Author Topic: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids  (Read 36443 times)

soccerluvof4

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Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« on: February 24, 2014, 08:58:56 AM »

I just wanted to see if there was interest in starting a thread/forum for the larger families to compare what is or not working. I dont see alot of post on the forums in this regards. So I will start with a simple description of my family and touch on a few thoughts/ideas. Hopefully for the larger families we can come up with ideas to all work in the same direction.

I am 49 and my wife is 45. We have a 15, 14, 10, 8 year old children.  I am in ER but my wife is still working for a business I started 22 years ago about 25-30 hrs a week 100% by her doing.  She wants to do this and it helps cover the expenses of a larger family in an area of Higher cost real-estate, stupid taxes and Frigid temperatures. Our family is very Active and barely are we home any night of the week.  4 kids in select soccer so we are always traveling around the country. The business covers alot of our traveling costs and also we have no car expenses. Health insurance is stupid though costing us about 2k a month.

 We are well on our way to FI but I am much more the one thinking about "tomorrow" than my wife though she is coming around. I should mention our house is paid for and we have a second home we have been trying to sell for 2 years now. This summer we are going to price to sell. The money we are losing by not putting it to work plus the maintenance would be a huge turn around in out net worth.

Since are house is larger as some call a mini mansion we plan in 4 years either moving into a small ranch to cut all of our utility costs, property taxes (currently 9300$ a year) or just flat out moving to a more MM lifestyle/area. This would leave us with 2 kids to get through school yet and 2 off to College. It seem like everyday I think/obsess about trying to save for total FI or Kids college and all the what if's scenarios.  In the last 4-6 weeks i have shaved off at least 1k a month in expenses by following alot of the MM ways but want to do more. In addition since i took over the grocery shopping have cut our groceries in half by simply buying bulk at Sams Club and rest at Aldis. I am having fun finding new ways to save. My goal for this first year is to try to make as many changes as possible without it affecting the family and slowly teaching/changing there ways since I don't have to drop the gauntlet on them as were doing fine otherwise. I like to pick my battles. 

Again, once we sell our secondary property that will be a huge release and give me more opportunities for there college as well as adding to our FI. I guess so for the next 4-5 years till we totally retire we are in more of a compromise stage and there are somethings we just cant do without but others obviously we just dont need. For example i cut 100$ of our cable/internet bill and its effected no one. I got knocked 110$ of our gym bill by going from a tennis club/gym to a franchise. Again no affect to anyone.

So I am just reaching out to Larger Families with active kids in sports to just see what clever things people are doing to keep finding ways to live the MM way with some compromise. I hope this forum really pops because I know there are alot of us out there and I see so many of my friends with families that dont have a dime and live paycheck to paycheck.

Thanks In advance

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 09:36:47 AM »
I'm interested. Our kids are 20, 18, 15, 13, 8, & 6. Oldest did volleyball and is playing on scholarship at a D1 school. 18 year old has football offers, but will defer and first serve a church mission.  Next two do skiing, golf, music, more academically motivated. Little kids are starting piano, soccer and swimming. It's kind of a wild life, but we love it!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 09:44:07 AM »
I'm interested. Our kids are 20, 18, 15, 13, 8, & 6. Oldest did volleyball and is playing on scholarship at a D1 school. 18 year old has football offers, but will defer and first serve a church mission.  Next two do skiing, golf, music, more academically motivated. Little kids are starting piano, soccer and swimming. It's kind of a wild life, but we love it!


WOW! haha. I thought we had our hands full! Congrats on your Oldest get a D1 Scholarship and thats awesome about your 18 year old. Can you share your thoughts with paying for college or what you are doing and maybe decisions as to how it pertains to your own FI. Things you have found to work for you guys etc...  Sounds like you are super active!

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 03:43:03 PM »


WOW! haha. I thought we had our hands full! Congrats on your Oldest get a D1 Scholarship and thats awesome about your 18 year old. Can you share your thoughts with paying for college or what you are doing and maybe decisions as to how it pertains to your own FI. Things you have found to work for you guys etc...  Sounds like you are super active!

Our feeling about responsibilities toward our children... 
We believe in providing: basic needs- clean, well fed, protected; encouraging talents- we will support one sport and one music/art lesson at a time; opportunities to serve and become decent human beings- they are active in our church and do service projects and learn morals and values.  College is not something we feel obligated to provide, and our kids know this.  We do value education, and because of that, I will help my kids obtain one if they are doing all they can.  I think they should try to get all the scholarships, AP credits, concurrent enrollment that they can.  If they need help beyond this, we can step in.  But I expect them to have a part-time job and learn to manage their time and school work.  We live in a low-moderate COL western state with good options for state Universities.  Most kids around here pay their own way, which I think teaches some invaluable lessons.  However, I hate debt and if my kid is doing all they can, I will make sure that they don't have to have student loans for their Bachelor's.  That might mean that they live at home and attend the University 20 miles away.  Or they could live with Grandma and attend their parent's Alma Mater.  I don't think that dorm life is something that I am obligated to provide. 

In general, we are aiming for FI, not exactly ER.  I am just getting ready to apply for graduate school in a field I am very interested to work in for the next couple decades.  What may change when I am working is that we may move to the west coast or Hawaii, since we don't love the winter.  But who knows?  We live in a good area and if we can escape to the warmth once or twice in the winter, that might be as good. 

