Author Topic: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!  (Read 7601 times)

VirginiaBob

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Topic Title: Punch me in the face already for having all these kids. 37 y/o looking for a larger house and vehicle for 4 kids.  Went from 2 kids to 4 kids with birth of twins last month.  This is probably overly detailed in some areas, and not as detailed as it could be in other areas.   Time is at a premium right now as well with the newborn twins (i go to work, wife takes care of them, I come home, she sleeps, she gets up at midnight, I sleep), but will get better as they grow - one of the twins needs fed once every 1:30 due to reflux.

Income ($4,800/mo after deductions): $96K my salary, SAHM w/ $3K/yr (nano business), Passive investment income all goes back into the investments.  Actual take home pay after deductions/401K/health plan/taxes/pension deduction/SS/medicaire/HSA = $2400 every 2 weeks - so say $4800/mo except for 2 months a year where it is $7,200.  Tax refund is way too high, still playing with numbers due to all the kids, but about $4K/year interest free loan to the guvment.

Current expenses (everything approx $4800/mo):
Mortgage $900/mo, $100K left on the loan
Vehicles: 2012 Subaru Forester, $10,000 left on 0% loan (24 more months) 20K miles about $420/mo, 2005 Dodge Neon paid for 68K miles
Savings (which I consider an expense): $11K/yr in Roth IRA's (mine and wifes), $1200/yr to taxable, $25/mo to Lending Club, also 6% above the line for 401K (+5% employer match)
Tithing: 10% of net income (I'm cheating on the net instead of gross)
Groceries: $600/mo (includes baby stuff like diapers, formula - we breastfeed, but supplement)
Electric: $60/mo budget pay
Natural Gas: $60/mo budget pay
Water/Sewer/Garbage/Storm: $120/mo
Restaurants: $300/mo (has been high lately due to convenience since twins are around the clock care - time to cook has been low right now)
Gasoline: $150/mo
Car Insurance: $50/mo
Health Ins Copays:  $300/mo right now, but should go down as twins appointments decrease
Cable Internet/TV: $76/mo
Miscellaneous: varies based on month, but say $200.

Assets: $240K in 401K
$100K in Roth IRA's
$40K in taxable
$3,500 in Lenders club
$20K in bank account
$4K in business bank account
About $70K in equity after real estate fees if I were to sell
Say $7K of equity in Subaru Forester

Liabilities: $100K, 4%, $900/mo PITI
$10,000, 0% Subaru Forester, 24 mo to go, $420/mo

Other info:  I think I'm doing "OK" for my age on the asset side of things closing in on a half a mil, at least compared to the American public, which isn't much to brag about.  Plan to be working due to the pension at 57 years old - if I quit on my own I get no pension.   No real interest in directly funding college education for any of my kids - I did it on my own and would expect nothing less from them.  Looking for a $2K/mo PITI mortgage (punch me hard!) and a mini-van, but my budget is pretty much equalized (coming in = going out) except for the 2 months a year where I get an extra paycheck and the tax refund -  I do get a bonus here and there, but don't count on it - all of wife's business income goes back into growing the business.  Cable TV/Interent can drop to $50/mo (need the internet for wife's business, but not TV).  Tithing off limits (religious reasons, go ahead and judge).  Subaru payments going away and health copays dropping to $100/mo or less would help alot.  Housing is expensive in our area, and my wife wants us out of this school district before they are old enough.  Restaurant expenses should go down to at least $200/mo.  The tough thing with me is the wife and kids.  Heck - I can live in a cardboard box, but my wife hasn't bought into that (just yet, haha!).

Specific Questions:  Is it actually feasible to buy a larger house and a van?  Any other ideas on cutting some expenses/raising income? 


Carrie

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2014, 09:35:06 AM »
I'd sell the Subaru and use the equity from that to buy a used minivan.  Then you'll have two paid for cars and not have that large car payment any more. 

I'd also probably put off buying a bigger house for a few more years. Babies don't take up much space and school districts are not that important at the moment.  Spend 2-3 years increasing the stache in the cheaper house.

Asset wise, looks to me like you're doing well.

