Coronavirus leads parents into debt, LendingTree survey finds

56% of parents have gone into debt during pandemic

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The coronavirus is taking a toll on parents’ wallets, according to a new report.

On Tuesday, LendingTree released the results of a survey of 1,005 parents of children under the age of 18 and how the coronavirus has impacted their finances.

The survey found that 56 percent of respondents said they are in debt because of the “added financial strain” of the coronavirus.

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About 40 percent added credit card debt and 15 percent had to take out a personal loan, according to the survey.

Another 36 percent of parents tapped into their children’s college funds for assistance, the survey found. However, 15 percent of respondents said they don’t have a college fund for their children at all.

"The truth is that even before the outbreak hit, most Americans' financial margin for error was tiny," Matt Schulz, LendingTree’s chief industry analyst, said in a press release. "That means that even minor changes can have a major impact on the family budget.

“Then, when you consider how many parents are dealing with job losses or medical problems while also struggling to make sure their kids stay on track with school, it makes this time even more challenging financially.”

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Some of the additional expenses that parents have had to cover include spending for their children’s distance learning and gaming systems to keep their children entertained, LendingTree found.

According to the survey, 48 percent of parents spent money on iPads and laptops while 15 percent spent money on office furniture.

On average, parents spent $1,018.50 on distance learning, LendingTree found.

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Overall, 31 percent of parents said the hardest part about the pandemic has been working from home while watching their children. Meanwhile, 19 percent said managing their child’s distance learning was the hardest part, and 18 percent said dealing with the financial strain has been the hardest part.

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Survey respondents did get some help from the stimulus checks from the government as part of the CARES Act.

According to LendingTree, 82 percent of respondents said they got a stimulus check, and 37 percent said they would use the check on groceries.

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