Tips for Parents Who Are Struggling Financially

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Much of today’s parenting advice addresses parents who are well off or at least reasonably comfortable with their family’s financial situation. What if your family isn’t in a good financial place? Many of us have been struggling, and the Covid-19 crisis is not making things much better. How can you be the best parent you can be when you don’t have enough money?

Keep a record of your financial status

It’s hard for most of us to keep records of how much we earn and how much we spend. The more trouble we have financially the less likely we are to want to spend time making budgets and tracking cash flow – why punish ourselves when we know there’s not enough money coming in? But when you are on the edge, tracking your financials is even more important than when your cash situation is good. Although fewer than 30% of Americans use a budget, it will help you to do a basic budget. You can do it on paper, on your home computer if you are able to afford one, or on the computer at the public library. All budgets basically employ four steps: record daily spending; record income; subtract spending from income; figure out ways to reduce spending or increase income. Even if there’s more going out than coming in, you’ll be more in control if you know how much you’re short. Ignorance is not bliss; you need to know where your family stands financially.

Take advantage of free activities

Just because you are short on cash doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Most towns and cities offer free activities for individuals and families. If you can’t afford internet and a computer device at home to search for them, become a regular at your public library or local college library. Look in the newspaper there on the rack. Use the computer to search for fun things to do. Ask the reference librarian for help. If the first librarian you ask is cold and unhelpful, don’t give up – it’s not you; it’s them. For every negative person there’s a positive, kind one who wants to help. Try not to be afraid to ask.

Tap into government assistance

It’s ok to ask for help when you need