Other things we do to save as a family.  DIY haircuts, cut out satellite, meal plan- huge savings here, shop at Costco, have a family membership to local community center for $350/yr for all 8 of us, switching to Airvoice from AT&T, drive 2006 Honda Odyssey when we need to transport all of us, Toyota Prius when we don't, try to thrift shop for clothing, household goods.  It's definitely harder to cut back as far as a family of four can do.  We could technically live in a 4 bedroom house, but feel more comfortable in our 6 bedroom.  We do our best and are trying to teach our kids the value of saving and not buying everything "everyone" else has. 
 
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 03:46:08 PM by Mrs. Green'stache »

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 04:09:39 AM »
Our feelings about things seem pretty parallel. We have a 4 bedroom house (2 story with finished basement) so with 4 kids i built a bedroom in basement for the oldest since basement is finished and has bathroom. This way he doesn't stir up trouble with the youngest :-). We use Sams and Aldis over Costco and do DIY haircuts as well.  Toyota over Honda and with school I  should be between 2-3 years per kid for the 2 oldest at entry time. They should also get money for grades/sports as well but I dont want to bank on any of that. 2 youngest we are way ahead on.

I am sure your with me its a laugh er when a person with one or 2 kids complains about how rough they have it! haha.  And you get the " I dont know how you guys do it". I couldn't imagine it having it any other way. I would of liked to had 5 or 6 but we were getting older and have 4 healthy kids we figured we were blessed.  Anyhow thanks for sharing and as I said seems we are pretty similar in our principals.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 05:19:06 AM »
I don't consider us a "large" family at three kids (8, 9, 12), but I did want four, so does that count?  I'm not great at multitasking, though, so I finally had to accept my own limitations (took me five years to give up on the fourth).

I also think people who have one kid and complain how hard it is have no idea (other than babies--one baby can take over your life).  I'm a little more sympathetic to those who have two, because those two can interact with each other and have opposing opinions, so adding one kid way more than doubles the potential chaos in the household.  But still, it's nothing like having three or more.

We limit the activities our kids are in.  I think this is a wise move, regardless of the number of kids one has, because I think our kids are over-scheduled and over-stimulted and over-structured.  That said, I do occasionally feel guilty because we run in circles where kids are given every opportunity and though I don't really buy into it, I can find myself swayed by it at times.  Like when I imagine my kids' college entrance applications or scholarship applications--they're going to be kind of light when it comes to activities and trophies.

But honestly, I'd rather pay for college through a combination of our savings, their work, and a few loans than build a life around trying to get scholarships. 

We have a four-bedroom house, son and daughter (8 and 9) are currently sharing a room (their choice, daughter had own room and moved in with son).  But son is starting to make noises about wanting his own space, which I think is appropriate at his age.  Though I'm not exactly sure what he means about wanting his own space since he is actually in my bed most nights.  I'm the one who wants her own space!  :-)

I conceptually am for kids sharing bedrooms, but when I look at the personalities of my own two sons--they could not be more different and honestly, it would be hell for the older one (introverted, studious) to share with the younger one (wild, self-centered, likes to push buttons, doesn't respect boundaries).

Hats off to all of you--I know it's not easy!  I have mixed feelings about being told, "I couldn't do what you do," or "you're a better woman then I am" because even though it is often meant to be admiring, it sometimes feels like there are undertones of something else.  Of course you could do it,  you just do it.  Are you suggesting you were smart enough not to try it?

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 06:03:21 AM »
Between my wife and I we have 5. Only 3 live with us full time but mine do stay about 6-7 weeks throughout the year. We have a 2 story with finished basement, 2.5 bathrooms. Ages are 18, 13, 12, 10, 7.

The 18 yo is going to a state college this fall. We have explained to her that we basically cannot pay for anything. We will try but I have 58k in student loans I am still paying on. My associates degree got me my current job but I thought a bachelors would get me a better job. So far no and that was 8 years ago.

We have a suburban, not mustachian but I can't stand minivans. Plus we like to camp and make other trips with all of us so this vehicle fits our needs. My wife drives a 1996 toyota camry and daughter drives a 2001 saturn (piece of junk but it runs). The cars are paid for but we owe 10,400 on suburban.

We are new to MMM and still learning and applying daily. My wife is on board and helps a lot. We have a tank less electric water heater. I had this before I got remarried but since finding MMM I have determined that for a larger household this thing is not a good idea.

My wife shops at Aldis and whatever she cannot get there she gets at walmart. We don't have a Sam's club membership and not sure we would buy enough in bulk to make it worth the yearly cost (convince me otherwise?). Our grocery/household budget is 140-170 depending on if kids are in school or not. When they are in school we buy them school lunch ($30 for all 3). It's less hassle and planning for us.

The oldest daughter does plays. The 13 yo does football, wrestling, and track. The 7 yo nothing for now.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 07:11:17 AM »
Between my wife and I we have 5. Only 3 live with us full time but mine do stay about 6-7 weeks throughout the year. We have a 2 story with finished basement, 2.5 bathrooms. Ages are 18, 13, 12, 10, 7.

The 18 yo is going to a state college this fall. We have explained to her that we basically cannot pay for anything. We will try but I have 58k in student loans I am still paying on. My associates degree got me my current job but I thought a bachelors would get me a better job. So far no and that was 8 years ago.

