Author Topic: When you have several miniMustachians...  (Read 2674 times)

CarrieWillard

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When you have several miniMustachians...
« on: October 18, 2016, 08:37:18 AM »
And I do mean several. Hubs and I have 8 between us, 7 live with us, ages 2-18. We're growing peach fuzz at the moment, but I've always been a Mustachian in various ways. EER won't be in our future, but perhaps FIRE will.

I wanted to start a thread about the realities of having several kids on your finances, as well as kicking aside some of the idiocy that's spouted about how expensive kids are.

Having a large family means it will take my husband and I years longer to retire, but it's worth it to us, because our children are an important part of our value system. I would hate for anyone who reads MMM to become discouraged by the many who espouse childlessness but would instead like to vouch for some of the benefits.

- My kids provide a Labor Pool that I tap into often

Siblings, especially in large families, do a little thing called differentiation, so they all have vastly different skill sets that benefit the family.

The 15 year old keeps the family bikes in tip-top shape. He also repairs drywall when the little ones beat up the walls, repaints stuff. The oldest has fixed our dryer and washer when they stopped working, repaired our vacuum several times, (never to be underestimated!) makes excellent coffee and has mastered pizza crust and bread baking. He also helps everyone else with math (we homeschool, and I am not smarter than a 5th grader). The little ones are great for cleaning out those hard-to-reach areas of our huge van, providing excellent distraction for the bored toddler while mom puts the finishing touches on dinner. The older ones help me cook, play with little ones or babysit (often at their own request). Guess who cuts the grass? Hint: it ain't my husband, who suffers from environmental allergies.

- Having siblings teaches you, with no conscious effort on the part of the parents, that the world does not revolve around you

I in NO WAY am criticizing those who choose to have one or two, but this statement is nonetheless true. Having siblings means waiting, sharing, prioritizing time and resources, and rubbing against other personalities all day can't help but train you in conflict resolution. I have witnessed quite a few only children with Special Snowflake/I Fart Rainbows syndrome because they are the only kid/grandkid and receive far too much adult admiration/approval without doing anything to earn it. One only child I became acquainted with refused to drink tap water (she called it "toilet water"), and didn't know how to make her own effing sandwich, because she never had to. Excuse me while I vomit.

Ok I'm back now.

- Economies of scale

I buy one book (actually, I get a lot free from BookMooch and PaperBackSwap), and it's shared by several kids. Clothing, furniture, bedding, toys - handed down. Cooking a huge pot of soup takes no more time than cooking a small pot. Little kids eat almost nothing, so the food expenses don't really go up until they're teenagers (then it goes way up!).

- Having a few kids teaches you what really matters (in terms of purchases)

The $100 trampoline? Tremendous value, as it has been played on every day for 5 years by several kids. Bikes bought cheap at yard sales? Way worth it.
The piano? Hell yes if you want to raise musicians.
GAP Kids clothing they're going to stain after 15 minutes? Sucker bait. (Actually, just drive across town to the richy-rich thrift store and buy the nice stuff at 80% off, letting the first owner take the depreciation hit. Teehee.)

Becoming a parent can also make you hyperaware, fast, of marketing bull. From free formula in the hospital to free overpriced wearable trash (disposable diapers) in the mail when you're still pregnant, it's neverending and eyeopening.

I cloth diapered and breastfed all 7 of my kids and they went straight to fork-mashed table food at 6 months.

(I'm a former breastfeeding counselor and realize not all women can breastfeed, but even if a woman can't bring in a full milk supply, using an at-breast supplementer like the Lact-Aid can reduce formula usage, thereby saving money and give some of the yummy goodness of breastfeeding that go beyond just the milk.)

A $5 thrifted baby sling that allows you to "wear" the baby while going about your life can replace thousands of dollars of cheap, outgassing plastic crap. Babies would rather play with pots and wooden spoons than any Suckers R Us toy. Kids belong outside where God gave them free entertainment, and need FEW toys until they're old enough to buy them themselves.

I've never used a crib, we follow 90% of the planet's example and sleep near our babies on a safe, firm, low to the ground bed, then the baby goes straight to a sibling's room.

Extracurricular activities are minimal, meaning I only invest in those when a kid shows a TRUE interest or skill. My teenage daughter does ballet, which is pricey, but her goal is to become a freelance choreographer, so this is an investment into her education. The kids have taught themselves to: do gymnastics, repair computers, dance, play piano and guitar, dabble in foreign language, and many other things for free, thanks to the internet. See below.

- We're a homeschooling family.

