Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Afford Six Children on One Income ~ Part One ~ Big Family Idea Bonanza Series

Yes, we only have one income. {This blog has yet to make any money.} And yes, it is possible to raise six children with that one income without eating beans and rice for every meal. J



The following list is going to sound like a lot of “We don’t have…” but we aren’t deprived in the least. What we don’t have we never wanted in the first place even though it seems that everyone else has it. J

Here are ten today, and another ten will follow on Wednesday.

No cable or satellite dish. We do have a DVD player and we do buy movies infrequently. These are usually purchased at Sam’s Club for less than $10. Movies can be borrowed for free at the public library.

Very few technological gadgets. It’s not that we have an aversion to technology. Quite the contrary. My husband is a computer science professor and we are very interested in the new developments. But we are not willing to take on monthly payments or debt to have what would be essentially a toy. We have a pay-per-month cell phone and, since just this past Christmas, an iPad, in addition to our older laptops.

No Caller ID or other telephone gimmicks. We pick up the telephone and say hello. Better yet, we answer emails and FB messages.

Very few magazine subscriptions. We have a couple of denominational subscriptions that have a nominal price. Most of our news we get on the radio or online.

No car payment. However, our van is twelve years old and the end is coming soon. We’re shopping around early, hoping to find something used yet reliable that we can buy with cash.

Limited eating out. We’ve never been in Panera Bread or Jimmie John’s. I have never been in a Starbucks save one time to buy a gift certificate. The last time we went to Cracker Barrel was over a year ago when we had a gift certificate. But frankly, I don’t feel deprived, and neither do my children. We bring home Papa John’s pizza or heat up corn dogs we’ve purchased at Sam’s Club for a fast treat.

The dollar menu when we do eat out. I don’t even know how much a Happy Meal costs, but I’m sure I don’t want to take out a loan to buy six of them. I love places like Cracker Barrel, but quite frankly, The Mr. and I can make food that good at home. Then the children clean up, and we don’t even have to leave a tip!

Brew coffee at home. We had a financial advisor refer to Starbucks (which he could see outside his office window) as a million dollar cup of coffee. If you take the money you may spend daily on Starbucks or a similar coffee shop and invest it over the next thirty years…you guessed it. A million bucks.

Shop Aldi for what we don’t get at Sam’s Club. It can be a little off-putting having to put a quarter in to get a cart. And some might be uncomfortable with bagging their own purchases. But the savings are definitely worth the sacrifice.

Shop the grocery store ads. When you find a good deal, such as Meijer’s 10-for-$10-get-the-11th-one-free, stock up.

See? No beans. J Hope to see you back on Wednesday for Part Two!







How do you save money? Or are we nuts to do without a proper cell phone?



Other posts in this series ~


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44 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I just laughed at the ALDI sentence.
    I'm fram Germany and here you have to put a coin to get a cart in EVERY supermarket and NOWHERE sombody ist bagging you purchase ;-))

    Greetings
    Salo

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    1. Thank you for sharing that, Salo! I had no idea. We have a supermarket here in the Midwest that not only would bag your groceries but also push your cart out to your car and load them for you. No surprise that they were the highest priced store in the area!

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  2. I loved this post! Yes. I am a stay at home. Been married over 17 years to my one and only hubby. We have 5 1/2 kids. I have never worked. I went to college two years prior to marrying, but it wasn't for me. We don't live on a bean and rice budget, though we do love them.

    I agree with Salo. I laughed as well because we lived in Europe for 5 years and we put coins in carts and bagged groceries. It can be quite flustering when you shop for more people than most Europeans have in their home. Yet, not a problem.

    We are similar in many ways. I would have to say my hubby has more gadgets than he needs, but I don't. I don't understand them. We don't have cable. We don't have a car payment. We don't have those silly gadgets for phones. We make our own coffee at home, with an occasional treat of starbucks.

    I don't really shop sale ads though. I don't normally buy the items on sale, so it does me no good. I try my best to plan a menu which helps to avoid too many items. I will admit, the prices at Aldi are great, but again, usually are things I don't normally buy.

    Thanks again. I look forward to the next one.

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    1. Love it, Rachel - 5 1/2 kids! That's a good point about sale items. We don't buy a lot of sale items, just the things we would want to buy anyway. It's not a savings if you're buying things you don't need just because they're on sale. So glad to see you here again!