We have a suburban, not mustachian but I can't stand minivans. Plus we like to camp and make other trips with all of us so this vehicle fits our needs. My wife drives a 1996 toyota camry and daughter drives a 2001 saturn (piece of junk but it runs). The cars are paid for but we owe 10,400 on suburban.

We are new to MMM and still learning and applying daily. My wife is on board and helps a lot. We have a tank less electric water heater. I had this before I got remarried but since finding MMM I have determined that for a larger household this thing is not a good idea.

My wife shops at Aldis and whatever she cannot get there she gets at walmart. We don't have a Sam's club membership and not sure we would buy enough in bulk to make it worth the yearly cost (convince me otherwise?). Our grocery/household budget is 140-170 depending on if kids are in school or not. When they are in school we buy them school lunch ($30 for all 3). It's less hassle and planning for us.

The oldest daughter does plays. The 13 yo does football, wrestling, and track. The 7 yo nothing for now.


We have 2 full and 2 half baths. The one half is in the basement and be nice to have that 3rd shower with the oldest down then but when i did a cost assesment to bust out the concrete and move the water softner/hot water tank it just wasnt feesable and when do you end.

The Sams Club thing took me awhile to figure it out. But its a huge savings and I just got a 412$ check back for the year so 2 free weeks + of groceries. There are just some items my kids eat large amounts of and things like toilet paper, papertowels you just cant beat the price. So I would definately recommend it. We dont get school lunches because my kids would starve and if were packing snacks might as well just pack a lunch.

College with larger familys we seemingly so far on this thread to be on the same path.

I hate Mini Vans as well BUT for kids and carpooling there just isnt anything better. They have really come along ways in the last 5 years and the space blows me away. I try not to drive as I prefer my Highlander :-)



I don't consider us a "large" family at three kids (8, 9, 12), but I did want four, so does that count?  I'm not great at multitasking, though, so I finally had to accept my own limitations (took me five years to give up on the fourth).

I also think people who have one kid and complain how hard it is have no idea (other than babies--one baby can take over your life).  I'm a little more sympathetic to those who have two, because those two can interact with each other and have opposing opinions, so adding one kid way more than doubles the potential chaos in the household.  But still, it's nothing like having three or more.

We limit the activities our kids are in.  I think this is a wise move, regardless of the number of kids one has, because I think our kids are over-scheduled and over-stimulted and over-structured.  That said, I do occasionally feel guilty because we run in circles where kids are given every opportunity and though I don't really buy into it, I can find myself swayed by it at times.  Like when I imagine my kids' college entrance applications or scholarship applications--they're going to be kind of light when it comes to activities and trophies.

But honestly, I'd rather pay for college through a combination of our savings, their work, and a few loans than build a life around trying to get scholarships. 

We have a four-bedroom house, son and daughter (8 and 9) are currently sharing a room (their choice, daughter had own room and moved in with son).  But son is starting to make noises about wanting his own space, which I think is appropriate at his age.  Though I'm not exactly sure what he means about wanting his own space since he is actually in my bed most nights.  I'm the one who wants her own space!  :-)

I conceptually am for kids sharing bedrooms, but when I look at the personalities of my own two sons--they could not be more different and honestly, it would be hell for the older one (introverted, studious) to share with the younger one (wild, self-centered, likes to push buttons, doesn't respect boundaries).

Hats off to all of you--I know it's not easy!  I have mixed feelings about being told, "I couldn't do what you do," or "you're a better woman then I am" because even though it is often meant to be admiring, it sometimes feels like there are undertones of something else.  Of course you could do it,  you just do it.  Are you suggesting you were smart enough not to try it?


Anyone with 3 kids by today's standards i consider a larger family! lol

I also agree especially with the demands of sports today 1 is enough. Fulfill your commitment if you want to try something else then so be it. Thanks to my oldest (snide) all my kids just play soccer so that's the easy part BUT its now year round. Seemed simpler when we were kids you could do everything and through your school and letter in 3-4 sports. We do get enjoyment out of it and alot of our travels become trips so its worth it and I wouldn't change it.

I couldn't agree more with your last sentence about deciding to have a big family but I think there are those that still just have kids because they think there suppose to .  I have a friend who treats my kids wonderfully but him and his wife would never have there own. I use to think how selfish but knowing him for so many years I respect his decision whole heartedly because they are such kids themselves and are so OCD they couldn't have kids.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 07:25:00 AM »
We have kids in a three bedroom house. I actually think it is good for them to learn to have to get along and share space. And, we are like Gray Matter where usually one ends up in my room anyway!

I buy my boy clothes new now because it became more difficult to find used things in good condition. Usually it is Lands End when they have 30% off everything, or sometimes I get things at Old Navy. Girl stuff is easier to find used, and every so often I will do that, but most often I get new for first daughter and feel it's a good deal if it lasts through two or three.

Activities are the hardest thing to navigate. Having family time is very important to me. Also, I like the idea of going deep in just a few things rather than dabble in many. My kids get piano lessons on pianos that were hand-me-downs. They can do soccer and basketball for now (different seasons), and we are going to be starting mixed martial arts soon because I can have kids 7-13 in the same class. Time efficiency is important! As time goes on, the kids that don't just love soccer and basketball will fizzle out of those.

I agree with Mes. Greenstache about service, and I support my kids doing that. They are eleven and younger, so we haven't had as much of this as I want to do in the future. We all help out at home with chores.