Homeschooling, for me, is Mustachian because it gives a child their TIME back. Schoolwork can be accomplished in 4 hours or less per day, leaving several hours for pursuits that can pay off in spades in adulthood. Much time is wasted in regular school with administrivia, disciplining the dumb and lazy, standing in lines, etc.

My oldest is my first grad and I'm proud to say he's a hardworking, functional, and dare I say, freaking awesome member of society. He started a band and they're soon playing their third local gig. He built an electric guitar, **from a block of wood**, in our workshop. His employers at his first job praised the ever lovin' heck out of him every time I stepped foot in there. It took him a few months to declare the following to me:

"Mom, I am going to quit and work for beau pere (his stepdad, my husband). I've figured out that the harder I work at Maddio's, the more they work me, and the less other people around me work, meaning I'm working harder for less money, and I can make $30 an hour doing piece work for Zeke."

Baby Mustachian!

My 15 year old has been operating a profitable eBay business for 5 years and also earns money uploading LEGO instruction videos on YouTube.

Also, homeschooling can be done for free or super cheap. Thousands of blogs are dedicated to this topic. A well-worn library card, a booklist, a computer and the willingness to go down the rabbit hole are all that's required to learn the Big 4 (in most states, thankfully I live in one that puts minimal restrictions on homeschooling parents).

Homeschooling also means my kids aren't inundated with commercial messages in the schools (UGH) and from their peers. They have little interest in brand names.

- Kids provide endless hours of free entertainment and joy

Of course, Mustachians know that joy and pleasure are not the same. Studies that show that parents are less happy, moment-to-moment, than other adults, illustrate this. Parents experience plenty of frustrating moments while raising kids. But fast-forwarding into the future, I can't wait to see 7 adult kids sitting around the table for Sunday dinner, along with beautiful grandkids (should they so choose). This is the life my grandmother and my mother lead, and I know they wouldn't trade those relationships for anything.

And as a woman, there is nothing that has ever come close to the earth-splitting, badass lifegasm that is giving birth (especially since I did it at home, without pain meds. RAWR!). It is about 10 times as intense as falling in love, and how many times do we get to do that in a lifetime? To say nothing of the empowering experience of watching a life be nourished and little thighs grow fat from the food from your own breasts.

It's pretty darn cool.

Once again, this is not meant as a criticism of those who decide to have no or one kid, however, there is much opposition to having large families these days, perhaps even here on this lovely spot on the web, so I offer this as a counterpoint.









« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 08:47:12 AM by CarrieWillard »

hoping2retire35

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 12:48:40 PM »
I'll pile on.

I was reading that thread about how much does it cost to have a kid and just thinking that it really does not work that way, nothing with kids follows a plan!

Buy a bigger house or just bunkbeds.

Think you will spend more money? We never go to restaurants except about once a month just to be sure the kids are getting public table manners.

We thought we had to buy our oldest son light jacket recently, as I went through the store looking, I had the weirdest feeling. Honestly, people are so generous that I cannot recall buying them clothes, ever. Remembered someone gave us a light fleece last spring, so not clothes purchase yet.

Most of us plan or find out that our stash will continue to grow even after FIRE. The last thing I will do is decide "Each child shall cost $XX,XXX", and make some hard plan accordingly, that is a recipe for disaster.

two worse case scenerios: one of you goes back to work for a little while, or wish you had them sooner. Both of these can have a lot of different outcomes and why one could be worse depending on your situation but in general it could help to think in these terms.


meandmyfamily

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 01:00:24 PM »
I agree!!  We only have 4 kids and we home school.  I love this post!  Homeschooling is SO freeing even if we only have one income!!

ender

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2016, 02:24:01 PM »
You didn't even talk about the tax credits!

;-)

mxt0133

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2016, 02:37:21 PM »
Posting to follow and to cheer you on.  We have three, homeschool in a HCOL city, and live in a one bedroom apartment.  As you said kids only cost as much as parents are willing to spend.


meandmyfamily

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2016, 07:25:33 PM »
Yes the tax credits mean very little to negative taxes (with adoption tax credit)!!!

CarrieWillard

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2016, 04:59:38 AM »
You didn't even talk about the tax credits!

;-)

ARGH! Don't talk to me about taxes. My husband and I cut a check for $23,000 in April to Uncle Sam. And yes, that's after 7 dependents!! One of my long-term goals is to get my expenses so low that we can cut our income way down and pay less or no income tax.

CarrieWillard

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2016, 05:02:45 AM »
I'll pile on.

We thought we had to buy our oldest son light jacket recently, as I went through the store looking, I had the weirdest feeling. Honestly, people are so generous that I cannot recall buying them clothes, ever. Remembered someone gave us a light fleece last spring, so not clothes purchase yet.


