*If I could get a nickle for every time I have had someone ask me "How do you afford so many children?" or "We would love to have a large family,but we just can't afford it" I would be able to raise two families*
The economy isn't at it's best,but it has historically been worse.
I find it sad that people are so heavily burdened financially that they feel having more children is unattainable.
There is a chance that with some financial modifications,it wouldn't seem so daunting to have another child to provide for
I have already addressed some of the financial aspects in two previous posts which you can find here and here....this time,I will dig a little deeper into where money goes/how we save and how the children have very little to do with it.
Keep in mind that I am still learning-some tricks I learned long ago from growing up in a frugal household,yet other things I have just discovered in the past few months.
Remember,some of these things may not apply to you or you don't find doable for your family...this is just what has worked for our family.
We have made our share of mistakes and received our share of ups and downs,but we keep learning-we are human-there is always room for improvement!
*Above all of these tips and tricks,I have faith in God to provide and sustain,so that impacts my outlook substantially.
I wrote more specifically about groceries in "What's in my kitchen that feeds a family of 6 for $450 a month" (I still only spend roughly $500 or less during an average month-it's rough to estimate when buying bulk foods that last a long time!)
I shop at Sam's Club and buy what I can in bulk-keeping in mind that larger volumes of food may not get eaten immediately,so I am careful about buying perishable foods from Sam's.
Things like canned goods,frozen foods,boxed goods are best purchased in larger quantities because they will withstand longer shelf life.
I try to purchase IN season fruits and vegetables as much as possible since they are cheaper during those times...Apples/Oranges/Potatoes are generally cheaper September-February,whereas Strawberries/Melons/Asparagus tend to be lower cost during the spring and summer months.
I do my best to only buy what we will eat and make it priority to consume it all quickly as to not waste any!
Keeping it around
I can and freeze many fruits and veggies in different forms in order to keep costs down.
We freeze corn/blueberries/strawberries and can green beans/tomatoes/spaghetti sauce/kosher pickles/apple sauce.
This year I hope to learn how to freeze peppers/onions/squashes for stir-fries in the winter months.
It's a bit of work,but really worth it in the end for home preserved food.
Making it stretch
Don't buy more than you will use.Freeze leftovers if they might not get eaten.Only make what will be consumed.Buy what will get you the most for your dollar....Sorry,Cheetos don't make the list of getting the most volume for your pennies.
Keep that in mind.
I make my own!!
I use vinegar,baking soda,occasional hydrogen peroxide,water,and essential oils-in various mixtures to create cheap and SAFE household cleaners.
I have ditched all chemical cleaners and air fresheners-no more toxins-and I don't need to buy them anymore!
*I haven't yet made the laundry detergent,but I'm working on it!
This can get tricky since we have a horse for a dog.No,we don't have a horse,just a dog the SIZE of a horse!
I buy his dog food at Sam's club,so I save over what I would pay for a smaller amount at a regular supermarket and he gets a few of the leftovers with his food.
*I am interested in a raw meat diet for our dog (he's a rottweiler) so if anyone is knowledgeable,comment telling me more!
I buy washcloths/dish towels/bath towels all brand new,but on sale-and I save the old ones for rags.
When possible,I buy bedding at the second hand store.
*The children use waterproof mattress covers and a pillow and blanket-this way their bed is protected and soft,yet if they have accidents we aren't stuck washing a full load of bedding.
We rarely use any paper products outside of toilet paper-and a few Kleenex during cold season.
I cloth diaper 95% of the time and we just switched to cloth wipes for baby!
The disposable diapers I keep around are purchased at Sam's club or store brand.
We don't use paper towels very often,just rags (old dish towels etc) or a wash cloth.
I get the trash bags at Sam's club and we try to repurpose boxes/dog food bags to put our garbage in.
*This year I hope to put in our own vegetable garden and begin composting.
Cash Flow aka BILL$:
We pay a mortgage.
And for the size of house we are living in,the mortgage isn't much more than most people pay for a house half the size.
It's well insulated and has dual furnaces-one upstairs and one in the basement which heats the main floor as well.
*My father was raised in a family of 7 children+ mom&dad in a dinky little house,less than 1500 sq feet.
Honestly,most people have to pay this whether they have none or a dozen children.
We have well water-so other than the pump running,no water bill.
We have electric...I try to do lots of cooking/baking at once to cut back on electricity going to oven use.We try to live in the dark-but because electric is outrageous and it has little to do with the children.
We have gas heat-and we wear warm clothes and do our best to keep the heat around 70-71 degrees.
*Our hope is to switch to an outdoor wood burner stove and do away with gas heat all together.
Again,something most people decide on with or without children.
My husband prefers to have basic television so he can watch the news and holiday programs-as well as occasional sports.
We have a basic Internet/cable package (I mean B A S I C) through Comcast-and we have Netflix.
We did away with our home phone service due to continued increase in monthly bills and opted for cell phones-one for hubby and one for me to have.
Our cell phones are NO contract and through Metro PCS.
*We have heard of very low cost home phone service-I will update as I know more,OR feel free to comment if you've heard of it!
Yes.We have debt
Even outside of our mortgage we have debt.
A car payment
BAD IDEA. (to which I will follow up on with a blog post in the near future)
It started with the idea that we needed to have an established credit score to buy a home.
