A parents fear is not having enough money to keep the heat on or water. Basic utilities is something a lot of us take for granted. Lack of running water, electric and heat is quite common in other countries.Sometimes even in this country when jobs disappeared and benefits ran out.
I've been there, might be there again some day. I can offer this advice only.
Keep the roof over your head as long as you can without going under.BEFORE you get to that point, ask for help, moving in with friends, family, even strangers was common during the Great Depression.
You don't have to have internet, most libraries now have this service if it's your only way of connecting to family and friends. You can also apply from jobs there if needed.
You don't have to have cable(satellite) television.You can go digital or even without completely and just borrow DVDs/videos (yes I just showed my age). I didn't have a television for over a year when my children were young,drove my parents and brother nuts over it , later in years they realized a side effect of this. My children love to read and they can use their imaginations. If your children need to watch something on television for school(let their teacher know you don't have cable, believe me you are not alone) then ask a schoolmate or friend, family member if they can watch it at their place.
You don't have to have a cell phone and you can get a house(or a cell) phone for 911 calls only for very cheap.There are a few cell phone companies now offering limited services for very affordable prices so if you are spend $$$ you should check in to this now.We cut our cell phone bill by 2/3rds and have the same things we were using with the old service.
You do have to have water and sewage.You do have to have refuse (trash) hauled away. You do have to have electric (especially if you are in the country and have a well that uses a electric pump).You do have to have heat, not necessarily propane, nature gas or electric...but some kind of heat that is SAFE. Using your oven or toaster oven for heat is NOT SAFE.I will admit I have used the oven...to a point, cook a meal in the oven and leave the door cracked open to cool down in the morning or night or both.I have also cooked on top of a kerosene heater (with a window cracked at all times).
One of the running jokes (which regretfully did happen) in our family is there is no sense paying the cable/internet or the heat bill if you don't pay the electric to run the items( like the computer,television or furnace in the winter) to begin with. There is no sense planning on flushing the toilet or taking a shower if you don't pay the water bill. Try cooking without water for a couple days and you will understand.
Want to understand better what I am talking about, turn your main breaker off and go a few hours.I have done this once every season to make sure I am prepared for outages or storms that can wipe the basic utilities out.
Next..what is there left to do?