Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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

Benjamin Franklin was right ~ a penny saved is a penny earned. And eventually, all those pennies add up. As some of you touched on in the comments to Part One, another terrific reason for frugality is to save money to pay off debt or to build up financial security no matter how many children you have.




Hand-me-downs. Friends and family have given us bags and boxes of their gently used children’s clothing. I also save all of our children’s clothing for the next child.

Thrift stores for clothing. As many of you have experienced as well, we have found a lot of great clothing at our local thrift stores, and I doubt most of the people who know us can tell. {Although they’ll certainly know now, won’t they? J}

Sales and clearance racks for new clothing. When we do shop new, we always buy on sale and then with another discount if we can swing it. Better yet, we buy end-of-season clearance, just nothing trendy that will go out of style. Then, when we pull it out of the closet when that season comes again, it’s a thrill to have something new.

Limited mall shopping expeditions. We only go to the mall once or twice a year. Both the fashions and the people there can be so odd, though, that it's not a hard place to avoid.

No haircuts for the girls and DIY haircuts for the boys. I bought a $25 pair of Wahl shears at Sam’s Club several years ago. None of our three boys have paid for a haircut, and The Mr. says my haircuts are as good as he got at an old-fashioned barber shop before we were married. Now if I could only get him to pay me…. J

Free/reduced two-year college degree. As an employee benefit, a two-year college degree will be free for all of our children at the community college where The Mr. is a professor. But I'll put in a plug here for community colleges. They often provide an excellent education at a fraction of the cost of a four-year school, and credits typically transfer. Plus, depending on your financial situation, financial aid may be available through the college.

Additional college on a budget. For more schooling after the first two years, our children will live at home, we’ll feed them, and they’ll drive their used clunkers into campus for their classes. Better yet, many classes can be completed online, saving gas, insurance, and clothing expenses. (College in your bathrobe!)

No unnecessary or name-brand items. I don’t spend money on baby items like Boogie Wipes when a regular wipe will do. I also buy the Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart/Kroger brand as much as I can.

No pets. I’m allergic, so that’s a pretty good reason already. But pets are expensive. Veterinary bills, food, toys, grooming supplies including toothbrushes and toothpaste, various accoutrements. I can see a lot of learning opportunity with a pet, but I can’t justify that expense at this point in time.

Picnic lunches. Whenever we visit a museum or the zoo or just take a car trip, we always take our lunch.








Should we keep going with other money-saving tips? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.


Other posts in this series ~


If you're enjoying this series, don't miss a post. Let's stay in touch!





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32 comments:

  1. Pets are expensive. Sometimes we fall into the trap that we need the companionship for our children. Or that it's educational. The novelty wears off and there you have a neglected animal.

    I strongly believe I am allergic to pets too. I had a attack of allergies the other day cleaning a rabbit cage that hadn't been changed in over a month. Uck! Then the dog...well, sweet things she is comes into my kitchen and I don't like dog hair. So, the last day, (I said no more)she has been confined. She is so confused. I feel badly, but I just don't know what else to do. When you start finding hair in your clean dishes and on your meal, you start saying no more. Ew!

    I like your list. IT's great. My oldest has decided to stay home and do correspondence when the time comes. She is legally blind, so won't be able to drive. I am trying really hard to encourage them to apprenticeship.

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    1. Some people find a lot of companionship in their pets, and that's wonderful as long as they can afford it. With six children at home all the time, I'm not really lacking for company. :) But hair in the dishes? Blech! Thanks again for commenting, Rachel!

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  2. great tips!

    i have shopped at thrift stores
    since i was in high school
    and now my 4 kids love it too

    and since we homeschool
    we plan to do some dual enrollment credits
    before the kids finish h.s.
    to save on college credits

    we have also looked into
    tuition-free schools
    a little bit
    but we feel the community colleges
    are fantastic options to save money

    {alison}

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    1. I completely forgot about the dual enrollment credits! Yes, you're so right. A high school student can take community college classes and they'll count for both high school and college. What a head start into college! Thanks, Alison, for the suggestion.