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  3. Great list, I'm with you on most of them. But we live in a very nice town where you will find Meijer and Kroger, and more of the high end type shopping stores so I cannot make it seem sensible to drive 15 minutes to a discount store when I can honestly walk to meijer.
    We don't have car payments either. Hubby and I decided that as long as we weren't putting more into repairing our vehicles than we would be paying in payments (average $200 a mo) we would just keep driving and repairing. It helps that he can do a lot of the basics himself.

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    1. Yes, there will be some times when the convenience is worth it. I agree completely. And we're to the same point with our van. Repairs are still so much less expensive than payments. Love a handy husband! Thanks for commenting.

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  4. You know, Meghan, where there's a will there's a way. When I was in the child stage (now I'm in the grandma stage), I'd have people in my peer group say things like "I wish I had the luxury of staying home, but we need my income." I know there can sometimes be exceptional needs created by accidents or injuries, but the people saying this to me were usually just paying for the extras that my family did without. Staying home is more about values than income. I admire your frugality and commitment. Bless you.

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    1. Well said, Gail, and thank you so much for your encouragement. Many blessings to you!

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  5. My mom has been a stay-at-home mom for almost 22 years. My dad's a Lutheran teacher. I never felt like we didn't have enough. :)

    Now my hubby and I are full-time college students each with a part-time job. We work more in the summer, but funds are tight.

    We rarely eat out, we don't pay for cable (although we have a converter box and antenna with which we pick up four local channels). We have Netflix and that's cheaper than renting movies/TV shows.

    I cook from scratch. I rarely buy "new" clothes and when I do they're on sale (hello, Walmart clearance racks!). Our car was a gift, and it's in good shape so it doesn't need much maintenance. Yes, we are blessed!! :)

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    1. You're jumping ahead to Wednesday's post, Jaimie, with the clearance racks! :) Sounds like you're set, and when you are done with college, you'll be so glad you didn't rack up a lot of debt.

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  6. We're in the same boat! Although I do LOVE to eat out...

    I sometimes get so frustrated when people look at our life and say something about how they couldn't afford to stay home. We're so "lucky"! I just want to say, "luck has nothing to do with it!" I work hard at living within our means and we don't spend money on things we don't need. It's a decision to live differently than the world because we believe the trade off (mom staying home) is sooo much more important.

    Of course, I don't say that. I say something about how God has truly blessed us and we are very grateful. Also true, but not nearly as gratifying as the first option :)

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    1. Ugh...Katherine, I completely agree with everything you said! That is one of my biggest pet peeves. People refuse to admit that it's oftentimes an issue of choices rather than possibility. I always say something like, "We make a lot of sacrifices, but it's worth it and yes, God has blessed us" I, too, have to bite my tongue sometimes.

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    2. Oh Katherine, I love to eat out as well! I could easily go out a few times a week, and I'm sure I could get used to a daily Starbucks treat. Sometimes we begin to slip and then we have to summon our self-control again. Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Meghan, I completely agree! Love the frugal tips. It's all a matter of priorities and choices. I've had so many people see my budget, particularly for groceries and ask "How can you spend only $200/month on groceries and household items?" When I start to tell them things like, don't buy soda/junk food (except rarely as a treat), cook from scratch, don't buy convenience foods, don't eat out, etc...it's always "We couldn't give up those things because______________ (insert really lame excuse)." It's really laughable and sometimes so hard to bite my tongue.

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    1. I truly can't give up those things. Unfortunately my husband is not on the same page as me financially/nutritionally and would not be happy if I didn't buy his junk/convience food. I would love to not have to pick those things up at the store. It would save so much. Maybe one day....

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    2. It's incredible how expensive convenience foods are, and the more convenient they are the more expensive they are. We do keep some on hand (like the corn dogs) for those moments when we're out of time for whatever reason. The convenience foods can be cheaper than eating out.

      Amanda, they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Unless there's a real health issue, I'd keep making my husband happy. :)

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    3. Amanda, my husband enjoys those things as well, which is why I put in that I get them as treats sometimes. We kind of have a deal that I'll buy them when there is a good price and/or when there is extra wiggle room in the budget. I do understand that some things require both spouses and if yours isn't willing to compromise it can definitely complicate things.

      But if you can afford it, then there is nothing wrong with splurging :) I'm talking more about the people in lots of debt, and/or barely making ends meet. I do believe that at some point you have to be willing to sacrifice for the good of the family if it comes to that.

      (But, I understand keeping everyone happy...it's why we still have Direct TV! lol...hubby doesn't want to give up his sports.)

