The only way that most lower to lower-middle class families can make it these days on one income (with mother in the home) is to live debt-free. There are a few things you need to do to get started with debt relief. Get rid of the credit cards. Resist the temptation to use check advance services. Make a list of all interest accruing debt from smallest to largest (or most interest) bills. Make a list of all monthly utilities such as gas, electric, mortgage, rent, etc. If you can live without the extras such as internet, cable, cell phones... get rid of them for a while. Make arrangements with hospitals, clinics, and collections for the ammounts you can reasonably pay. As long as you are paying something every month, no legal action can be taken against you. Start attacking your mountain by paying a little bit to everyone. As you pay off the smaller bills, add the money you were paying to the one paid off, to the next bill and on to the next. Soon, you will be paying more to the bigger bills and watch them go down faster. Keep in mind, the interest on those larger bills. Don't let it get ahead of you if you can.