College is something that I don't feel we are responsible for paying the full bill. My kids have the option of going to our state schools for very cheap thanks to their dad's job. I am considering buying a townhome or simple house for them to share while there, because I am assuming that most will choose to go to the main state school since it would be nearly free.

What do you all with older ones do about vehicles for your kids? What are you comfortable providing, and what do you expect them to pay? I am thinking that if my awesome 2003 minivan is still kicking, I will allow my children to drive it when they are old enough and responsible enough. Then I would get myself a slightly newer Odyssey. Then, web they go to college, If they want a car, they can figure it out. I am really curious to hear from you guys that have experience in this area.

Also, what do you do for hotels when traveling? We are getting a condo this summer that has two sleeping areas, but sometimes we are limited in our options.


In regards to the clothes we actually save alot of money because my kids will pretty much where only soccer stuff to school even my high school kid and since I am on the board where the play soccer I get a 30% discount plus we get alot of free stuff from sponsors. For myself I do buy flannel shirts and stuff from GoodWill or find super cheap sales stuff as I dont need much.

The car thing we will be facing soon. My son just took his written test and will in August be doing the driving part. Its a double edge sword because it will help us out alot with all the running around we do everynight and he knows that so we put some rules to qualify in place. First off with boys the insurance goes up so he must have a 3.6 gpa or better or no driving. I stand firm on that plus that holds true to play soccer. School first. As far as time to drive and what to drive as I mentioned earlier when each child was born I got one of those huge water bottles you see like in offices and put change in there. This will be my Auto gift to them. Then the rest they will be responsible for with summer jobs etc.. Granted we will help out when and where we can BUT he wont know that and already knows that.  So i just keep telling them we will help with College, we will help with driving but you will be responsible for a large portion of that.

As far as Hotels and traveling for us its never an issue as far as a hotel room because my kids are never at the same place at the same time which is the negative. Usually i go one way , my wife another and the other 2 kids go with other families.  Alot of large familys in soccer with same situation so easy to always find people to work together. Even then its a costly challenge.  But there have been the few occasions we have all been in a hotel and have two blow up mattress and make it work.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 07:35:09 AM »
Not strictly qualified to comment since I only have 2. But I have been a single parent for 15 years so my parent:kid ratio is the same as a 2 parent family with 4 kids. (Oh yeah I'm the only breadwinner too, a million tiny violins….LOL).  Hehehe, a friend (2 adults 1 kid) was kind of implying I should be doing more/better/whatever than I was until I pointed out the parent:kid ratio, which stopped him dead in his tracks.

How did I do it? I optimised..everything I did served more than one purpose. I use past tense since they are nearly grown and its much easier than before. Lucky mine weren't very sporty. I did limit their extracurricular activities..2 things each I think.

We don't travel in hotels much, because our family is just the wrong shape! 3 single beds in one room - good grief what a preposterous suggestion. So either pay for 2 rooms (no, no, no, no!) or have some weird rearrangement  involving king beds and someone sleeping on the couch or the floor or no room to walk since the whole room is full of beds that are too large. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 07:45:53 AM »
When I was growing up (and I'm 25, so this was not that long ago), my hometown had a soccer league run by Parks and Rec. Kids would get dropped off on the municipal soccer field, run around and chase the ball one afternoon a week, and play a game on the weekend against another team from the town. At the time, there was also "travel" soccer, which involved serious training, practices and going to different cities for games, and it's a huge time commitment on the part of parents and children. But this was very low key, very mellow. My mother would usually drop me off to play and go to the library. About 10 years ago, the recreational, no-pressure sports league was eliminated entirely to devote more resources to year-round soccer. I've noticed this a lot--extracurriculars seem to get very serious, very fast.



Most clubs in our area usually now run the Rec department for the city as well and in return for use of field give them some monies. But not in all cases and in some counties alot of battles begin because Soccer has become such a huge sport (now number 1 youth sport in America) Your 25 and I am almost 50 so you can imagine how much of a shock this has all become to me because we would pretty much play everything in one day! Now we have kids that drive an hour to an hour and a half everyday to be part of one club or another.  The problem is if your kids love it and want to commit to one sport then if you dont participate in the year round stuff they fall behind. I look at My 15 year old vs my 9 year old and hes twice as far along (the 9 year old) because of whats changed in that short time. Sometimes i feel like a hamster on a wheel but since its the one thing they do it does simplify. My biggest thing is they have to have the grades and I constantly am trying to make sure there still having fun and try to avoid burn out. But this is all sports now. I live in the Artic Midwest and the baseball kids are starting in January indoors. Its just crazy.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 07:48:43 AM »
Not strictly qualified to comment since I only have 2. But I have been a single parent for 15 years so my parent:kid ratio is the same as a 2 parent family with 4 kids. (Oh yeah I'm the only breadwinner too, a million tiny violins….LOL).  Hehehe, a friend (2 adults 1 kid) was kind of implying I should be doing more/better/whatever than I was until I pointed out the parent:kid ratio, which stopped him dead in his tracks.

How did I do it? I optimised..everything I did served more than one purpose. I use past tense since they are nearly grown and its much easier than before. Lucky mine weren't very sporty. I did limit their extracurricular activities..2 things each I think.

We don't travel in hotels much, because our family is just the wrong shape! 3 single beds in one room - good grief what a preposterous suggestion. So either pay for 2 rooms (no, no, no, no!) or have some weird rearrangement  involving king beds and someone sleeping on the couch or the floor or no room to walk since the whole room is full of beds that are too large.