So true and I forgot to mention this, but letting it be known that you accept hand-me-downs means getting all manner of stuff from other, more spendy people. We've gotten everything from toys, books, curricula, clothing, shoes, even FOOD... I find it funny that people may think we're needy. :-) Everyone assumes that large family = broke.

The important thing is to accept whatever anyone gives you. If you don't, they may assume you're finicky. My mom got into trouble once with a friend when she offered to give her my outgrown dresses. The woman became offended and claimed they didn't need "charity". What the feather!?

I make it a point of accepting everything, even though I end up passing much of it along to others or to Goodwill.

hoping2retire35

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2016, 05:45:47 AM »
/\ yep

Pretty sure everyone looks at us and thinks we need it, and we do, but still the level of generosity is pretty crazy.

"Ah, three little ones, all on one income and they drive that old van. Bless their heart." Not looking forward to hearing what they think/say when I FIRE. "He doesn't even work...." haha. So I guess my FIRE amount has to include additional spending power for lost charity.

2Cent

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2016, 06:26:38 AM »

CarrieWillard

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2016, 08:27:21 AM »
Cool, thanks for the link. I've also read several studies that point to benefits of multiparity for women. Pregnancies and breastfeeding mean fewer menstrual cycles, associated with less osteoporosis and various cancers.

little_brown_dog

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 10:25:44 AM »
I like how you mentioned how kids can contribute to the family, rather than just sucking away resources. People forget that the idea that kids = harm to wealth, is just one very narrow view of wealth that is not a universal truth. In many cultures, children are viewed as a very important form of wealth even though raising them technically detracts from monetary savings. My grandparents are first generation American Catholics from Eastern Europe – in their culture and circle, big families are prized. My grandmother receives crazy amounts of praise and compliments from her friends about the sheer number of great grandbabies she has (11 and counting, and still going strong!). The family's strong fertility is viewed as a blessing, not a burden. I have never heard anyone in our family utter anything along the lines of “are you done yet?” to anyone – even after 2, 3, or 4 kids – because as long as the kids are well-provided for, everyone views more children as a net positive thing. No one cares if you choose to stop at 2 either, but generally in our family we think more kids = more joy.
It kindof annoys me when people assume that having or wanting many children is backwards or ignorant. There is no more moral superiority to having 1 child than there is to having 5, or vice versa.

Also wanted to mention that big families can provide great monetary rewards later in life. I have never had to hire movers because sibs and their partners were always around to help. Babysitters? No need, there is always an adult family member around our area willing to watch the baby when we go to a wedding or need a date night. Our grandparents were able to stay in their own homes and avoid decades in assisted living until their 90s because they always had an adult child or two in the area who were able to help them out as they aged. Of course, none of this is guaranteed, but your odds of having family support around when you need it go up the more family you have!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 10:47:44 AM by little_brown_dog »

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 02:58:05 PM »
Yay thanks for the post! We have 4. I'd always thought I'd homeschool but I work and therefore I need the babysitting that school provides.  Yes I could stay home but don't want to.  Anyway your life sounds awesome! Your kids sound amazing and truly resourceful!
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AMandM

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2016, 10:29:19 AM »
Hear, hear!
We have 7 kids, all homeschooled, four grown and independent and three still at home.  Three of the four adult kids live within walking distance of us.  We share cars, babysitting, errands, tools, etc.  The mustachian ways continue to the next generation.

The frugal ways that allow people with no or few kids to retire early are the same frugal ways that allow us to have a large family.  It's not unMustachian to have a large family if you think of the essence of mustachianism not as "getting lots of money" but as "being in control of your money so you can live the way you want to." 

Incidentally, I think that the view of kids as economic burdens rather than assets is based on a broader view of people as merely consumers rather than producers. 

hoping2retire35

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2016, 10:42:00 AM »
/\yes

'build' your own urban tribe.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2016, 10:59:16 AM »

Incidentally, I think that the view of kids as economic burdens rather than assets is based on a broader view of people as merely consumers rather than producers.

+1 very insightful.  We are meant to be producers!  And really most adults do produce, even if it means producing for corporate.  But for those that produce for their employer, they produce in order to consume, whereas I think the Mustachian way is to produce as an end in itself.
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Malum Prohibitum

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2016, 02:40:51 PM »
CarrieWillard, thanks for your post.  As the parent of 4, I always felt a little alone on this web site.

Oh, and we live in a 1300 sq ft house.


aetheldrea

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2017, 06:35:41 PM »
ARGH! Don't talk to me about taxes. My husband and I cut a check for $23,000 in April to Uncle Sam. And yes, that's after 7 dependents!! One of my long-term goals is to get my expenses so low that we can cut our income way down and pay less or no income tax.
Paying a lot in taxes, as far as problems go, is a pretty nice one to have :-)
Thanks for starting this topic. I also have seven at home, wouldn't trade any of them for any number of years of early retirement.

