We’ve gone through various periods of financial stability or instability in the house over the years; we’ve had times when were were literally living one month to the next, or more often than not, more like last month encroaching only to soon on the one ahead. We’ve had fortunate times where we’ve had a little more than we needed, perhaps even savings and times like now when we’re needing to budget closely each month and begin to cut back on activities, new clothes, shoes that aren’t essential and fripperies. I’d be a liar to say that we’re on the breadline, because we certainly aren’t but I’m more cautious than than I was in the past. I’ve learned my lessons about credit cards and spending next month’s money too soon, even if I have yet to learn the knack of saving for a rainy day
There are of course plenty of positives to being open with the children about financial pressures on the family, though I try not to worry them about it because I spent too much of my childhood frightened about money and I wouldn’t want that for them. But they are children of the credit crunch and so they understand that times are tough and they see in very real terms how the family money is earned. They know when the shops are busy or quiet and the affect that has on available cash. And then they are also environmentally conscious and aware of the cost of fossil fuels; over the last year they’ve become more in tune with the ideas of heating the house less, not only because ever fluctuating and increasing of gas prices, but because of the cost to the planet. I think there is going to be more of this in the future.
More than anywhere else, the place I feel the pinch these days is diesel. Although it isn’t possible to run a 7 seater on a low budget, I tended to content myself that at least the car is normally fairly full. These days though, with pump prices rocketing and our monthly cash needing to be carefully managed in order to still have occasional holidays and feed and clothe six people, we are genuinely cutting back on the places we go. I can’t afford to visit friends so often, or do days out so often and when we do, we really have to make the most of it, tick lots of boxes and make the fuel worth while. I miss just bundling people into the car for a night or two away or a hurried afternoon out. And I’m sad, life lesson worth learning or not, to be at a the point where the girls have to make choices now on what they do and cut back if they want to try something new.
Has the current economic climate changed your family habits much? Are you more conscious of how you use heat, or petrol or any spare cash? Have you got towards the end of what you can stretch to?