Thursday, August 21, 2014

How can families cope with stresses of a tight budget?

By VICKIE MOSS, Herald Public Affairs Editor | 11/11/2009

Even in good times, couples and families can be strained by financial worries, a local extension agent said.

When times are tough, even the best relationships can suffer, Rebecca McFarland, K-State extension agent, said.

Even in good times, couples and families can be strained by financial worries, a local extension agent said.

When times are tough, even the best relationships can suffer, Rebecca McFarland, K-State extension agent, said.

A lost job or fears that you may lose a job can spill over into other relationships. And the flip side — when personal relationships are difficult — the stress can impact a person’s productivity at work, McFarland said.

“We have to find ways to reduce stress,” McFarland said. “People say, ‘Oh, if we just had more money,’ but right now that may not be possible.

“Be proactive.”

McFarland offers tips to reduce stress and survive the economic crunch:

• Take control of your finances. Go through the budget as a family to find places to cut.

“It’s really important as a couple or as a family to sit down and talk about the issues,” McFarland said. “Don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it, but you can tell the kids, ‘This is where we are and this is what we have to do to cut down on expenses.’”

• Exercise. You don’t have to spend money by joining a gym — just go on a walk, McFarland said.

• Find a hobby. Activities you enjoy will take your mind off the difficulties, she said.

• Seek counseling. Many people let pride keep them from seeking help and guidance from a professional, McFarland said.

• If you are religious or spiritual, practice your faith or spirituality.

“Seek out those people who are supportive,” McFarland said.

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