Back when the parents of today's preschoolers were deciding to have children, the world was a much more successful place -- or so it seemed. The United States had come out of the post-Sept. 11 recession and people were buying houses, enjoying success in their jobs, and having fun. Then the economy began to tank and job loss because the norm. Phrases such as sub-prime mortgage and foreclosure entered the everyday vernacular.
These days, with friends, family and neighbors experiencing first-hand what it's like to lose a job firsthand, parents are left to figure out ways to ensure the happy, carefree childhood they envisioned for their preschoolers, toddlers and infants is secure.
Financial expert Cheryl Ingber of JustAnswer, says that it's important for young children to have life be as normal as possible. "Young children should not have to feel any difference in their day to day lives, and shouldn't 'want' for anything. If they need new clothes, new shoes, etc., that should be provided, even if the parents need to reallocate their budget or forego other things; however, new toys and other items that are not necessary to the child's well-being, don't necessarily need to be bought at this particular time," Ingber said. She suggests refurbishing old toys to give them new life.
However, if a child does ask about money matters, then parents should be honest, but basic in their answers. "They should phrase what needs to be said, in the simplest of terms, while acknowledging and being empathetic to their children's concerns. Reassure them that even though there are economic problems being experienced by our country, their particular/personal situation will most likely remain the same. They can be told something like: 'people are working very hard at their jobs to make money for their families to pay for important things like their houses and food and electricity and you don't have to worry about that. Mommy and daddy are taking care of that for you and when you're old enough, you will have a job and earn money to take care of your family," said Ingber.
Other moms have taken to services like The Grocery Game to help them save. Additionally, trimming the fat in a budget -- entertainment, lattes, etc -- is a way to cut back. But when it comes to high oil bills, families are just stretched to the bone.
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