Despite the sacrifices and shrinking savings, Wendy says the economic crisis is one of the best things that's happened to her family. "It has brought us closer, in a way," she says. "Kaitlyn and I go to the thrift store together now. She likes it, and so that's spending time."
Wendy says they also rent movies now instead of going to the theater, which gives them more time to talk at home. "I think it's taught all of us, including my husband and I, that it's not the material things that matter," she says.
Since they started tightening their belts, Paul says his family feels more united. "Instead of hustling all different directions—Kaitlyn to her friends, to the movies and [asking for] money for that—it's scaling back," he says.
Kaitlyn speaks for many teens when she says the new spending restrictions "suck." "I mean, you're used to getting everything you want, and then, all of a sudden it's gone," she says.
Though Kaitlyn and Zach may get angry and frustrated at times, both say they've enjoyed spending more time together as a family.