I do not mean for this to sound picky. You stated you had 5 children ‘living at home.’ Are they all HS and younger? I say this because I know a lot of people having financial problems still have adult children at home. I bring it up because the term ‘living at home’ struck me as a little odd. I mostly hear that speaking of adult children.
If they are still HS and younger then I have nothing more to add at this time, however..
If any of them are HS graduates 18 years and older, then this is a prime time to teach them about finances. They need to pitch in, anyway they can, whether helping pay bills from their job, watching the younger ones as suggested earlier or finding somewhere else to live. I know this is harsh, but parents do their grown children no good letting them live at home totally free. Especially if the parent(s) are in a financial crisis.
Every situation is different and every child is different but all can pitch in. Whether it be doing laundry, making simple and easy dinners, keeping the house picked up and things like that. Little things that can keep stress levels down at home so that the parent can face the challenges that the day is bringing. Some second jobs can involve the children like delivering newspapers (a job one of my sons’ did when he was 13) and certainly ebaying/garage selling can include the children in pricing, sorting etc.
If the kids are in elementary school they can still pitch in but I realize that it may limit the effectiveness of how much can be accomplished.
I am just saying, don’t discount the effectiveness of involving the kids, even if they are little. Plus, I think that if you do involve the kids, this will help alleviate fears as you will be showing them that you are working together as a family toward a common goal.
Then again, I could be wrong. Just wanting to offer some additional solutions to someone in need.