Explaining the Financial Crisis to Kids

Shannon wrote a great post over at BlogHer about talking to kids about the financial crisis.  Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask you what your family is doing to cut back.  ARE you cutting back?

We certainly are.  I choose not to watch the news, personally.  I prefer to subscribe to the philosophy that ignorance is bliss.  My husband, however, sends me emails every day with links to news articles and suggestions for cutting back our household expenses. 

We have reduced our monthly phone bill (the land line) by cutting back on services and using the cell phone more.  I also went with a cheaper cell phone provider when my term was up last spring. 

I’ve been trying to make cheaper meals and shop from the clearance bin in the meat department at my local grocery store.  I plan my meals around what’s on sale.  And I try not to buy unnecessary snacks.  My husband packs his lunch every day, as does my son.  The kids aren’t doing extracurricular activities this year. 

We’re trying to avoid cutting back on our cable TV.  We have talked about cutting out our gym membership as well, but I do use it and with cold weather approaching I know I won’t exercise outside.  I’m having a hard time letting go of either of these guilty pleasures, but as I told my husband yesterday, I’ll give up the gym before I give up cable.  After all, a girl’s gotta have priorities.

I get really anxious about the state of our economy if I think too much about it, so I try to work hard at my design business and shut my mind off to the negativity.  That’s really all I can do, anyway.  Well, that and practice responsible spending habits.

So far my kids haven’t asked about it, but I have explained to them that money is tight and we can’t have a lot of extras right now.  They seem to accept that.

In her BlogHer post, Shannon quotes Melissa Schorr of MSNBC.

“Teach kids that everything in life is cyclical — and that goes for financial markets also,” says Donati.

I think this is key for everyone to remember, especially those of us prone to anxiety.  This too shall pass, and while we need to be cautious and responsible, panicking and worrying about things we cannot control will do no good.