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  8. I could have written this post...we have much in common! I'm letting you know that I have been searching for someone (anyone!) whose blog I follow who is an Amazon affiliate because I have a rather large purchase to make and wanted credit to go to a "friend". I was thrilled to find the link on your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cheryl! So glad to have you here. I always enjoy your comments. :)

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  9. I love your blog!
    I work outside of the home, as a nurse/weekends only. We have 4 children ages 4-16 & homeschool. We are using every cent from my work to pay off some debts accumulated from poor financial choices & my husband's student/underemployed years. (On our way to be only a mortgage by 2015.) We don't live on beans or rice, either.I do make a lot of other choices.
    1. Bake all of our bread. Even gluten free for our 16 yr old.
    2. Hang almost all laundry (except sheets & towels) on racks in our basement. Make laundry soap.
    3. Make most of my cleaners & use microfiber cleaning cloths instead of paper towels.
    4. Cook all meals from scratch. (I can't trust a lot of pre-made food when it comes to gluten. Our 16 year old is Celiac & brittle diabetic. If he accidentally gets gluten, he can end up sick & need an ICU admission.)
    5. Prepaid cell phones for my husband & I. Everyone is long distance, so we do have an unlimited long distance for our home phone.
    6. Not all sales are for junk. Kroger just had tomatoes for $0.49/can, butter for $1.99/#. Eggs $0.99/dozen. Currently we are well stocked, I am restricting our grocery budget to bare bones so that I can throw extra $$ at paying off bills. (Just buying lettuce for my husband's lunches, pop for him, and dairy/eggs/produce as need. I made a menu for a month for every weekday meal & snack.)
    7. Only basic cable as entertainment.
    8. Few magazine subscriptions. We do receive the Sunday paper. The coupons (for toiletries, nuts, etc.) usually help it pay for itself. The $1/week is worth it.
    9. Almost never eat out. It's kind of hard to do when you can't be sure about cross contamination for gluten.
    10. No car payment. Our van is 10 & has 81,000 miles & the car -used by whomever is at work- has over 220,000 miles. Both purchased used.
    11. Shop thrift stores for most clothing & needs. I do use a Kohl's card (which is always paid off) when I have a 30% off coupon for things that we can't find. I shop the clearance racks there. My two younger boys wear the hand me downs from my oldest & whatever is worn out, gets replaced by sale racks & Goodwill.
    12. Buy off brand/store brands when it is the best choice. I get coupons for Meijer & Kroger in the mail to get any necessities from there & pair the coupons with sales. I use Sam's & Trader Joe's for bulk needs. (Trader Joe's has the best deal on gf pasta. $1.99 per # bag. )
    13. I would like to say that we garden, but we haven't had much success. I will try again this year using some seeds & seed starter set I bought last year but didn't use. The only thing that I would be out would be water and some time if the garden doesn't work out.
    14. We purge & donate regularly to Goodwill or NKS. This past year we were able to donate over $1000 of unneeded items & increase our tax return by several hundred $$ by keeping careful receipts. I just write down on the back of the receipt what we donated. (My employer does not take out city taxes so I like to get a return so that I can cover those taxes. It isn't wise to get too much of a return.) It is great to be a blessing to other people with our donations & to have a less cluttered home.
    15. Plan major expenses whenever possible. Two months of the year we each get 3 three paychecks instead of 2. We put any extra toward large purchases. I also have to work 2 holidays a year & pick up 60 hours a year for our busy time at work.
    The extra work is worth it when I look at our dwindling debt & think of the days that are ahead home with my kids. My kids say that they don't feel deprived & because we home school, we don't feel pressured to keep up with the latest fashions/gadgets or cell phones for our kids. They are learning what is really important in life -- family and faith-- from us, not the crowd or their friends. All else is temporary.

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    1. Wow, Diane! You wrote an entire blog post! :) So many great suggestions (and a few I had already planned for Part Two). Thank you so much for all your time and effort in writing all this out and for your kind words!

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  10. Great list! We follow a lot of these same principles. In fact, most of the times we eat out, I feel a little shortchanged, knowing that unless it's an fancy Asian restuarant, I can make the same dishes at home. We love taking advantage of free bday meals too! Just went and had free shrimp & ribs last week for Husband's birthday. Yum!

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    1. Free meals and restaurant coupons too! Sounds like you had a great meal, Jelli. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Meghan, this could be my list! I stayed at home to raise our {now grown} children and was always amazed at the 'We could never do that' remarks from other women. There are certainly circumstances whereby moms can't stay home with their children, but I've found with a little/a lot of sacrificing, in many homes, it can be done. My husband often says how thankful he is that I know how to find the best deals... Yep, that makes me smile!:)
    Thanks for visiting today!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

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    1. It does spur us on to increased frugality when our husbands are appreciative, doesn't it? I'm thankful we haven't had to do a LOT of sacrificing over the years, but we were/are willing to if needed. Thanks for visiting, Mary!