MayDay

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 09:44:21 AM »
I have only two kids, but similar expenses and we own a minivan and have a higher mortgage than you.  You can look at my journal in the journal section for a detailed breakdown of our monthly expenses.  The main difference is we don't have any tithing or any car payments. 

Wih four kids you definitely need a minivan.  The house is more questionable.  Think hard about that one, especially as you are possibly taking on a car payment.  Could you make a deal with the wife that as soon as the new-to-you minivan is paid off, you will house hunt, to help motivate her to get it paid off?  You are getting about 9k a year extra between the toe extra paycheck months and the tax refund.  I would suggest buying a used van for less than 9k + whatever you can get for the suburu.  Then get the van paid off within a year.  Better yet, buy a van for 7k or whatever you can get for the Suburu. 

Looking at your expenses:
Mortgage is great. 
Vehicle payment- you have 0% interest so if you are doing it to leverage, fine.
Groceries:  for a family of 6, it will probably only go up as your kids eat more and more.
Restaurants:  with a family of six, eating out, even to cheap places, will never be cheap.  Do yourself a favor and stop as soon as possible.  I totally get the newborn thing, if I had twin newborns I am sure I would do it to.  But for the time it takes to go get take-out, can you pick up a steam ale frozen veggie, a loaf of bread and a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store?


Everything seems reasonable.  My only question is why you are saving into a taxable account instead of sending more to your 401k.  I think if you want to buy a bigger house and save less, that is fine, just be aware of how if will effect your ability to retire.  Spending on the size and functionality of your current house, it is probably a want, not a need.  Can you empty out your 40k brokerage account to add two bedrooms on the back of your current house, and keep your mortgage the same?  Think outside the box.

former player

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 09:59:28 AM »
If you are looking to move to a better school district, and are in a high housing cost area anyway, you are potentially looking at a lot of money.  What will moving to this desirable school district do to your commute?  And your property taxes?  You need to add any such extra costs in to your calculations.  At what point does the wish for a desirable school district kick in hardest?  Elementary?  Junior?  High school?  The longer you can put the move off, the better off you will be.

Personally, I'd always look for a smaller house on a decent lot, rather than a MacMansion crammed in among its neighbours (better for you, your house and your kids if their room to run around is outside rather than inside).  Sacrifice on bedroom space: with your newly mustachian ways you will only need small bedrooms (because they will not be full of useless consumer crap), and 2 parents and 4 kids can manage perfectly well in 3 bedrooms.  2 bathrooms would be a luxury, one bathroom plus 1 cloakroom is fine, only 1 loo for a family of 6 could be a source of irritation.  A decent sized eat-in kitchen so that 6 can sit and eat at once is the biggest need.  Don't even look at houses in perfect decorative condition: you can save a decent amount by living in outdated décor, and with 4 kids running around perfect décor will be a waste anyway.

Congratulations on the twins, and I hope they settle into a good sleeping and eating schedule soon.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 10:23:02 AM »
Carrie:  Thanks for the the little push on the Subaru, it is like you are reading my mind on what I should be doing, but haven't.  Hearing it from someone besides the voice in my head helps a lot.

Also, you are right about the schooling - doesn't really matter right now, but will once kindergarden starts in 2 years for our oldest.  So we can probably put off the house upgrade for 1.5 years before we start that process.  We can probably use the time for things to settle down anyways - I can't even think about selling/looking right now with the crazy feeding/changing/holding schedule.  The funny thing is that before we had the twins, we both said as soon as they come out, we are putting the house on the market.  Not even close to being in that mindset now though.

Mayday:  Thanks for letting me know about your journal - it helps alot to see that.  Yes, I'm thinking the groceries will go up as well.  Good idea to cut out the restaurants, which we really need to do.  I need to also start helping with the cooking (at least more grilling out anyways).  Yea we have done the rotisserie chicken thing in the past - will start doing more of those instead of going to a restaurant.   The taxable account thing kind of started as an emergency fund, but now that it has gone up the $40K + $3.5K in lending club, and the $20K checking account, I need to re-evaluate that.  I agree on the house thing, but can't get the wife on board due to the school district  issue.

former player:  I think the new house would add to the commute miles, but not the commute time.  I'll all redlights and small roads right now and the better areas are highway commutes.  The problem is that our elementary school district is really bad - like drugs being dealt at recess bad.  I like your suggestion on going for the smaller house in the better school district though.  The kids really won't care anyways on how much indoor space they have as long as they are in a good family environment.  I've also thought of getting the larger functional house that is in need of heavy cosmetic upgrades.  Even if I don't have the time now to fix it up, I'd have many years to do so.  What's the worst that can happen, a relative comes over and makes a snide remark on the style?  Who cares!

