Paul and Wendy made the decision to share their bills with the children, who didn't understand why they couldn't buy everything they wanted. "I wanted them to realize it's a lot harder to stay solvent these days," Wendy says. "I wanted Zach to see how much we pay for the home that we live in, and when he first saw the mortgage bill, he thought it was a year[ly] payment." Thirteen-year-old Zach says he was amazed by how much the home costs every month.
To save money, every member of the family has had to make sacrifices. Instead of buying new clothes at the mall, 15-year-old Kaitlyn now shops at thrift stores with her mom...a change that wasn't well received at first. "When my parents first started telling me, 'No, we can't get it at the mall. Let's go to the thrift store,' at first, it sucked," she says. "When I see all my friends with these really expensive, newer items, it makes me feel poor, and it makes me feel a little angry because I grew up hearing yes all the time."
After seeing how much money is coming into the home and how much is going out, Kaitlyn says she's started to think more about her family's financial situation. "I've started to worry about what is going to happen to us next," she says.