We are a family of 8. We have one income. We thrive. But we have to be creative with our resources. I’m going to divulge our secrets.
We buy a lot of used clothing. My 13 year old said to me the other day, “When I grow up, how am I going to know if something is a good deal if you never take us to the mall to compare prices?”
I over heard two teenagers talking about Goodwill. One of them said, “I don’t know how anyone can even go into that store. It’s scary.” I’m thankful we’re not afraid because I have found deals on everything from J. Crew sweaters to Ugg boots at our local Goodwill store. I’m totally thankful for the people who shop retail and then turn their beautiful, sometimes with tags still on, rejects in for me to buy. It’s fine if you’re scared too. Don’t go to a thrift shop. That leaves more deals for me.
I’m also thankful for the people who directly donate their kids’ gently used clothing to us. That saves me from having to go into the store and I can spend more time on Facebook. I recommend befriending a mom whose kids are slightly bigger than yours and getting this most excellent perk. You could try going to places moms can be found to acquire a bequeathing friend. For instance, if you’re pregnant, you could go to the hospital to find a mom in labor whose child will be slightly older than yours. Or if you have a preschooler, you could sit outside the elementary school waiting for a likely candidate. Try not to look too stalkerish, and definitely avoid driving your white van with no windows.
It’s really a good thing we save so much money on clothes, because every dime of that surplus goes into their bellies. My kids are truly hobbits and eat 12 times a day. What they leave on their plates goes into the chicken bucket. We have a lot of chickens who are happy as chickens fed food that kids leave on their plates. We eat a lot of eggs. Leftover eggs also go into the chicken bucket. Don’t even talk to me about whether that is cannibalism or not; I don’t want to think about it.
I shop at Aldi where there are such cheap prices you won’t even believe it. Ours just had a remodel, so it feels really swanky. The few things we can’t get there, we get in bulk from Sam’s. I try to make a lot of things from scratch. I used to try to cook in bulk. For instance, my friend makes a week’s worth of pancakes on Sunday and warms them up on school days. I pretty much cook in bulk every day. My kids eat like lumberjacks and I’m pretty sure I would have to make 300 pancakes on Sunday, so I don’t see that happening. It might work for you though!
You really can cut hair at home. I save hundreds of dollars a year by cutting my kids’ and husband’s hair. Just go for it. Kid hair never really looks combed anyway, so if you screw it up, no one will be able to tell. Or maybe that’s just my kids.
I asked my friend one time how she got her two year old’s hair to look so good, and she informed me she used this amazing tool called a comb, combined with this substance called water. Maybe that would work for you too. It’s worth a try.
One way you can save money in your budget is to play games at home. A couple of our favorites are Spin the Baby and Release the Kraken. For Spin the Baby, put the baby in the middle of the floor, and spin her around, and everyone sits in a large circle around her. You see who she stumbles toward, which is hilarious in and of itself, and whoever she lands on gets a small sip of soda. Release the Kraken involves holding the baby back while everyone else furiously builds towers out of blocks. Then you all yell “Release the Kraken!” as loudly as possible and laugh uproariously as the toddler knocks down the towers. If you don’t have a baby or a toddler on hand, I recommend NOT sitting outside of a daycare in your white van looking for one.
We also save money by not having cable or satellite. Anything we want to watch is usually on Netflix. Additionally we read a lot. It might seem like we would be bored without all the channels on satellite, but keep in mind somehow we entertained ourselves, and ended up with six kids. Never mind. You probably want to keep paying that cable bill.
I encourage you to begin paring down your budget by using simple money saving strategies like those listed above. I mean really, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, I suppose you could die from a contagious disease that you caught from something you got at a second hand store, or your kid could go to school with half his head shaved. But the probability of that is low enough that saving money is something definitely within reach. Good Luck!