Spending money on non-essential items, such as hobbies and trips out, may not be necessary but it can help you to keep a sense of normality and give you a lift when you need it the most.
Entertainment on a budget
It's not easy keeping children and siblings entertained during long hospital stays. Being stuck at home can be tough too, so it's a good idea to think about some alternatives to make things easier that don't cost too much more.
Laptops, games and gadgets can be expensive, but there may be some grants available to help with the cost of laptops, so do check with your CLIC Sargent care professional, or by calling us on 0300 330 0803.
It's also important to take time to go out with your other children, or to arrange for other family members to take them out if you aren't able to.
Top tips for saving money
Why not give the cinema a miss for a while and visit museums, art galleries or free gigs instead? You could also take your own food or bottles of tap water if you want to reduce the costs of eating out.
Always look online first for discount deals on family days out - you may be surprised what bargains you can find just by printing out a voucher. There are lots of websites available that offer daily deals on everything from eating out to tourist attractions.
There may be more of a chance you will need to eat out more than usual during hospital stays. Ahead of booking a restaurant table, check online to see if there are any deals available. If you have a smart phone there are a number of apps you can download that will list thousands of great deals all across the country. Some will even make the booking for you.
TV and films
Try switching your monthly television package to Freeview. This way you only have to pay one fee per year and not monthly bills. Your television may already have Freeview installed so if you have extra boxes that you aren't using, you could sell them to get some extra cash.
If you have an existing gym membership but it is no longer possible to keep it up, most gyms will be able to offer you a way out of a contract due to special circumstances. You may also be offered the option of 'freezing' your membership. Make sure you don't cancel your direct debit without letting them know first or you could be in breach of your contract.
You could consider alternatives that better fit into your lifestyle, such as going for brisk walks. Alternatively you could try an activity where you can pay per session such as swimming, or looking up a local exercise group. There are also lots of free exercise videos available on YouTube, from aerobics to yoga.
If you have young children that need entertaining, and you have friends and family that have offered to take them out while you go through treatment, get in touch with your local council and find out what free activities are on offer in your area. This could also include libraries for story time, nursery rhymes or simply to borrow books, DVDs, music or magazines. You can either search online using the events guide or visit the main reception for more information.
Remember, if your child has a lowered immune system (neutropenia - where the body has abnormally low levels of certain white blood cells) it's best to avoid crowded places, to reduce the chance of infection.
Updated July 2016, next review due 2017.