FrozenAssets

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2017, 11:43:34 PM »
Yesssss!  Happily homeschooling my four here!

Mrs. The Butler

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2017, 08:29:32 AM »
So encouraging to see this here!  My husband and I feel like usually people interested in early retirement feel like they can only have 0-2 kids to do that.  We have six so far, ages 6, 5, 4, 4, 3, and 1 (three biological, three adopted), and we hope to have more - and we're willing to adopt more, if we can find a way to live in a state that would allow it.

I'm homeschooling the oldest two in kindergarten this year, and will be starting the next 1 or 2 in the fall.

My husband is in the military, so we're planning on him doing 20 years so we can have the pension, but at our current spending/savings rate, that's really not entirely necessary.  We have our family of 8 plus a dog in a 1250 square foot house (the older five kids are boys, so they share the master bedroom).  Our expenses last year were around $50K, but about $10K of that was just for a family trip to CA and to pay for karate lessons for the boys, so if you don't count those two splurges, we were closer to $40K.  Our savings are currently around $500K, and we also give around 15% to charity (which, along with large families, seems to be something less-popular in these circles).

My husband was just doing taxes yesterday evening; he said it's his best-compensated time for the entire year.  He expects to get about $10K back, so even if it takes him 10 hours (we sold a rental this year that we co-owned with two other people, so taxes are going to be tricky), that's still $1K/hour.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi since I'd always felt like there were so few large families around here ... turns out the large families are here after all!

FinallyAwake

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2017, 08:45:42 PM »
Another happy homeschooling family with 4 kids here!  :) 

We're a little late to the game, but we finally have our consumerism under control, so we are killing our debt and are on track to FIRE within about 7 years. 

Would REALLY love to FIRE even earlier so we can pack the kiddos in an RV and "Road School" all over North America while they're youngish.  Trying to weigh out the pros/cons of our options to achieve this.  But having options is thrilling!  And so is having a large, fun family!  :)

   


LadyStache in Baja

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2017, 08:49:03 PM »
Hi homeschoolers!  I'm thinking about homeschooling my tribe next year.  They're 5, 4, 4, and 2.  They've been in daycare/preschool for the last two school years, but my work load has decreased so I think I can do it. 
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hoping2retire35

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2017, 07:20:02 AM »
Another happy homeschooling family with 4 kids here!  :) 

We're a little late to the game, but we finally have our consumerism under control, so we are killing our debt and are on track to FIRE within about 7 years. 

Would REALLY love to FIRE even earlier so we can pack the kiddos in an RV and "Road School" all over North America while they're youngish.  Trying to weigh out the pros/cons of our options to achieve this.  But having options is thrilling!  And so is having a large, fun family!  :)

 

AH! This is my dream. I think it would be awesome. or maybe 1/2 time Road School and 1/2 time home school.

FinallyAwake

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2017, 07:50:05 AM »
Another happy homeschooling family with 4 kids here!  :) 

We're a little late to the game, but we finally have our consumerism under control, so we are killing our debt and are on track to FIRE within about 7 years. 

Would REALLY love to FIRE even earlier so we can pack the kiddos in an RV and "Road School" all over North America while they're youngish.  Trying to weigh out the pros/cons of our options to achieve this.  But having options is thrilling!  And so is having a large, fun family!  :)

 

AH! This is my dream. I think it would be awesome. or maybe 1/2 time Road School and 1/2 time home school.

It sounds so fun, doesn't it?  I've seen plenty of blogs about full-timers on the Road......not sure I've seen one that has FI/RE'd, though.  If you know of any, pass them my way, please!

catan

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2017, 06:19:57 AM »
Great thread!

I have four siblings, and have always wanted a large family. Everyone talks about how expensive kids are.... it's nice to hear how other big families manage! I have two now and hope to adopt in the future.


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hoping2retire35

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Re: When you have several miniMustachians...
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2017, 06:43:27 AM »
Great thread!

I have four siblings, and have always wanted a large family. Everyone talks about how expensive kids are.... it's nice to hear how other big families manage! I have two now and hope to adopt in the future.


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2 OR maybe 3 things make having kids expensive

1. Childcare/or loss of one persons income (SAHP)
2. Food, especially when they get older.
3. Housing, depending on what you can manage. If you are currently living in a studio apartment in NYC then yes it could be  a problem. Fly-over country where another bedroom is down the street and maybe not even a difference in price, then it is no biggie.

I think MMPete has a article where he says raising a kid costs about $75,000 over 18 years.