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  12. Ahh! Visiting from Time Warp Wife and my comment just got eaten! Oh well, great post!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

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    1. Thanks, Lindsey! If I knew how to fix whatever happened, I would! :)

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  13. No cable, no car payments - those are things we do, and some people just can't imagine living that way. But those are two of the easiest things you can do to save money. Really, read a book, take up knitting, there are a million other things to do besides watch T.V. And while I did have a car payment for the first year or so of owning this car, I paid it off as soon as I could, paying extra each month (I bought it as a single person, when I still worked outside the home). When it goes, we'll have enough saved to pay cash for a replacement. I know people who as soon as they get their car paid off start shopping for a new one. Doesn't the thought of $300 extra dollars every month instead of trading in a perfectly good car excite them?

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    1. We initially gave up television because we didn't want all that yuck in our home. We had an antenna and didn't pay a thing. But then TV went all digital and got more complicated and more expensive, and we were thrilled not to have that payment. It's absolutely shocking how much it can cost! Thanks for commenting!

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  14. Great ideas Meghan! I think that so many people say, "How do you do it? I never could", but they know how we do it and they are just too comfortable with their life. However, they don't know what they are missing without all of these things! It just makes everything a lot less complicated. My husband just quit his job. He made a very good living there, but the demand was just too much. He was never around. Although we will be making more material sacrifices, it has been so enjoyable to have him around more. Thanks for sharing this at Mom's Library! Pinning.

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    1. It's wonderful to have Daddy around! Yeah for jobs that allow husbands and fathers to be at home more! So glad you shared today, Janine, and thanks for pinning.

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  15. We do many of the same things, but only have one child (so far!). We only have one (paid for) vehicle and no plans for a new one. We are canceling cable for Netflix. We love Netflix- it's fantastic to have no commercials and to stream movies and t.v. shows instantly (or pause them because the baby's crying!). We don't necessarily only shop store ads, but we do stick to the meat that's on sale. We cloth diaper our daughter and that saves a ton of money. We live in the country so I limit driving to town to once a week at most. It saves money by saying on gas and not running to the store for just "one more often" (and coming out with ten) and I'm not tempted to buy things I don't need by window shopping. We also garden which gives us fresh, organic food for pennies and is great exercise. We are about to buy a few chickens for eggs and meat. My husband also hunts which provides high-quality, organic meat. We process it ourselves so that saves quite a bit too. I love saving my family money!

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    1. Some great suggestions! If I had it to do over again, I would try cloth diapering. I was so overwhelmed with motherhood in general I couldn't imagine rinsing out yucky diapers in a bucket every day. :) Now, though, with liners and velco closures -- definitely easier. And hunting...my husband has talked about taking it back up but just never has. It can be a great way to put inexpensive meat on the table. Thanks for visiting, Patrick and Emily!

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  16. Love this because we do all these things!! Thanks for your great ideas and hope!

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  17. My husband and I have 6 kids as well, and I get to stay home with them. We do many of those same things. It is refreshing to know that others do so many of these things. I loved this,thank you for sharing, and I'm excited to follow your blog!

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    1. Six is a great number, Kara! :) I'm so glad you found it encouraging, and thanks for reading!

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  18. Fantastic list, thank you. We only have one little hunny bunch on one income so I cannot even imagine how conscious you have to be a large family, I appreciate this post. Have have blessed day. Tara.

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    1. Oh stopping by from Women Living Well :)

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    2. Thanks, Tara, for visiting. I love your nickname for your child. That's what my mom and her brothers and sisters called their youngest sibling. Cute!

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  19. Really great and frugal ideas. I am hosting a blog link up and would love for you to come and join us. You can link up 3 different posts a week so come on over!
    http://countrifiedhicks.blogspot.com/2013/02/mondays-with-countrified-hicks-4.html

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  20. We have trouble affording Sam's Club. If I buy everything we need there, the amount of money spent is unbelievable. Then, I end up constantly being out of stuff and running up to the nearest WalMart. I have yet to be able to make Sam's Club "work" for us. Ever think of doing a Sam's Club post? We'd sure love to read it.

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    1. Hi Val! Thanks for asking. :) My Sam's Club post is here -- http://meghancarver.blogspot.com/2013/02/ten-reasons-shop-wholesale-club-big-family.html

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