Parental Crunch

Given the current status of our economy, I can't help but think about the trickle down effect that the high prices of food, gas and housing is having, and will increasingly have, on children. For many parents, those at the lowest income levels as well as middle class, providing for a family is becoming increasingly challenging.

So what is a parent to do? How can you maximize your dollar while still putting food on the table, paying the rent or mortgage (and utilities) and getting to work?

Suddenly, being frugal is an extremely beneficial skill to have. If you were brought up in a home where using coupons, comparison shopping, canning and gardening were done, today you have a leg up in keeping costs down for your family. But what if you are used to eating out every night and buying whatever strikes your fancy at the grocery store? Then you have a lot to learn.

Fortunately, there are many resources to help anyone learn how to pinch a few pennies in their budget (which, if you don't have a budget, any mastermind miser will tell you that having and sticking to a budget is a first step must). Articles such as Making Creative Budget Cuts to Combat High Food Costs are a good start. E-newsletters like The Dollar Stretcher share tips for how to save money in multiple areas of your home and budget. In addition, your local library has multiple resources to help build your financial literacy and planning skills.

Whether in the grips of a recession or if you just want to be more economically minded, finding ways to save money is a smart course of action for everyone. It makes me think about classes like Home Economics or Family and Consumer Sciences and how many of those skills that we thought we'd never need or use, may now be budget savers.

I'd love to hear what you and your family are doing to save money as costs rise. I know that there are some creative budgeters and spenders out there, so please- share your wealth of knowledge!