Elisabeth

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 10:45:16 AM »
Agree with poster above to sell the subaru and buy a used van. Do you live close to work so you can bike/walk? I am just guessing you are a federal employee, so if you can, take advantage of the 100+ a month in commuting subsidies even if it only covers a couple days on metro/bus/VRE.

Take advantage of an HSA for co-pays, etc. Also, if you are a fed employee, you have a pension after 5 years of service - that you can take at age 62 - regardless of subsequent years of service. Of course, it will provide an amount based on your years of service and high salaries, but it's something. So, a move to a place with a lower cost of living, better schools, and affordable housing could be worth looking into.

Also agree on cutting take out/restaurants ASAP. It is a habit, and kids don't ever need less attention :) If wife stays home with kids, you can do freezer meals on weekends, and take advantage of easy crock pot dinners.

Just ideas.

4alpacas

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2014, 10:52:59 AM »
Also agree on cutting take out/restaurants ASAP. It is a habit, and kids don't ever need less attention :) If wife stays home with kids, you can do freezer meals on weekends, and take advantage of easy crock pot dinners.

I was going to comment on the take-out to save time myth.  We stopped getting to-go food, and we've found it's easier and quicker to reheat something at home.  Also, my crockpot is my best friend. 

Try to do some bulk cooking on the weekends.  Last weekend, I cooked a huge pot of chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, and black beans.  I made enough for 10-12 meals.  Since we prefer variety, I'll freeze the majority of the dish in quart freezer bags (single meal servings) and defrost as necessary.  I'm also a fan of lazy "emergency" meals.  We have a frozen pizza and a few boxes of Velveeta shells & cheese for our lazy, fast food craving days.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 11:21:38 AM »
Elisabeth - thanks for the advice and yes you have me pegged correctly as a federal employee.  What I'm actuall hoping for is that right around when I'm 50 years old, I'm offered an early out to give me the nice penalty free pension - onc could dream!

Also lots of people tell me the same thing that babies are easy - all you need to do is feed, change, clothe, and hold.  Once they are older, they will have more complex demands.  I think what is killing us now is just lack of sleep!

Elisabeth

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 11:32:08 AM »
I hope that works out! Though, the federal gov is known for offering pathetic incentives. It's great that you are planning ahead; that way, even if the incentives suck, you can still make it work for you.

Babies do prevent adults from sleeping. We just got this http://www.magicsleepsuit.com for our 4 month old, and we are ALL sleeping through the night now. Plus, they look funny in the fat suit, and laughter decreases stress. I considered it an investment in my mental health, as well as my physical. Plus, I bet you can sell it used for at least half.

Get a crock pot, too :)

Also, not sure how much you contribute (dollars, not %) to your 401k, but depending on how much cash you want in retirement, you may be able to scale that contribution back soon and pay off your mortgage sooner. You look like you have pretty solid figures in your 401k and IRA. Not sure which numbers are for your wife or for you, but it's something to consider. What's great about being a good saver and investor is the ability to scale BACK your contributions, freeing up cash for other things, rather than realize at 45 you need to come up with an extra $30k/year to retire- ever.

johnhenry

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 12:21:42 PM »
Congrats on your twins... or as I've heard them accurately described.... 2 babies for the price of 3!!

I agree with the comments above to put off buying a more expensive house until as long as possible.  And I also highly recommend a used minivan.  A well-maintained Honda or Toyota with just over 100K miles can be a great purchase for larger families and can be had for well under $10K.

ltt

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 03:29:15 PM »
4 kids here....it's not the babies themselves that take up all the room--it's all the stuff they need--car seats, high chairs, clothes, diapers, bottles, blankets, etc., etc.  How much square footage do you currently have?