The ratio does qualify! :-) not to mention the experience.  I always try to shoot for the two double beds with the pullout couch and bring the single blow up mattress's as the will fit in areas obviously the bigger ones dont. But again its very seldom

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 08:04:34 AM »
We have three kids under 12, for now. I'm in my young 30's so more is still a possibility. I homeschool too. We stuck it out for 12 years in a 2 bedroom bungalow. We had all three sharing a room for the little one's first 18 months before we moved.

 We've never found it particularly difficult to be savers even at our income level. We're more than on-track for hubby's retirement at age 55(he thinks he'll be bored at home any sooner than that). I grew up on the poor side in a Christian family of 7 so my perspective on money and family is a bit counter-cultural. We've never carried any debt besides mortgages and a car payment.

 We're living large now. 1500 square feet with 3 bedrooms, a small unfinished basement, shed and three car garage. The kids are still sleeping one bedroom and using the other as a playroom. Last summer, we replaced the old mini-van our in-laws were so generous to give to us with a Highlander and last weekend we just bought a used pop-up camper for trips.

 I spend an average of $325 a month for food. We eat Flexitarian. I was shopping and cooking for my parents and four siblings before I was a teenager. After all these years, scratch cooking and ingredient shopping is just a habit now. I spend a good 10 hours a week in the kitchen but I think it's worth it. I enjoy it, the food tastes better and is better for us and it costs less.

 My kids were all breast-fed and cloth diapered(some purchased, some homemade). I made most of the baby food they ate during weaning. I used mostly just the clothes I was given for them instead of buying a bunch of stuff in "my style". I've never paid a babysitter. They've never been to professional photographer. I cut their hair. I buy their clothes at the thrift shop and yard sales with new underwear, jeans and pj's at Walmart. Shoes I buy online and they get three pairs: sneakers, snow boots and summer sandals.

 We've already fully funded their college accounts. We will pay for two years of community college. Their grandfather has also funded additional accounts for them which should cover at least a year of university.

 We do not plan to put them on our car insurance or give them a car or use of the family car unless they can afford to cover the cost incurred. Driving is expensive and not part of the care I feel I am responsible as a parent to provide.

I'm very old-fashioned I guess. :)

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 09:35:47 AM »
I've posted some of this on various threads, but I'll join in here too.

We have three kids. Plan to have probably one more, possibly two. DW is actually the one lobbying for it, whereas I worry about her. Her pregnancies are pretty smooth but labor is never an easy thing.

Ages are 4, 6, and 7. Oldest two are girls and they're so close in age (15 months) that we often get asked if they're twins. All 3 get along tremendously. I was really worried when we started homeschooling that cabin fever would set in after being inside all winter, but they are champs! I get restless before they do.

Raised the kids pretty conventionally at first. We tried breast feeding/pumping but it really doesn't work with my wife's schedule. If number 4 arrives, I will try cloth diapers and making our own baby food, but formula will be necessary unless we magically FI before then.

We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. 740 sqft taxable. We plan on staying here until we hit FI and then move out of state, likely to CO or OR. Plan is to put in a bathroom and bedroom in basement. I will likely have to pay a plumber to rough in drains. No idea what that will cost yet but we will get quotes soonish depending on how fast debt repayment goes. Everything else will be DIY with my super handy brother-in-law's help. That would increase our house to 3BR, 2BA, a touch under 1000 sqft, so still quite small for the number of people in it. It's plenty of space for us, though! I just wish we had more of a "homestead" type lot, with 2+ sunny acres for better gardening.

We homeschool, so moving and traveling can be done really any time without a ton of disruption. Kids don't have many friends outside of cousins, but they seem happy that way (both DW and I were extreme introverts growing up and had few friends) and do interact well with kids when they are out and about.

All of the kids were "oops" pregnancies, the first quite young (me 21, DW 22) but we've managed quite well. We're all happy and healthy, and finding the MMM community has made me (and by extension the DW) very optimistic about the future. We lived (barely) within our means but now we're socking away $10-$15K a year despite having a very high debt load. (Almost $2,000 every month goes to mortgage and student loan debt).

Edit: Forgot to add that we're more or less "anti-activity" parents. I do a lot of "field trip" type stuff and in a couple years we'll make a decision regarding our ER timeline and may increase the travel budget to get even more exposure to the kids, but I feel like schools and sports stuff run YOUR lives rather than adding a ton of value. I also hate the increased vehicle/gasoline usage most of that requires.

The only real plan I have is starting them on Tae Kwon Do. I ended just short of my black belt, so I have all the skills, but will teach them Olympic style instead of the South Korean style I learned as a kid. Martial arts are great but in my case they don't need to be taught in a school. I don't care about belts or certificates.

Music will be the one exception, but so far none of them have a ton of skill. Even there, I have the benefit of a mother who's a semi-professional classical singer, pianist, and classical guitarist. We tried in the fall but music lesson didn't quite click. May try again in a few months.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 09:49:09 AM by Thegoblinchief »

Christiana

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 10:04:36 AM »
We have four children, ages 7 down to 8 months, and live in a 900 sq ft 3 bedroom rental house for now.  One bathroom and one car.  We homeschool the oldest.  I make many things:  food from scratch, clothing, diapers, furniture.