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  3. I just came over from a blog hop and love your site!! I spent all of my breakfast looking around. ;) I came from a really big family and we now have three kids, so I love stuff like this. ;) I'm sure you'll "see" me again!

    Carla

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    1. So glad to have you here, Carla! Your site looks great! :)

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  4. I find so many good-quality clothes at thrift stores that I really find it hard to pay full price for shoddily-constructed clothes at (for example) Wal-Mart.

    And if I had my own college education to do over, I would defnitely go for the community college option for the first two years. I would have saved so many thousands of dollars that it's embarrassing.

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    1. Finding good quality clothing for a decent price is the trick, isn't it? That saying "You get what you pay for" is so true. (Except at the thrift store it applies to the person who bought the garment the first time.) If we save money but get something that falls apart in a couple of washings, then we've still wasted money. Excellent point!

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  5. I have been thinking about the pets. We have pets, and the dog is useless. But we have two cats that are priceless for pest control, and well worth the money we spend on their food. We live in the country, and if we're without cats for a little bit, the mice try to take over.

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    1. I'm so glad you came back and left another comment. I didn't think to clarify about the pets. If they serve some purpose such as security (dog) or mice control (cats), then they would be worth it. If we lived in the country, one of my first things to do would be to get a good mouser. If we lived in a dangerous area, I would get some big dogs with big teeth. When I was a child, we had a dog and two cats, and they were just house pets. If the money is there, then enjoy the pets. But if finances are tight? Interesting, but still expensive. Thanks!

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  6. These are wonderful tips! Since graduating college, getting a part time job and slowly paying off school loans, I'm just starting to learn about budgeting and always looks for new ideas to save. God bless!

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    1. I'm glad it was helpful. Hope to see you again, and many blessings to you in your frugality!

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  7. I have loved your series. I give hair cuts too. Long hair for the girls saves money too. College Plus for our daughter has saved lots of money. Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home this week.

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    1. I've never heard of College Plus, Judith. There certainly are lots of options. Thanks for the suggestion and the link-up!

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  8. Love this! We barter, haircuts, baysitting, piano lessons, etc. And instead of paying for preschool we particpate in a co op. We make milk last longer with powdered milk and hang dry clothes. Saving for those rainy days and avoiding debt is key!

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    1. I can't find many people who are willing to barter anymore, but I love the idea. Some great suggestions, Danielle. Thanks!

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  9. Great ideas. I only have two children a girl and a boy but as my sister-in-law pointed out to me there are some items that can still be handed down such as tennis shoes. Instead of buying pink shoes for my daughter I buy white which then my son can wear later. Also, in regards to no name brand items. I also say no clothes with characters such as Dora on because you can pay double for the same style shirt as one without Dora simply because the shirt manufacturer has to pay a licensing fee to Dora creators.

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    1. Definitely a good idea on the shoes. Snow boots, snow clothes, mittens, hats, etc. as well. We buy basic black or some other color that will work for both boys and girls. Great ideas! Thanks for visiting!

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  10. Maybe you should do a big bucket list of things people don't need, or what to do to save money? Love these suggestions! I need to remember to pack a lunch when we go places. It just seems like it takes so long to get out the door that by the end of it, I do not feel like making a lunch :) Thanks for sharing at mom's Library!

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    1. I'll admit to cheating a bit on that one, Janine -- my husband likes food prep and he usually makes the picnic lunch while I fix hair, check the diaper bag, tie shoes, etc. Maybe make it ahead?

      Bucket list? Yeah. I'll work on that one. So glad you commented!

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  11. I would add don't spend money on fancy homeschool curriculum if you can do it for free or cheaper and don't just automatically figure on kids going to college. Encourage children to think of businesses they'd like to open that don't require a 4-year degree, and they'll be working and making money before their peers even graduate. None of our daughters will go to college unless it's out of boredom. They are planning to be homemakers, and will do the Lord's work until they do marry. If they don't marry, they may then decide on college or more missions work. But, they will work their way through college just like their parents did. No need for mom and dad to go into debt.