With four children, you will pretty much be forced into a van, and you will need it and use it more than you know, because every time you travel somewhere, you will basically have to pack up the entire house and put in in the back of the van for the first few years.  :)  Think pack-n-play.

Get a good quality used Toyota van--something that will last for years and not cost a lot to repair.  And insurance is fairly cheap on them also. 



zolotiyeruki

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2014, 04:11:46 PM »
Congrats on the twins!  Your budget looks quite similar to ours, actually.  We just had our 6th child, and looking back, here are a few thoughts:

1) minivan.  There's no better car for a family your size, period.  A used Honda or Toyota minivan will serve you well.  I'll second the motion to sell the Subaru and get a used minivan.
2) don't go too big on the new house.  As someone else said, skimp on the bedroom sizes, but pay attention to layout.  Modern single-family homes are designed with an assumption of 1 kid per room, and often there's no convenient way to fit two beds in a bedroom, no matter how large it is.  Our four boys share a single bedroom, and their two sets of bunk beds have to cover the windows.
3) delay the cost of upsizing your home as long as possible.  Every month you wait is a few hundred extra bucks in your pocket.  A few years ago, we had 4 kids (oldest was 6) in a 3 bedroom, 1,500 sqft house, and while it was pretty snug, it still met our needs nicely.
4) set a maximum budget for your new home, but don't treat that number as a target.  First, define exactly what you need (or are willing to pay extra for) in your new home--number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number/size of living areas, etc.  Then go shopping and find a home that meets those needs at the lowest cost.  We love our current home, but we could be paying at least $500/month less in PITI had we been willing to go with something slightly less perfect.  There's definitely a law of diminishing returns as square footage goes up--my brother has a house with about 30% less square footage but the same number of beds/baths/living areas.

As for the budget:
1) cable TV/internet: do you really need cable? It's a personal thing--after we moved, we found we didn't miss it--but consider cutting it.  For internet, call up your provider, tell them you're leaving, and they'll transfer you to retention, where they'll offer you a deal.  Play your local DSL and cable internet providers against each other
2) groceries:  you're about the same as us, on a per-person basis.  I feel like we're pretty frugal with our food, so it sounds like you're good here, especially considering the formula.
3) You deserve a facepunch on the restaurants.  Plan ahead better, so you don't need 'em.  Make freezer meals that you can reheat in a pinch.  Eat leftovers.  Realize that it's ok to eat lunch foods (like sandwiches) for dinner.  Plan quick-to-prepare meals.

Other than that, I think you're doing not too bad.

Mazzinator

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2014, 04:27:30 PM »
To help adjust your withholdings...if you're already getting tooooo much back, plus adding 2 kids this year...i'd say, once you adjust your withholdings you will be very happy!!!

http://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/

MDM

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2014, 04:36:09 PM »
Topic Title: Punch me in the face already for having all these kids.
...
Tax refund is way too high, still playing with numbers due to all the kids, but about $4K/year interest free loan to the guvment.
VirginiaBob: no face punch for the kids - after all, you're only 80% of the way toward our situation.

On the cash flow, I think the spreadsheet you can download from this post will give you a decent idea of how your 2014 taxes will appear.  If you try it and something seems lacking, let me know.  I've a soft spot for the sleep-deprived....

Goldielocks

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2014, 07:37:16 PM »
I suggest that you think about your goal / responsibility of tithing.

You need to decide where you fall on the tithing spectrum:

-- Tithing 10%
-- Tithing volunteer hours and in kind contributions in lieu of being able to afford a full 10%
-- Being a recepient of the tithing yourself.

I understand if you have a strong priority for tithing, but it should NOT be at the expense of your on-going savings and future for yourself and kids.
With two new babes at home and 4 kids, in my books, you may be just the kind of person I imagine my own donations are going to help out a bit.  e.g., free child support offered at the church centre, or providing hot dinners and kids night activities once a week to make your life a bit easier.

If you decide to continue to tithe, you need to have expenses that look like follows:

10% tithing
15% - 30% savings (various formats from mortgage principal to kids education fund, to retirement and short term savings)
<75% Expenses (Everything else)

See what expenses you can be inspired to cut when you think about how your expenses could prevent you from tithing fully.   
This may give you the impetus to cut more from your budget.

