Author Topic: More than 3 kids  (Read 5125 times)

meandmyfamily

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More than 3 kids
« on: April 16, 2015, 08:16:04 PM »
Hello!  I would love to hear from larger families.  We have 4 kids and while I don't consider that large it seems very large compared to most people here.  I would love to hear what you drive.  We drive an 04 Toyota minivan with 165,000 miles and an 97 Toyota t-100 with 140,000 miles.  I would love to hear how much you spend on groceries.  We spend 700-800 a month and we are working on getting that down.  We home school and our kids are 11, 9, 4 and 4.  Anyone else here with larger families?  Any tips?  Our utilities are high also but we live in Arizona and we have a pool.  We keep our thermostat at 78-80.  We do have a small AC unit for our house though.

Luthien

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 09:30:45 PM »
We also home school and have four kids ages 9, 6, 4, and 7 months. We drive a 2005 Honda Odyssey with 125,000 miles on it - just bought it right before baby #4 arrived. Before that we had a Pontiac Vibe - loved that car! Unfortunately stowing the infant seat in the back compartment would have been frowned upon. My goal is to get our grocery spending down to about $400/month, but I think right now it's more like $500. Welcome :)

MDM

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meandmyfamily

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 10:41:27 PM »
Hello!  Thank you for the link.  I searched but found nothing!

MDM

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2015, 10:54:42 PM »
Hello!  Thank you for the link.  I searched but found nothing!
It helped (a lot) that I remembered posting in it....

meandmyfamily

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2015, 11:09:44 PM »

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 08:13:58 AM »
This is inspiring:  http://www.madfientist.com/how-to-retire-early-with-13-kids/

I can't imagine having 13 kids, that's bonkers! It's impressive that they manage to save so much with so many people to feed. The only catch, IMO, is that retiring at 62 (49 at time of writing + 13 years) isn't what I wold call "early".

hoosier

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 08:28:27 AM »
We have 6 kids (10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 month)  and homeschool.  We drive a Toyota Sienna that seats 8. 

Our grocery bill is around $75/week.  We grow a large garden to help keep costs down.  We raise our own chickens for eggs and meat too.  I probably break even on cheap store bought eggs, and spend a little extra on chicken (non-organic).  I buy whole hogs from family and it ends up being just under $2/lb for everythig.  We substitute venison for beef almost exclusively too.  If I were to buy similar quality food at the store the cost difference would be astronomical.

Utility costs are going to vary a lot based on geography (climate and actual utility costs) so that's hard to compare.  My average monthly utilities (water, electricity, gas) average $170.  I heat with wood, so I don't have a heating bill unless it gets well below 0* F.  I'm in the widwest for reference.

« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 08:34:41 AM by hoosier »

mrsoski

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 09:22:00 AM »
Hi!  DH and I have five kids -- blended family -- ages 15, 15, 13, 11 and 11.  We've been together for about 10 years now.  Here's how we roll:

1) housing -- we currently live in a duplex which we use as a single family home.  The layout allows for this, and an equivalent single family house in our neighborhood would easily cost 50-75k more.  The oldest 2 should launch in 3 years and the rest in 6-7, and at that point we will refinance and either remodel and move into the upper and rent the lower, or keep the house as a rental and move to a much smaller place for the 2 of us.   

2) transport -- we are not so very mustachian in this regard, due mostly to DH.  He has a 9 seat 2005 Ford Excursion, I drive a 1999 Lexus sport SUV, and we just bought a 1999 honda civic for the purposes of commuting and teaching our teenagers to drive.  All are owned outright by us.  I suspect that once the kids all launch we will be a one car couple.   In the meantime, face punches all around I suppose.

3) Food -- since we are a blended family, we only have the kids about 60 percent of the time, so our food costs reflect that.  we spend about 650 per month on food, and I eat a gluten and soy free diet.   I do lots of gluten free baking and I cook most everything that comes into the house, save for the biweekly Costco or Papa Murphy's pizzas.   I love Costco and Sam's Club and Aldi.   We will be getting a Meijer here soon and I'm looking forward to that.  Kids each get a 10 dollar per month school lunch allowance and pack lunches the rest of the time.  We are not big drinkers, but spend about $20 per month on alcohol, mostly hard cider and Abita Turbodog.  We have a separate restaurant budget and come in at about $150 per month, which allows a family lunch or dinner out and a couple of cheap date night dinners.   

4) utilities -- average about $250 per month, skewed by two very cold recent winters and the fact that I work from home (I refuse to freeze in my own house).   We are in the midwest. 

5) Vacations -- camping in our awesome 30 foot travel trailer to visit family near and far.   We don't do much air travel as a family, but DH and I have some trips planned and we anticipate doing some credit card/air mile arbitrage to offset costs.

6) Clothing -- DH is in IT, so khakis and button-ups from Kohl's clearance racks work fine form him and florsheim dress shoes last forever.   I work from home, so it's hoodies and yoga pants for me 95 percent of the time, with the occasional suit or dress for court appearances.   The kids get new clothing as needed, which is all.the.time. lately.  But the older kids are leveling off in growth and this expense should level off too. 

