Recession-Lessons = Stronger Smarter Family (by Darah)

Image courtesy of MyEyeSees, via FlickrEverybody is pouting about the Recession and how it has negatively impacted their lives. I get it. Perhaps I am no longer moping since we were the Recession Pioneers; we actually began downsizing our lifestyle twenty-seven months ago, were “beaten beyond recognition” and now have only one direction to go from here- UP!

Nevertheless, our sulking time is long gone!

Being such “Seasoned Veteran Recession-ists,” our family’s coping methods have evolved over time; now they’ve become the quintessential Recession Survival Skills.

Here is a concise list of some “Recession-Lessons” learned that have unexpectedly enhanced our family life and continues to school our kids in business …

1. No brand loyalty. We`ve taught our children how to read product labels to understand the inherent similarities in same genre products. They are astute shoppers who have learned to favor whichever brand is on sale and to recognize store-brand items as a worthy opponent of their long-time favorites.

2. Less waste. We explain to the children that everything translates into money- including each time they idly throw their not-yet-dirty jeans into the hamper. Like little trained detectives, they`re sensitized to signs of dirt and odor prior to tossing it in!

3. Flourishing creativity. The kids all love to color, draw and do arts & crafts projects. They compete with one another to discover mediums of new and used materials throughout the house they can use instead of reverting back to their old ways of “Mommy, can you please take us to buy a pack of……”

4. Earning salaries. We provide a solid salary to our oldest children based upon the completion of specific required daily chores. They have the control to use the money at their discretion for their “little extras.” On family outings this system works particularly well as almost all the whining that typically goes along with a trip to the store or market has been eliminated.

5. Weekend quality family time. Because hiring a sitter translates into a small fortune, we opt to stay home with the children renting free movies from the local library, making our own popcorn, homemade pizza and ice cream sundaes. Alternative home-time entertainment includes: original singing and dancing performances, rhyming games, board games and elaborate imaginary play.

6. Packing the Supplies Knapsack. Prior to any outing; be it the pool, park, beach, or local youth museums where we enjoy memberships, everyone has a voice and a vote in what “goodies” are brought along. We have a large backpack designed for camping so entire meals including beverages are packed in an effort to prevent unnecessary spending “on the road.”

7. If you want it, YOU buy it. I encourage the children to take from their own savings should they want to make an impulse purchase. In the “heat of the moment,” when they remember how hard they had to work for their income, they usually opt to resist temptation and munch from the “backpack provisions.”

These are just a few ways the Recession has brought unforeseen wisdom, family unity, discipline and business acumen into our household. Our children are living the “Value of Money” Lesson daily and are maturing as they learn to plan, prepare, analyze and strategize with the income they earn via working diligently.

What impact has the Recession had on your family dynamic? Has it compelled your family to spend more quality time together? Have you and your children learned some good lessons from the “School of Hard Knocks?” Please share!