Three scheduled events per week is about my limit--including church, doctor's appointments, and entertaining.   Everyone's saying that now is the time to sign the older two up for summer camp (one week of day camp).  I don't even want to think about it.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 10:59:42 AM »
We have five kids, aged 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1, with #6 on the way (and due on #5's birthday).  I'm 33, my wife turns 31 this year.

Cars: 
--2001 Honda Odyssey (we'll sell it and get an 8-passenger van this year)
--1995 Toyota Corolla - now that I have a 3-mile commute, I'm planning on this car being available for the kids when they're old enough to drive in another 7-9 years.
House: 
--3400 sq ft (not very mustachian, I know, but we *did* get it for a very good price!)
--4 bedrooms (generously sized),
--2.5 baths (the jack-and-jill bathroom is 8' x 13' - plenty big enough to split into two--it kills me how inefficiently our house is laid out)
--1600sq ft unfinished basement. 
All four boys share a bedroom now, and DD has her own room.  She's hoping for a baby sister.
Groceries:  DW shops at Walmart and ad-matches.  Average about $225/week.  This includes hot breakfast every morning, and lots of fresh produce in our diet.
My Amazing Wife:  Stay-at-home mom.  We took the plunge into Homeschooling this year, and she does a fantastic job.
Activities:  We allow the kids one extracurricular at a time besides swimming lessons.  So that's a theater class for our oldest, gymnastics for DD, and soccer for the 5-year-old.  Our oldest also does Cub Scouts with our church.
College:  We have no plans to pay for our kids' college education.  Our parents did not pay for our college.

Saving money:
--we limit how often we eat out--maybe once or twice per month
--no new phones.  My wife's cell phone is a hand-me-down (free!), and mine is an iPhone 3GS.  Not only old, but purchased *used*.
--Both of us are on the $10/250 minutes Airvoice plan.  When I looked at my actual use, the $50/mo I was paying for Straight Talk didn't make sense.
--Just switched from Vonage to Ooma
--No cable/satellite.  Heck, we don't even have a TV.  We *do* have a projector, which means never paying $10 for a movie ticket.
--Internet discount--we alternate between the "50% off for 6 months" and "$30/mo for 6 months" discount on AT&T DSL.  We call them every six months (as the discount is about to expire) and ask them to switch us to a new discount.
--Thermostat--ours is programmed to 68 during the day and 60 at night (10pm to 5am).  Since the furnace is running at a high duty cycle from 5-6am, it has the happy side effect of heating the bedrooms above 68 by the time we wake up.
--The only interest we pay is on our mortgage
--My computer is probably 5 years old, with no plans for replacement.
--Lots of south-facing windows that help tremendously with winter sun.
--At-home birthday parties, only on odd birthdays
--Kids won't have cell phones until they can afford to pay for their own, and maybe not even then.
--My wife hates shopping for clothes, uses little makeup, and finds jewelry a hassle.
--Shopping at Goodwill/Salvation Army/(Deseret Industries when visiting family in Utah)
--We drive to vacation destinations.
--No alcohol
--Take leftovers to work for lunch
--Shovel my own driveway, mow my own lawn
--Fix/maintain my own cars--only pay for tires and alignment
--Buy used on craigslist or Bookoo or eBay.
--Take time with big purchases, and get it right the first time, even if it costs more.  Buy once, cry once.
--Birthdays for DW and I are very low-key
--Low-cost entertaining.  Game nights with friends, an occasional Murder Mystery.
(One I wish I could do:  move to a state with less-insane tax rates.  Ugh, I hate Illinois)

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2014, 02:04:02 PM »
We have five kids, aged 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1, with #6 on the way (and due on #5's birthday).  I'm 33, my wife turns 31 this year.

Cars: 
--2001 Honda Odyssey (we'll sell it and get an 8-passenger van this year)
--1995 Toyota Corolla - now that I have a 3-mile commute, I'm planning on this car being available for the kids when they're old enough to drive in another 7-9 years.
House: 
--3400 sq ft (not very mustachian, I know, but we *did* get it for a very good price!)
--4 bedrooms (generously sized),
--2.5 baths (the jack-and-jill bathroom is 8' x 13' - plenty big enough to split into two--it kills me how inefficiently our house is laid out)
--1600sq ft unfinished basement. 
All four boys share a bedroom now, and DD has her own room.  She's hoping for a baby sister.
Groceries:  DW shops at Walmart and ad-matches.  Average about $225/week.  This includes hot breakfast every morning, and lots of fresh produce in our diet.
My Amazing Wife:  Stay-at-home mom.  We took the plunge into Homeschooling this year, and she does a fantastic job.
Activities:  We allow the kids one extracurricular at a time besides swimming lessons.  So that's a theater class for our oldest, gymnastics for DD, and soccer for the 5-year-old.  Our oldest also does Cub Scouts with our church.
College:  We have no plans to pay for our kids' college education.  Our parents did not pay for our college.