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    1. Definitely no debt, Val! Great suggestions about options other than college. Thanks for stopping!

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  12. Just curious but do you use cloth diapers as well?

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    1. We have never cloth-diapered, just because of our ignorance of all the options. I really don't know if they had all the neat and easy products in 1999 when we had our first, but we watched my brother-in-law and his wife cloth diaper with plain fabric diapers and pins. What a chore! If I had known then of Fuzzi Buns and products like that, we definitely would have cloth-diapered. Now, uncertain of whether there will be more, it just didn't seem like it was worth the investment. Thanks for asking!

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    2. Yes, cloth nappies (I'm from Australia) have come a long way, I used flat nappies with snappies and pilchers for our first few kids (first was born 1998). So glad to be able to use modern cloth with the two I have currently in nappies - so easy and we save thousands of $$$$ over the cost of disposables. No real folding, just 2 - 3 extra loads of washing per week for two babies!! They are also sooo cute, be careful not to buy too many - or the savings will be less. Klecia.

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  13. AMEN to your comments about community colleges. They are easily the best educational bang for your buck around. I studied nursing at a community college known locally for a very competitive and tough program. I graduated with the very same RN as those who graduated from private schools or state universities, but many of them left school with substantial student loan debt. God bless good community colleges!

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    1. Amen, Victoria! (Especially since that's our bread and butter.... :) )

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  14. I just found your blog today, and have enjoyed going through your archives. I agree about community colleges: though I found most of my classmates to be unmotivated, the teachers are good resources. And a two-year degree is currently the one with the highest return-on-investment over a lifetime. A Masters barely pays itself back in terms of higher salaries; a Doctorate never will.

    I will say about the pets -- you're right about the expense. If we had truly known how much it would cost to maintain our large-breed dog, we never would have been able to justify getting him as a puppy. But I'm so glad we were ignorant. God has used him to teach us so many things, and to stretch us (in my case especially). If you're willing to put the work into them, they're never useless. But if you're getting a dog specifically for protection or guarding purposes, get a full-grown animal who's been trained for it. You can't know if a puppy will grown into those instincts or not, and protection dogs need very particular and experienced training. A half-trained or badly-trained protection dog is a horribly dangerous creature. (Just in case you ever move to the country. :) )

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    1. You're spot on about the community college. My husband is a professor and a "good resource", but most of his students are unmotivated and simply don't take advantage of what's there.

      Great advice on the dogs, too. Thanks for commenting!

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  15. I was reading a post on a saving forum the other day where the woman was upset that her rent was going up close to $300 a month due to them having 2 cats. That is well over $3000 a year just because of the animals that hubby refuses to get rid of! That doesn't even include their food, etc. This same woman has already told us of the many problems with their budget on top of having a disabled husband--and they won't give up their cats. I can't fathom it!

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  16. Your blog is so helpful for moms like me who are always on the lookout on ways to save every penny. Hand me down clothing is not a problem with me, I also shop on consignment stores and found clothes of good quality. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I'll be looking forward for more tips from your next blog.

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  17. I know you said no animals but what about farm animals. Right now we have a outdoor cat that pretty much feeds herself, two outside dogs, and 8 chickens. The dogs only come in when the weather is below 0 and thry only stay in the entry way. We did have 10 chickens but we lost two recently to really cold temps we got here in Michigan. We were planning on goats and meat rabbits too. I was just wondering what you thought. My husband wants more children (right now we have 4 ages- 5, 4, 21 months, and 6 ½ months) I keep telling him we can't afford them. We only have 3 bedrooms where we could put children. Matthew has his own room, Levi and Brock share a room, and Sydney has her own room because she is the only girl. I would love more children but don't know what to do about money and found your blog. Just want to say love the info you share really helps.

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I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)