By Janet Simons
Friday, March 1, is almost here, and the possibility of settling America’s budget crisis without plunging over the fiscal cliff grows less likely with each passing moment.
Tough times demand tough decisions. Here are a few that might help you keep yourself and your family solvent, healthy and whole when the going gets tough.
•Start by adjusting your perspective. Talk to your kids about the differences between “wants” and “needs.” Learn to say “no.”
They’re good kids, and you want them to be happy. But they’ll be happier in the long run if they understand the word “enough.” The Rolling Stones said it best: “You can’t always get what you want. But, if you try, sometimes you can get what you need.”
•Keep yourself, your family and your relationships healthy. Crises are expensive and extremely damaging.
If you’ve ever gone through a serious health crisis or a divorce, you know how they drain both your bank account and your ability to cope with life. If you haven’t, count your blessings and do everything in your power to keep anything bad from happening.
•Help your children learn from the past. America has been down this road before.
If you know someone who went through hard times and is comfortable talking about them, invite him or her to dinner and see if you can bring the conversation around to his or her experiences. If no one is available, check out books and movies that focus on hard times. For young children, the American Girls’ “Kit” story is good. School-age kids will enjoy Five Little Peppers and How They Grew or Little Women. Teens should be able to handle reading The Grapes of Wrath and/or watching the classic John Ford movie on DVD. It’s tough stuff, so be sensitive.
•Practice and teach thrifty habits.. Ask the kids to help you look for printable grocery coupons from ShopAtHome.com and print them out.
At the supermarket, make hunting for products that match the coupons into a scavenger hunt game. For example, the child who comes back with the most matches can choose a small toy or some candy or gum or have the privilege of riding shotgun on the trip home.