Saving money:
--we limit how often we eat out--maybe once or twice per month
--no new phones.  My wife's cell phone is a hand-me-down (free!), and mine is an iPhone 3GS.  Not only old, but purchased *used*.
--Both of us are on the $10/250 minutes Airvoice plan.  When I looked at my actual use, the $50/mo I was paying for Straight Talk didn't make sense.
--Just switched from Vonage to Ooma
--No cable/satellite.  Heck, we don't even have a TV.  We *do* have a projector, which means never paying $10 for a movie ticket.
--Internet discount--we alternate between the "50% off for 6 months" and "$30/mo for 6 months" discount on AT&T DSL.  We call them every six months (as the discount is about to expire) and ask them to switch us to a new discount.
--Thermostat--ours is programmed to 68 during the day and 60 at night (10pm to 5am).  Since the furnace is running at a high duty cycle from 5-6am, it has the happy side effect of heating the bedrooms above 68 by the time we wake up.
--The only interest we pay is on our mortgage
--My computer is probably 5 years old, with no plans for replacement.
--Lots of south-facing windows that help tremendously with winter sun.
--At-home birthday parties, only on odd birthdays
--Kids won't have cell phones until they can afford to pay for their own, and maybe not even then.
--My wife hates shopping for clothes, uses little makeup, and finds jewelry a hassle.
--Shopping at Goodwill/Salvation Army/(Deseret Industries when visiting family in Utah)
--We drive to vacation destinations.
--No alcohol
--Take leftovers to work for lunch
--Shovel my own driveway, mow my own lawn
--Fix/maintain my own cars--only pay for tires and alignment
--Buy used on craigslist or Bookoo or eBay.
--Take time with big purchases, and get it right the first time, even if it costs more.  Buy once, cry once.
--Birthdays for DW and I are very low-key
--Low-cost entertaining.  Game nights with friends, an occasional Murder Mystery.
(One I wish I could do:  move to a state with less-insane tax rates.  Ugh, I hate Illinois)


6 kids by 33! WOW. Well it sounds like you guys do an amazing job. I am just North of you and our Property Taxes are killer. I pay 9300 a year. Thats why once the first two are out we are down sizing. I want to move to a much better "tax" friendly state but were so imbedded right now in our community gotta tough it our for awhile. 

Definately seems the theme on this thread is all about having a system, usually one activity per and stretching things as far as you can. Some good stuff one here.

Carrie

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2014, 03:16:16 PM »
Yay!  I'll be joining the ranks soon.
I've got two boys, ages 7 & 2, with #3 on the way this summer.  I've been raising my youngest sister though, so we've had three kids for the past five years.  She'll be heading off to college about two weeks after the baby gets here.

We don't do any extra curricular activities right now.  The youngest is enrolled in a MMO program for $115 per month - I use that time (six hours per week) to work from home.  I'll be dropping that this summer, and we'll have a year off of any tuition before we enroll the (then 3 year old) into a montessori preschool (I'm not expecting to work from home with toddler + baby, but who knows). That's the plan any way.

I keep asking my oldest if he'd like to do an activity, but he keeps insisting he doesn't, so I won't push it on him.  We do lots of artsy type stuff around here together, and he loves playing video games (ugh) with his dad.  His school has a music program starting at 3rd grade, so we may start him on an instrument then.

We drive a 2008 Honda Odyssey, base model that we bought used when #2 was on the way (keep in mind, we also have the teen here, so we were going to be driving 5 people often enough to kinda justify... and now with a third carseat on the way, I'm glad we have it.)  I don't drive often - once per week for groceries, twice per week for MMO - which is 2 miles away.

Our house is the perfect size for our family - right at 2250 sf.  We have 4br 3ba, but right now one of those bedrooms is a study.  Teen has a suite upstairs that will likely be turned into a playroom for a few years.  Our study may have to be turned into a bedroom.... not sure yet.  Our kids tend to room in with us for at least the first two years.

I imagine our lives will get busier as these kids get older, but right now we lead a pretty chill life.  We're homebodies -- not much in the way of activities or travel just yet.  We plan to start going to national & state parks when the (unborn) baby gets to be around 2 or 3.  That gives us a solid couple of years to keep the 'stache growing!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2014, 04:45:13 AM »
Yay!  I'll be joining the ranks soon.
I've got two boys, ages 7 & 2, with #3 on the way this summer.  I've been raising my youngest sister though, so we've had three kids for the past five years.  She'll be heading off to college about two weeks after the baby gets here.

We don't do any extra curricular activities right now.  The youngest is enrolled in a MMO program for $115 per month - I use that time (six hours per week) to work from home.  I'll be dropping that this summer, and we'll have a year off of any tuition before we enroll the (then 3 year old) into a montessori preschool (I'm not expecting to work from home with toddler + baby, but who knows). That's the plan any way.

I keep asking my oldest if he'd like to do an activity, but he keeps insisting he doesn't, so I won't push it on him.  We do lots of artsy type stuff around here together, and he loves playing video games (ugh) with his dad.  His school has a music program starting at 3rd grade, so we may start him on an instrument then.

We drive a 2008 Honda Odyssey, base model that we bought used when #2 was on the way (keep in mind, we also have the teen here, so we were going to be driving 5 people often enough to kinda justify... and now with a third carseat on the way, I'm glad we have it.)  I don't drive often - once per week for groceries, twice per week for MMO - which is 2 miles away.

Our house is the perfect size for our family - right at 2250 sf.  We have 4br 3ba, but right now one of those bedrooms is a study.  Teen has a suite upstairs that will likely be turned into a playroom for a few years.  Our study may have to be turned into a bedroom.... not sure yet.  Our kids tend to room in with us for at least the first two years.

I imagine our lives will get busier as these kids get older, but right now we lead a pretty chill life.  We're homebodies -- not much in the way of activities or travel just yet.  We plan to start going to national & state parks when the (unborn) baby gets to be around 2 or 3.  That gives us a solid couple of years to keep the 'stache growing!