So we each signed up for a credit card.
Then we *needed* a dryer,so we got another credit card.
Then a few offers came for credit cards,so we tried "just to see if we'd get approved"....and we did.
Then an injury/surgery/time off work.Those credit cards were used for groceries.
I'm not going to hide from the bad choices we have made-like many Americans who are in debt,it starts with a small snowflake and rolls into a giant bolder of snow and before you know it,"Kirsplosh!" You find yourself in the middle of the ocean of debt as a giant Iceberg.
DISCLAIMER: Our children didn't make our debt.Our bad decisions made our debts.
I have a blog post about this HERE.
We buy mostly used/gently used clothes or clearance clothing."Buy Used,Save the Difference"
And we are NOT ashamed...I think it's rather clever.
Clothing is rated as one of the top costs to having kids-next to housing and food,but it's really unnecessary to pay outrageous prices to clothe your family.I save any clothes that make it through each baby/child for the next child to wear.
Thankfully,I didn't grow up feeling pressure to dress a certain way or in name brand clothing.With my children being homeschooled,I doubt they will care either.
*And if they do,they are free to earn money to put towards more expensive clothing if they deem it necessary for them to have it.
The children and hubby receive haircuts at home by me...over the years I have gotten fairly good at it and they don't complain about how it appears.
I am blessed to have a good friend who is a talented hairstylist,so we get together about 3-4 times each year and she puts some highlights in and trims my hair.
*the money we save by doing haircuts at home MORE than pays for my hairstylist visits
That happens at home!
*And really doesn't cost anything.
I exclusively breastfeed,followed by babyled weaning-which is generally when they just eat whatever we are eating,so no expensive baby foods!
I use washable cloth diapers,nursing pads,and wipes.I also use mama cloth/feminine cup.
We pay for health insurance through hubby's work,but have been fortunate to not really need to see a doctor.
We try to take good care of ourselves and treat/prevent at home.
A few times a month we do get pizza or take out for the kids,but we've experienced periods in our life where we looked back at where the money went and realized "Fast food" SIGH.
It's not good for you,let alone even $20 per meal adds up!
Hubby and I make it a priority to have at LEAST two nights a month to just relax and spend time together.Usually we try to go out for dinner,but sometimes we stay in and have take out.We are blessed to have a close friend who babysits for a small fee-but I highly recommend if this isn't an option that you trade babysitting with another family!
Kids really don't need much to be happy....too many toys and they just get overwhelmed or the toys get ignored.
Our children probably have too many and I find myself sorting through them on a regular basis to "thin them down"
The quality of toys has become very disappointing,so we are settled on the "less is more,quality is better than quantity" mentality.
Again,quality has become a concern when we spend our money on something that only lasts a few months.
Is an iPad really necessary?A new cell phone when the old one works just fine?
I believe we all have wants and desires for "nice" things,but happiness isn't in *things*
We have gone through our share of electronics-most haven't lasted-and I feel that we won't be investing our money in much-other than maybe a nice camera down the road (though the one I currently have does the job)
All baby gear rolls downhill.
Cribs,car seats (provided they aren't expired and haven't been involved in accidents),swings,bathtubs-all get reused.
We are learning to do our own-hubby is fairly skilled at plumbing and auto repairs,and we do all of our own home repairs that are within our skill level.
We ask for help and advice from friends and family who are experienced in areas that we need to learn in-education doesn't have to be bought or even sought in a formal setting-it can be learned through those that are willing to share their knowledge,and often through trial and error.
To sum it all up....
Kids really aren't the expensive part of raising a family
Lifestyle choices are.
- You don't need a car that entails a monthly payment-you CHOOSE it.
- You don't need high end brand new clothing-you CHOOSE it.
- You don't need an ultimate satellite package-you CHOOSE it.
- You don't need that speaker system in your car-you CHOOSE it.
- You don't need pre-packaged pre-made meals-you CHOOSE them.
- You don't need a new TV-you CHOOSE to buy it.
- You don't need credit cards,data service on your cell phone,to eat out every night....you make those choices...
And those are your choices to make-just like we've made ours.
It was our choice to have credit cards.
It was our choice to have a car payment,to eat out 3 times last week,to buy that thing that we didn't need.
Money.We need some to live,but I think it's unfortunate that we choose to need *things* to live.
I hear all the time,other women pouring their hearts out about how they have a deep desire to have another child,but they *can't afford it*
We all make decisions,and I can tell you that in many cases MONEY isn't what stops people from having more children.Unrealistic ideals or just plain preferences is what stops people from adding to their family.
Better choices about money goes a LONG way towards providing security for your family.
Every little bit counts.
It's about deciding what you really want.
I am willing to learn to be more self sufficient,more frugally minded.
I trust God to guide me towards making the best choices and providing for our family.
I am not an accountant and I am well aware that not all financial situations are equal.
I have been at the bottom of the bank and barely afloat at times in my life....in general,most people do with more than they need-and that is their choice.If adding to their family is what they would love to do,there are ways to do it.
And sometimes,you're just done having children....it's not my place to question what you feel is best for your family.
Also,check out Youtube for videos!
DIY natural cleaners
Again,check YouTube for many tutorials and DIY tricks!