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Kids & Finance: The Economy In 2009

You may have heard it on the news, read it in a paper, talked about it during your class’ current events session or overheard your parents worrying about it: it’s the economy, and right now, all over the world, it’s not doing too great.


A bad economy like the one we’re experiencing worldwide right now can have some big effects on adults, kids and families. If the current economy is affecting you or your family, there one important thing to keep in mind: you’re not alone.


Many Families Making Changes

Lots of families are having money troubles these days. For some, it may be felt in small ways, like going to the movies less often or using more coupons at the grocery store. But for other kids, money problems are causing bigger changes, such as a parent taking on a second job or the family having to move to a different, less expensive house.


This can be hard because kids usually like everyday things in their life (school, home, friends, weekend activities) to stay the same. Grown-ups are often that way, too. Kids also like treats. Who doesn't? But money problems can mean fewer treats and other changes. For instance, if your mom gets a second job that can mean she's not at home as much as she usually is.


If money problems are affecting your family, it might help to understand that lots of people are having the same trouble. Sometimes, money gets tight because something happens to just one family, like someone getting sick or someone losing a job. But the kind of money trouble going on right now is happening to many families. In fact, if you watch the news or read a newspaper, you'll see stories about it every day.


Gas Prices, Loan Troubles

Two big things have happened in the past two years: The price of gas went up a lot and a big problem occurred with loans that grown-ups get to buy houses (these are called mortgages). Higher gas prices make it more expensive to drive places and might be why your family isn't going on many long trips. Some grown-ups who used to drive a car to work are now taking a bus, train, or riding a bike (which is nothing to be sad about – it’s better for the environment!). Gas prices also make everything else more expensive. That's because a lot of things (food, toys, drinks, clothes, etc.) get taken to stores by trucks or trains that use gas, too.


The problem with home loans is more complicated. The end result is that the monthly payments that people make on home loans have become more expensive than some people can afford. And because of that, some banks are going out of business or being sold to other banks.


Banks loan people money to buy houses. If adults can't afford to pay these monthly payments, the bank has to sell that home and the family will need to find another place to live. Anytime a kid has to move it can be tough, but it would be especially hard if a family was forced to move.


Money Problems Affect Everyone

Money problems are adult problems, but they can affect kids. A kid would naturally be concerned if his or her family has money problems, but kids don't need to solve those problems.

That doesn't mean you can't help out, though. Sometimes it helps to try to be very grown up and not complain or get too upset when you can't have something you really want. If you need to get some complaining out, you might write it down or talk to someone who will understand, like a big sister, grandparent, or school counselor. You might also create a wish list of items you'd like to get when things are better, or at birthday or holiday time. When you want something, write it down. Next to it, write how much you want it on a scale of 1 to 10.


Mom & Dad Stressed Out

When grown-ups worry about money, it can come out in different ways. Some people seem tired, upset, quieter than usual, or are more likely to yell. Sometimes, parents argue with one another about money troubles. It's great if you can try to talk with your mom or dad about what's bothering you. If you can't talk to them, try to talk with someone. Usually, talking things out makes us feel better.


It also helps to remember that times will get better. House prices and gas prices go both up and down, so what's bad now is probably going to get better down the road. In time, the grown-ups that care for you will find solutions to their money troubles. Being a creative kid can make things a little better right now. Try these ideas if you need a boost today.


Find Free Fun!

What if you're bored and broke? Here's a list of ideas to get you started on your free and low-cost fun!
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • Go to a park in your area that you've never been to.
  • Be a guest chef and cook a low-cost, but yummy, dinner for your family (spaghetti or rice dishes are usually cheap).
  • Have game night for your friends or family. For a change of pace, play old-fashioned board games instead of video and computer games.
  • Make it movie night at home with a DVD and homemade snacks.
  • Visit free museums or visit them on days when it's free to get in.
  • Make a collage or create a scrapbook of favorite photos. This makes a great gift!

  • Related Stories:

  • Volunteer: Ryan’s Well
  • Product Placement
  • How To Save Money
  • How Can I Make Money?
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