Every family can have times when they’re struggling financially. What exactly struggling means to your family can vary, but whenever you have less money than what you feel you need to live comfortably, it can be difficult to carry on as normal. If you have to start spending less, it could have an effect on your family life. Your kids might start to notice that things have changed, and your mood could be affected too. You don’t want financial problems to tear your family apart or even affect you much at all if possible, but how can you try to keep things as normal as possible?
Don’t Let Money Problems Affect How You Treat Your Family
When you’re struggling with money, it can get you down. You might be spending your time worrying and getting frustrated about your circumstances. But whatever happens, it’s important that any financial issues don’t affect the way that you treat your family. It’s not fair to take things out on them, so make sure your problems don’t become theirs. It’s important to have an outlet for your emotions, so talk about your financial issues with your partner or whoever else can be there for you when times are tough.
Find Affordable Ways to Spend Time Together
If you need to tighten your belt, it often means you can’t do some of the fun stuff that you might usually enjoy as a family. But having fewer days out doesn’t mean no fun at all. You can still enjoy yourselves as a family, even if you don’t have as much money to spend. There are things that you can do at home and even cheaper ways to get out and about as a family. From family games nights to bike rides and family walks, there’s no need to stop having fun just because you can’t spend as much.
Be Open About Financial Issues With Older Children
Younger children don’t have much of a concept of money and finances. However, older children and teenagers are capable of understanding when there might be some cash flow problems in the family. Not only can it be helpful for them to know and understand, but keeping in the dark might not even be possible. They’re often more perceptive than you think. Of course, you don’t have to reveal all of the dirty details about your finances to your children. But it’s worth talking about what’s happening in age-appropriate terms and how your kids might be able to help out.
Get the Right Legal Support If You Need It
Separation and divorce are common reasons for financial difficulties. If you’re helping to maintain two homes financially, your funds could be stretched pretty thin. It’s helpful to have the right legal advice and support if you want to keep your finances from taking a plunge. You might want to look into hiring a child custody attorney if you want to work out the thorny issues of custody and child support payments. It’s important to work out a situation that suits everyone as much as possible, and ensures your children are put first.
Make Tightening Your Belts More Fun
Cutting back on your spending and changing your household budget doesn’t have to be boring. While counting pennies isn’t exactly thrilling, you could turn it into a fun activity for all the family. Make it a game to spot free activities and find savings on everything from groceries to things to do. The whole family can actually enjoy looking for ways to save, and the rewards that you can get from spending and saving smartly.
Use the Opportunity to Teach Financial Responsibility
You can even use your financial circumstances to teach some financial responsibility to your children. It’s a good opportunity to look at things like budgeting or saving so that you can give your children some vital skills for the future. It could be the right time to teach them about saving their allowance or how to get the most out of their money. If they’ve never had to think about money much before, it can be interesting to see whether they’re naturally good at being financially responsible or whether they take a bit more encouragement.
Agree a Family Budget
Your children might appreciate being involved if you need to create a new family budget. They could have a certain amount of input on your daily spending, or you can discuss the budget together so that everything is clearer for them. Maybe they can suggest things that they’re willing to compromise on to help the family save money. You could even try doing some experiments by trying some cheaper brands of some of your most used products and deciding which ones you want to swap to cheaper items and which you would rather keep as your favorite brands.
Emphasize the Importance of Other Things
Although money might be tight, it’s important to emphasize the fact that it there are other things in life that matter too. You might not want your children to want for anything but it can be beneficial for them to begin to understand that money doesn’t buy all of the good things in life. They can learn that there are still plenty of ways to enjoy themselves and have fun without the things that money buys them, like lots of treats or expensive days out.
Another way to make sure you can pull together as a family when your finances are on the rocks is to try and discourage too much materialism, especially in younger children. By limiting their exposure to adverts, you might find that their wishes and wants are much more simple. This is an especially good idea before Christmas or any other event where they would ask for gifts. You might discover that their attitudes are easily changed and they soon become less materialistic, helping you to save money.
Things can change if you’re having financial problems, but it doesn’t mean that your family life has to completely change too.