Last updated at 07:29

Chat: Has your family had to change its spending?

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Hayley meets a family struggling with money problems

Money has become tight recently for lots of us and in the UK, over 3.5 million kids are living in poverty, meaning their families don't have much money to go around.

In the clip above, Hayley meets a family who have had to use food banks to provide them with meals when times are hard.

The government's promised to help families who are struggling by cutting or freezing some taxes and giving them more free childcare.

They also say changes they're making to the benefits system will mean three million households will soon be better off.

But right now there are still families who are finding it hard. Hayley's been to meet 12-year-old Chantal who's in this position.

Her dad can't work because he's not well, so they're getting by on around £190 of benefit money they get a week.

This has got to pay for food, rent, bills and all the other essentials, and they sometimes find it hard to make ends meet.

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Chantal and her dad are finding it hard to pay for everything they need

We asked you whether your family has had to change its spending habits too.

Your Comments:

"I live in the Rep. of Ireland and things are worse here than in the UK. Everyone has cut down on everything and prices are really high. We've never been very well off so Christmas has never been mad but we still have fun. I feel sorry for people in the UK because the benefit money in Ireland is higher. I hope that things get better everywhere."

Hannah, 14, Galway, Ireland

"I didn't ask for much this Christmas, so it saved our family a lot of money."

Camilla, 11

"My family has had to cut down on treats."

Khairah, 10, London, England

"I didn't get a lot of presents this Christmas, but I still had a great time with my family, so I don't mind."

Natalie, 12, London, England

"Wow, I now realise that I don't appreciate things!"

Kirstin, 12, Kent, England

"We've had to cut down by doing things like taking our own drinks to places, instead of buying them there, and taking packed lunches rather than having school dinners. I don't mind because a lot of my friends are doing the same!"

Maya, 9

"It has affected my family quite a lot, we didn't get many presents for Christmas. My friends haven't been affected - they can go on holidays, get presents and more new clothes. It annoys me as they boast about it."

Holly, 12, Kent, England

"My family have been affected , but not as much as the people who you have shown. I am grateful for that. I hope that the people who are suffering manage to pull through and beat the recession."

Sophie, 13, Manchester, England

"My family have had some issues with presents this year and in general we have not bought as many little treats."

Natasha, 12, West Sussex, England

"I find it annoying, because you want to help those who need money, but you can't because of your own family money problems!"

Maddy, 12, Cheltenham, England

"I do not think that children who are playing on computer games can be living in poverty. Poverty is about not having enough food and a warm place to live."

Georgette, 9, Chelmsford, England

"I have changed my spending a lot, at school my Mum gives me £2 to spend at lunch (I only spend £1.40 or £1.60 sometimes). Some other people do not care how much it costs."

Ghulam, 13, Birmingham, England

"We've had to hit the bargains and sales a bit more, and I am spending less money now, but never mind, I have food and the money's being spent wisely."

Amy, 14, Worcestershire, England

"I think that changing the taxes, so we have to pay more money, is not a good idea. There are some families who aren't even struggling but are now going to struggle."

Annie, 13, London, England

"My family are finding it very hard! There's 6 of us and sometimes our Nana comes for tea. We've had to cut back on a lot of toys and things. I can't go to town as much now either."

Ellie, 14, England

"I feel that my family is hit by the recession a bit. We are trying to save more money and only buy things that are essentials and we need in our everyday lives. I hope that other families that are affected will get help to help them get back on their feet."

Sophie, 11, Gloucestershire, England

"I am one of the lucky people who hasn't been affected by this situation too much. However, I was wondering if the BBC can talk to the government again and suggest the idea of getting young children involved? This can be done by going to local schools to raise awareness of this situation."

Amina, 13, Cardiff, Wales

"My family have done well in 2011 but we've learnt a lot about people that haven't, it's very sad."

Ewan, 12, Northumberland, England

"I think the money troubles are doing the country good as it makes communities and families pull together and help one another."

Faye, 12, Lincoln, England

"People moan a lot about not having enough money, but me and my Mum cope pretty well, even though she is a single parent and at the moment we have to rely on benefits. We can't afford flashy presents, I have never been abroad on holiday, but we always pay the bills and have nice food and I have most of the nice things my friends have too.

If I ever have lots of money I wont be mean to people who are poor because usually it isn't their fault."

Zoe, 10, Suffolk, England

"We used to be quite well off until my mum and dad split. My Mum' s been trying to get a job for over a year now and has so far failed. But me my mum and sisters are very happy at the moment!"

Katie, 10, Leicestershire, England

"I hope the government will help as many people as they can."

Molly, 12, Leeds, England

"My mum works but our house is freezing as we can't afford the price of fuel. My mum struggles to pay for my bus fare to school, I can't text my mates because she can't afford to give me the credit."

James, 13, Manchester, England

"I've noticed that we are buying less but this Christmas during the sales we have bought lots!"

Imaan, 11, London, England

"My family haven't been affected but I know some who have and it makes you angry, in a way, because nobody deserves this!"

Amelia, 13, West Yorkshire, England

"Me and my family have begun to shop in different shops which are cheaper, but I'm better of than a lot of my friends, which I'm thankful for."

Ella, 10, Lancashire, England

"The recession has impacted many in society. However, it's made me think more about other countries that have lived in poverty before this crisis and how much more we could have done to help them. I've realised I should appreciate what I have and haven't got."

Emma, 14, London, England

"The recession is bad in Ireland but my family is doing great actually! My dad has to go away quite often as his job is abroad. But money wise, my family hasn't really been affected. I hope the recession ends soon though!"

Louise, 12, Ireland

"I think that the government has a lot of work to do due to millions affected. Our family is actually finding it a bit easier now as now supermarkets understand what's going on and have become cheaper."

Lawand, 11, London, England

"My mum's losing her job and now we can't afford much at all. Everyone else I know is getting on fine which makes me sad. Looks like we won't be going on holiday this year."

Laura, 13, Birmingham, England

"My family are not doing that well financially, but we have the right amount of money for things. I feel so sorry for the people who are affected, but our school does some donating to the food banks so I hope that helps."

Lauren, 11, Kettering, England

"My Mum encourages me to sell my old toys I don't play with very often on the internet so that I can buy or save up for the new things that I want. I also donate some things to charity to help others who can't afford them. I know that this helps other children, so I'm doing my bit to recycle & help the planet."

Sasha, 10, Norfolk, England

"My Mum and Dad had to borrow £500 from my bank to help pay their mortgage. Also, for Christmas I got a guitar which didn't work, so I had to wait until the 7th January to get a new one because we couldn't afford it."

Livi, 12, Kent, England

"I think Christmas was actually better this year because it wasn't all about the presents and I think I spent more time with my family."

Chloe, 11, Wales

"The recession has not affected my family as much as it has affected my friends' families which I'm grateful for as some of my close friends have had to cut down on a lot, especially around Christmas."

Parul, 13, London, England

"My family are actually doing quite well at the moment, especially at Christmas. I guess we're not affected by this but I hope that the families who are affected will be able to get back on their feet again."

Nicholas, 12, London, England