My realization came that I could return to full donations after my kids were older and childcare and other expenses were gone.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2014, 04:55:16 AM »
4 kids here....it's not the babies themselves that take up all the room--it's all the stuff they need--car seats, high chairs, clothes, diapers, bottles, blankets, etc., etc.  How much square footage do you currently have?

With four children, you will pretty much be forced into a van, and you will need it and use it more than you know, because every time you travel somewhere, you will basically have to pack up the entire house and put in in the back of the van for the first few years.  :)  Think pack-n-play.

Get a good quality used Toyota van--something that will last for years and not cost a lot to repair.  And insurance is fairly cheap on them also.

Right now we are at right about 1400 SF.  A little tight, but functional.  It really comes down to the schools though- even if I could get my wife to agree to the space, she won't budge on the schools.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2014, 05:01:32 AM »
Congrats on the twins!  Your budget looks quite similar to ours, actually.  We just had our 6th child, and looking back, here are a few thoughts:

1) minivan.  There's no better car for a family your size, period.  A used Honda or Toyota minivan will serve you well.  I'll second the motion to sell the Subaru and get a used minivan.
2) don't go too big on the new house.  As someone else said, skimp on the bedroom sizes, but pay attention to layout.  Modern single-family homes are designed with an assumption of 1 kid per room, and often there's no convenient way to fit two beds in a bedroom, no matter how large it is.  Our four boys share a single bedroom, and their two sets of bunk beds have to cover the windows.
3) delay the cost of upsizing your home as long as possible.  Every month you wait is a few hundred extra bucks in your pocket.  A few years ago, we had 4 kids (oldest was 6) in a 3 bedroom, 1,500 sqft house, and while it was pretty snug, it still met our needs nicely.
4) set a maximum budget for your new home, but don't treat that number as a target.  First, define exactly what you need (or are willing to pay extra for) in your new home--number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number/size of living areas, etc.  Then go shopping and find a home that meets those needs at the lowest cost.  We love our current home, but we could be paying at least $500/month less in PITI had we been willing to go with something slightly less perfect.  There's definitely a law of diminishing returns as square footage goes up--my brother has a house with about 30% less square footage but the same number of beds/baths/living areas.

As for the budget:
1) cable TV/internet: do you really need cable? It's a personal thing--after we moved, we found we didn't miss it--but consider cutting it.  For internet, call up your provider, tell them you're leaving, and they'll transfer you to retention, where they'll offer you a deal.  Play your local DSL and cable internet providers against each other
2) groceries:  you're about the same as us, on a per-person basis.  I feel like we're pretty frugal with our food, so it sounds like you're good here, especially considering the formula.
3) You deserve a facepunch on the restaurants.  Plan ahead better, so you don't need 'em.  Make freezer meals that you can reheat in a pinch.  Eat leftovers.  Realize that it's ok to eat lunch foods (like sandwiches) for dinner.  Plan quick-to-prepare meals.

Other than that, I think you're doing not too bad.

Absolute monopoly on the internet around here.  Need the reliability for my wife's business - but they do have a 5MBps option, which is $20 cheaper, and I'm going to explore that, at least for a test drive.  Definitely going to cut off the cable tv though - only have it on now due a promo, but I'm realizing we rarely even turn the TV on anymore - wasted money.

The weird thing about the restaurants is that it is family that has made us lazy on that end.  We got so used to everyone bringing us food for so long after the birth that we never got back into a cooking routine.  Will get back into some heavy weekend cooking/freezing.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2014, 05:15:43 AM »
I suggest that you think about your goal / responsibility of tithing.

You need to decide where you fall on the tithing spectrum:

-- Tithing 10%
-- Tithing volunteer hours and in kind contributions in lieu of being able to afford a full 10%
-- Being a recepient of the tithing yourself.

I understand if you have a strong priority for tithing, but it should NOT be at the expense of your on-going savings and future for yourself and kids.
With two new babes at home and 4 kids, in my books, you may be just the kind of person I imagine my own donations are going to help out a bit.  e.g., free child support offered at the church centre, or providing hot dinners and kids night activities once a week to make your life a bit easier.

