This article was written by Karen Slunecka, former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Field Specialist.
When money becomes tight, the whole family can feel the pinch. You do not have control over some of the causes, (such as the recent snow storm, drought, flooding, fires, or other disasters), but you can work through it as a family. Parents can turn tough times into opportunities to increase communication. All family members can be involved in financial discussions.
A disaster often forces you to make rapid changes in your life. It can disrupt habits and normal routines. Every member of the family feels stress during this time. Try to keep your body healthy with balanced meals and get enough sleep.
Many people try to hide financial problems from themselves or family members, it is nearly impossible to hide financial difficulties from the rest of the family for long. Not facing up to problems prevents you from taking positive steps forward.
The entire family feels financial stress. Let them know the need to change spending priorities and make sure to involve all family members, regardless of their ages. What must the family have in the next week? In the next month? In the next two months?
Whenever possible, try to practice active listening, which is giving full attention to understand the feelings of another person. Living on a reduced income may be temporary or prolonged. Getting the most from family income during this time requires careful planning and wise spending decisions.