income at the end of the month and put it into a savings account. This is solid advice.

It allows for a solid cushion in case anything happens during labor and delivery. It gives you enough cash to pay for all the regular labor and delivery expenses. It takes the stress out of being out of work for 8-12 weeks without an income. And allows you to just enjoy your time with that sweet-smelling bundle of squishiness, without all the stress of worrying about how you’re going to afford it, that you’re NEVER going to be out of debt, and on and on and on.

After we had our sweet, fat, healthy, “A” and brought her home and I spent 12 weeks home with her and my other 2, we took any leftover savings (minus the $1000 emergency fund) and put a huge chunk towards our debt. What a glorious day that was!

While all of this answers the practicalities of how to manage paying off debt when you’re pregnant, there are so many more questions that arise once you bring that sweet thing home! Do you find yourself asking these questions?

  1. What baby equipment do I actually NEED?

  2. How do I spend as little as possible on diapers? Those things are expensive!

  3. How do I manage childcare once I have to return to work? Gotta pay off this debt so then I can be home when I choose to be!

  4. Does my baby need extracurricular activities? Will she be dumb if I don’t socialize her? Will she ever be able to play an instrument if I don’t start her in baby music classes? Will she be able to do a somersault, EVER, if I don’t put her in baby tumble classes?

  5. My friend’s baby is already talking, walking, rolling over, etc! Is my baby OK?

And that’s just the baby stage.

I’ll also address topics like:

  1. How to plan birthdays your children will LOVE and not break the bank!

  2. How to have a holiday season your kids will always remember and not have regret AND an enormous credit card bill come January! (I have already posted about how to celebrate the 4th of July and stay within budget here, and how to create a holiday budget here – if you’d like to get a jump on things!).

  3. How to change your mindset around what kids require to be happy, fulfilled, healthy and living their best selves.

  4. How to live a minimalist, simple lifestyle with kids in the house!

  5. What age, which ones and how many extracurricular activities should my kids be a part of? And how do I afford them?

  6. How many toys do my kids need in order to feel happy and fulfilled?

  7. How do I talk to my kids about comparing themselves to their friends that have bedrooms overflowing with toys?

This will be a month of breaking down mindset issues and really digging into what’s important for you and your family to feel fulfilled, happy and living the best version of yourselves! 


There were many tears during my journey. Heck. There still are! It’s tough, humbling work to figure out what’s important for you and your kids.


Get ready to live with intention, live from your values AND start finding money to put towards paying down debt! Because when you decide that you’re no longer willing to blindly sign up little Jack for soccer lessons because every other parent in America is doing it, you’ll find more time and you’ll find more cash. It’s a win-win.

I’m SO excited. Thanks again Kristen for the awesome idea. Feel free to get in touch in the next few weeks and let me know if there’s anything else I should add to the lists above. I’m open to suggestions and would just be so giddy if I could make this series as valuable as possible to YOU!

I’m totally cheering for you!


DebtOlivia Zurawski