If you decide to continue to tithe, you need to have expenses that look like follows:

10% tithing
15% - 30% savings (various formats from mortgage principal to kids education fund, to retirement and short term savings)
<75% Expenses (Everything else)

See what expenses you can be inspired to cut when you think about how your expenses could prevent you from tithing fully.   
This may give you the impetus to cut more from your budget.

My realization came that I could return to full donations after my kids were older and childcare and other expenses were gone.

I think we are right in the range shown above for our savings.  6% 401K pre-tax (+5% match), 11.6% Roth post-tax, 1.5% taxable, even with the tithing.   But we could always save some more.  I do plan to bump up the 401K slowly but surely as our expenses start to normalize.  We are definely in category 1 for the tithing spectrum and plan to stay there.  Some will judge us on this I'm sure, but we have been blessed way more than we have tithed.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2014, 08:01:08 AM »
Absolute monopoly on the internet around here.  Need the reliability for my wife's business - but they do have a 5MBps option, which is $20 cheaper, and I'm going to explore that, at least for a test drive.  Definitely going to cut off the cable tv though - only have it on now due a promo, but I'm realizing we rarely even turn the TV on anymore - wasted money.

The weird thing about the restaurants is that it is family that has made us lazy on that end.  We got so used to everyone bringing us food for so long after the birth that we never got back into a cooking routine.  Will get back into some heavy weekend cooking/freezing.
Unless your wife is running a server at your house, 5Mbps should be plenty.  If she *is* running a server at home, I'd suggest you outsource that to Linode or Digital Ocean or another similar service :)

LDS?

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2014, 08:06:13 AM »
I don't have much advice to offer, but wanted to give support. We are facing the same problem (only difference is we have 2 kids). We do NOT want a bigger house (garage would be nice) but we DO want a nicer neighborhood. Why do those seem to go hand in hand? Why is it so difficult to find a small home in a beautiful, safe suburban neighborhood? I think this highlights why so many Americans are in dire financial straights. There is lack of affordable, right sized homes in good neighborhoods. Am I the only one that sees this?
What we have chosen to do currently is keep our small house in the less than stellar neighborhood (it's safe just not good schools) and send our children to our parish school. But it's not an ideal solution either.

VirginiaBob

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2014, 08:16:25 AM »
I don't have much advice to offer, but wanted to give support. We are facing the same problem (only difference is we have 2 kids). We do NOT want a bigger house (garage would be nice) but we DO want a nicer neighborhood. Why do those seem to go hand in hand? Why is it so difficult to find a small home in a beautiful, safe suburban neighborhood? I think this highlights why so many Americans are in dire financial straights. There is lack of affordable, right sized homes in good neighborhoods. Am I the only one that sees this?
What we have chosen to do currently is keep our small house in the less than stellar neighborhood (it's safe just not good schools) and send our children to our parish school. But it's not an ideal solution either.

Agreed, it appears that city planners make an assumption that people that want good schools also want huge cavernous houses.  No diversity of ideas/lifestyles is encouraged.  They assume everyone wants to be exactly the same.   Want a small house - here you go, enjoy the ghetto.

GardenFun

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2014, 08:21:43 AM »
We are definely in category 1 for the tithing spectrum and plan to stay there.  Some will judge us on this I'm sure, but we have been blessed way more than we have tithed.

+1. 
Not knocking Goldielocks - these were some good suggestions that can help many people rethink their giving and help get them out of debt and going toward FIRE.  You are saving already so that is not an issue. 

My husband hates minivans and said that if one ever shows up in the driveway, he will torch it and drink a beer while it burns.  However, in your situation it is by far the most logical choice.  Everyone I know who has one, loves them. 

acroy

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2014, 08:42:01 AM »
WOW VirginiaBob that is awesome! Congratulations.

I shared almost your exact situation a few years ago. 2kids, then had twins. We also breastfed + supplemented. Our job situations, assets etc are quite similar. Whoo! We’ve since had #5 and baking #6 now.

Before anything else: It’s a rough few months till the twins get into a routine. Keep your chin up & keep swinging! It’s hard work but it is VERY worth it and it will get easier!

Looks to me like ya’ll are generally doing pretty good

“No real interest in directly funding college education for any of my kids - I did it on my own and would expect nothing less from them”
Thumbs up!

