Family Money Troubles

Family Money Troubles

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Devon, 17, is used to paying her own cell phone and car expenses. But lately it's been harder. The family she babysits for hasn't been calling as much and she couldn't find a job over the summer. Devon's dad says it's a sign of the tough economy. He told her he's feeling the pinch, too, and that he had to dip into her college fund to pay the mortgage.

These days it's hard to avoid news about the economy. Turn on the computer or TV and words like "recession," "foreclosure," and "unemployment" fill the screen. It can seem a bit scary — and some families are hit really hard.

But as discouraging as things may seem now, the good news is that the economy always gets back on track after a while.

How Does a Difficult Economy Affect Families?

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For some people, the slow economy means eating out less or staying home instead of going on vacation. Parents may not have as much money to put toward allowances or college funds. For other families, though, money problems mean bigger changes, such as a parent taking on a second job or the family having to move to a less expensive house.

When a family has money worries, it's easy to get frustrated and upset — and if you feel that way, you're far from alone. Parents also might be more stressed out than usual. They might argue more and worry about how to pay for things.

Naturally, this can put extra stress on you, too, especially because parents' money problems aren't something you have any control over. But although you can't solve family money troubles, you may find that contributing in some way helps you feel better.

What Can You Do to Make Things Easier?

It's comforting when our lives and routines feel the same, so it's natural to feel worried if things change.

Here are some practical and emotional survival tips for dealing with a tough economy:

Finding Entertainment on the Cheap

Being creative helps you feel good about yourself at times when life isn't going as you planned. And coming up with free ways to have fun gives your creativity a chance to shine.

Some ways to stay entertained are obvious: Go to the park, ride a bike, take a neighbor's dog for a walk, volunteer, or cook dinner for your friends or family. But why stop there? Think of this as a time to challenge your imagination:

Eventually the economy will turn around. When it does, you'll be well equipped to deal with any other challenges and difficulties life throws your way!

Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD
Date reviewed: September 2011

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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