7) Random kid expenses -- we allow school related clubs/sports and will pay for those.  We also pay for chores biweekly, and give bonuses for good grades and good citizenship.  Each kid has a prepaid phone which we load monthly and they manage the minutes.   So far so good.

Hope this helps!

2ndTimer

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2015, 09:28:43 AM »
I expect you already know about Amy Dacyzyn's Tightwad Gazette books.  If not, you are in for a treat.  She talks a lot about raising a large family thriftily.

pagoconcheques

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2015, 04:12:43 PM »
Only two kids here, but I am one of 4 children.  My parents were between what used to be called thrifty or cheap (definitely mustachian territory for the era).  They had a simple approach that basically involved putting the kids to work for them--my dad used to say since he had children there was no need to have servants.  In exchange for doing essentially all the house work, most of the cooking, all the yard work, almost all of the house maintenance (paint, etc.) we were all rewarded with a place to sleep, all the food we could eat, medical care when required, a modest wardrobe, and a modest bicycle for transportation (with helmet as my folks were ahead of the curve on that).  We received absolutely zero money from our parents, neither for spending nor for college, though they would spend for school extracurricular activities they deemed worthy.  Luxuries, such as candy, dating, music, etc. were paid for out of income from jobs or we simply did without.   We all had occasional jobs outside the house by the time we were 10 or 11 and had regular after school jobs from junior high on. Both my parents worked full time so we were a pretty independent, and interdependent, group of siblings. 

Early in our marriage we decided it made more sense for us to have fewer children and make better educations available to them than we had and be done with child-rearing at an earlier age than our own parents.  Our children have much higher income potential than I and should be able to both live better (whatever that means to them) and retire earlier than their parents. That was a very personal decision, and we have never regretted it. 

My apologies if this is a bit off-topic for the thread, but I throw it out there for younger forum readers who don't already have a high head count in house as food for thought while they plan their own approach to family planning and child rearing. 

Prepube

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 11:30:36 PM »
Okay.  For you to FIRE you must get rid of no less than two of those things.  Cash absorbing little fiends, children are, and they will delay your retirement by many years. 

Syonyk

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Re: More than 3 kids
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2015, 12:39:31 PM »
Hello!  I would love to hear from larger families.  We have 4 kids and while I don't consider that large it seems very large compared to most people here.  I would love to hear what you drive.  We drive an 04 Toyota minivan with 165,000 miles and an 97 Toyota t-100 with 140,000 miles.  I would love to hear how much you spend on groceries.  We spend 700-800 a month and we are working on getting that down.  We home school and our kids are 11, 9, 4 and 4.  Anyone else here with larger families?  Any tips?  Our utilities are high also but we live in Arizona and we have a pool.  We keep our thermostat at 78-80.  We do have a small AC unit for our house though.

I grew up in a family of 4 active boys, so while I don't have direct information, I know for sure my parents were not spending $700/mo in food.

A few thoughts:
- Bulk food and making things from scratch is the way to go.  If you're not buying rice/flour/beans/etc in 50lb bags or so, start doing so and store the excess (you can use coffee cans, 5 gallon buckets with screw top lids and liners, whatever).  With that many kids, you should be cooking in bulk.  While I wasn't a huge fan of them, I understand why bean-based soups were common growing up.
- If time is an issue, prepare stuff ahead of time and store it.  We had two fridge/freezer combos (upstairs in the kitchen, and a storage one downstairs in the basement), plus a full size deep freezer in the basement.  My mom made soup en masse and froze a lot of it.  Same for other quick dishes that could be heated up.  The fridges meant we could buy large quantities of things and keep them until we ate them.
- Costco or Sam's Club.  Seriously worth the membership cost at the volumes of food you're consuming.
- DIY baking mixes and such can be made ahead of time and save money over store-bought stuff.
- A bread machine is a worthwhile investment.  You can make bread radically cheaper than you can buy it, especially if you buy ingredients in bulk, and a heavy potato bread will fill up growing kids cheaply.  That the bread goes moldy in a few days doesn't matter if it's consumed in a day - we were making and eating somewhere over a loaf a day when I was in high school (usually one for sandwiches, and another loaf as bread for dinner).
- Look into a garden, if you don't have one.  Drip watering systems + the amount of sun you get should open up a lot of options for home grown food, and you have a good bit of labor to use for garden maintenance. :)
- If you have the freezer space, you can buy animals in bulk and get meat cheaply.  "Going in on a cow with some friends" is totally a thing in most rural areas, and you can get a half cow or quarter cow for a fraction the cost per pound you'd pay at the store.  You need the freezer space to store it, though.

With regards to the pool, are you using a solar heating system for it?  If not, look into that (either build your own or, if needed, get one installed).  You shouldn't be paying for the energy to heat the pool in AZ with the amount of sun you get.

Okay.  For you to FIRE you must get rid of no less than two of those things.  Cash absorbing little fiends, children are, and they will delay your retirement by many years.

... you realize there's more to life than FIRE, right?