“my wife wants us out of this school district before they are old enough”
OK I’ll use the word Homeschool. At least consider it. It has never been easier or cheaper. Darn near free. Negates all worries about districts and a lot of other positives as well.

We have family of 7 (soon 8) in 3bd/2 bath 2,000 sq feet. Quite roomy really. You can do clever things with triple bunks etc to maximize useable space. It’s never been easier to ‘live big’ in a ‘small space’. Check out some of the blogs such as
http://inashoe.com/

cars
I’ll sell you a minivan ;) 
We ended up with a Nissan Quest as it was much cheaper than Toyota/Honda. 5yrs 40k miles later, a couple small issues and no large ones, great mpg, been great. We’re about to trade up to a 12pass van.

General expenses
Sounds like you have it under control – get the taxes optimized & make sure you deduct everything for the wife’s biz! Internet, computer, desk, etc etc. My wife works a few hours a week outside the home (teaching @ gym) we can deduct gym clothes, yoga mats, mileage, etc etc. Fantastic.

Congratulations again & good luck!

Goldielocks

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2014, 10:24:11 AM »
We are definely in category 1 for the tithing spectrum and plan to stay there.  Some will judge us on this I'm sure, but we have been blessed way more than we have tithed.

+1. 
Not knocking Goldielocks - these were some good suggestions that can help many people rethink their giving and help get them out of debt and going toward FIRE.  You are saving already so that is not an issue. 

My husband hates minivans and said that if one ever shows up in the driveway, he will torch it and drink a beer while it burns.  However, in your situation it is by far the most logical choice.  Everyone I know who has one, loves them.

He he. That attitude makes it very easy to buy an old un-beautiful minivan, for the function only.  Let the savings roll.

GardenFun

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2014, 11:43:15 AM »
We are definely in category 1 for the tithing spectrum and plan to stay there.  Some will judge us on this I'm sure, but we have been blessed way more than we have tithed.

+1. 
Not knocking Goldielocks - these were some good suggestions that can help many people rethink their giving and help get them out of debt and going toward FIRE.  You are saving already so that is not an issue. 

My husband hates minivans and said that if one ever shows up in the driveway, he will torch it and drink a beer while it burns.  However, in your situation it is by far the most logical choice.  Everyone I know who has one, loves them.

He he. That attitude makes it very easy to buy an old un-beautiful minivan, for the function only.  Let the savings roll.

I hear ya.  He comes from a great family, but they are a little car-snobbish.  His current vehicle has some rust on it and it is making him crazy.  Keeps talking about getting it fixed and repainted.  Vehicle already has 213,000 miles.  I could care less about the rust, just want it to keep rolling forward (and backward...when planned). 

greenmimama

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2014, 12:29:33 PM »
You have received a lot of great advice already, I won't say it again.

I was thinking about your getting supper around dilemma, It was hard for me when our third arrived and we didn't have twins, I can only imagine what that adds.

The crockpot is your best friend!! cut up and prepare on Mon, stick it in the fridge and then plug it in Tues. morning. Best feeling ever to not have to think about it again, smell it all day long and enjoy it once you are eating it, pretty easy clean up too.

What about going to Costco and stocking up on some frozen items, maybe not hoe cooked, but keeping your head above water an cheaper than eating out, they have delicious lasagna and good pizzas, lots of choices.

And their is always cooking ahead, I bought about 8 large chicken breasts, my DH grilled them, then we cubed them and shred some, froze 2/3s of it and used the fresh in the fridge to make chicken salad. I will use the frozen to throw a quick dinner together with pasta and pesto and just reheat.

Did your church family bring you meals? Anyway you can ask for some more?  I had surgery in Feb. none of my friends brought meals, but I got up the courage to ask for help and we had about 2 weeks worth of meals at our door, it was great, and we go to try new recipes that were delicious.

Look forward to hearing updates.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Case Study: Growing Family, larger house and vehicle - punch me!
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2014, 05:03:38 PM »
Homeschooling can be done well for very cheap. If you like your neighborhood except for the schools, look at the cost of private school versus a super sized house payment.

I have 3 kids in a 2/1 with 730 square feet and it's plenty of space.