Congratulations on the 3rd one on the way! Your life will effeminately get busier as they get older. When our oldest was young we just put him in all sorts of programs at the YMCA because it was inexpensive and gave him an opportunity to see if he had interest in anything. Eventually he settled on Soccer and each child after him started at a younger and younger age. My last one at 3 but its good exercise for them and at that age still pretty inexpensive.  Your house is about the size i would be happy with . We have to much empty space but were locked in here for another 4 years in which then down to 2 kids we will downsize to like a 2k ranch. Hopefully if we stay in those location (which i dont want to ) the house we will finish out in.

Soccer keeps us busy but other than that we dont do much and are home bodies as well. In the rare occasions we have a night where one of them doesnt need to go to training its nice to just sit him so we dont spend alot of money on other things.

b4u2

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2014, 07:20:29 AM »
My basement is "stubbed" for a bathroom but they did it in what I consider the worst possible spot. Since one kid will be going to college soon I am not too worried about it. Before I remarried and was renting out rooms I thought about putting a bathroom down there but the renter never complained so  why add the expense.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2014, 05:19:45 PM »
Since I've posted, I've been thinking about more ways we save as a larger family.  Here are a few extra thoughts:

Food:
5- 4'x8' Square foot gardens in summer- I'm experimenting with winter sowing seeds in milk jugs.  I got my non-GMO organic seeds from Costco this year!  We have fruit trees, grapes, herbs, & berries that are perennial.  I love perennial foods because they keep producing year after year with little to no work from us.  I'm all about minimizing work.  We also have learned to bottle a few things and have gotten a pressure canner to do meat and other low acid foods.

We get 1/4-1/2 grass fed beef from family that raise them.  My FIL was making it our Christmas present, but he has moved so we will need to find our own.  We don't eat a lot of red meat, but I feel better about eating it when we get a grass fed beef that has lived a good life.

Hubby and I juice- the kids will drink it when they're sick.  We try to do a glass of green juice in the morning on weekdays.  We get organic greens, vegs, carrots, apples from Costco when our garden isn't producing.  Probably spend $20 extra/week for fruits/vegs, but we feel so much healthier when we do it.

Schools- We don't homeschool- we have decent public schools and it would have to be super corrupt in order for me to homeschool.  ;)  Lately, this has allowed me to have a part-time job.  I don't make much money, but I need 2000 work hours to apply for my master's program and that has allowed me to accomplish it.  I also have taken a college course here and there to get me ready to apply.  Being a mom of six, I love my classes and it's a great break for me.  A happy mom = a happy family!  I feel like I'm using my brain and that I'm more ready to contribute financially, should my hubby lose his job or become disabled.  It will also catapult our finances to FI when I am out of my program.

Babies- I breastfed all my children 1+ years.  This was a huge savings, but I feel like the health benefits are the real value.  I didn't cloth diaper- my hats off to you guys doing it!  If I were still having babies, I would try it. 

Toddlers- We would get annual memberships to the children's museum or zoo.  They had reciprocal agreements that let us visit other museums/zoo's around the country which was nice.  It was a good outing for all.

Kids- Our kids started out at the YMCA or local community center for sports.  Very reasonable and you can try different things and see what your kids like.  We have very athletic kids and a sports-minded dad, so "club" sports started after that.  A lot of driving and expense.  We got burned out on the first two (although sports has paid for oldest's university), so we are trying to encourage more academics and school clubs for the younger kids.  It's not entirely successful, but we are trying. :)

Teens-  We pay for teens cell phone $10 plans.  This is a convenience for us to get a hold of them and for them to contact us for rides, in case of emergency, etc.  If they want to have more features or go over that amount, it is up to them to pay. 

Travel- we need two hotel rooms or a VRBO condo for our family.  The condos are great because we have access to a full kitchen and W/D, which helps with a large family.  Everyone shares a bed.  My parents have an RV made for six people, but we make it work so we can take inexpensive trips.  We are taking the whole family to Hawaii for 9 days, staying in a VRBO condo and flying cheapo Allegiant air out of Vegas.  It's still a pricey trip, but we are doing pretty well if you figure out the per person cost.  We believe that taking trips together and having those memories are worth the price.  Kids grow up and leave home way too soon!

Home- We try to DIY whatever we can.  I'm the designated DIY girl- appliance repair, furniture repair, home repair, unless something needs brute strength.  Hubby is less enthusiastic about projects- he'd rather pay someone.  I still get him to do things from time to time. 

ruthiegirl

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2014, 05:49:19 PM »
Hey Big Families----we have 4 kids (12, 10, 6 and 2) and I love it! 

How do we do it?  I get asked this all the time.  "My god, Ruth, how do you do it with four kids?!?!"  I tell people I do it with love and style. 

What works for us:

1 minivan, paid off
3 bedroom, 1 bath duplex close to schools
lots of beans, rice, and vegetables
thrift shops for clothes
hiking/camping is our summer fun

And I breastfeed and have cloth diapered and all of that good stuff. 

Our big expense is sports.  We have 3 boys and they need a good amount of running around.  Soccer in the fall, swim team during the rainy, wet winter, baseball in the spring.  My dh coaches and refs, I am always team mom, so it is a big family activity for us and we like it that way.  Soccer and baseball are super low cost, swimming less so.

We used to homeschool, but recently moved across the country to an area with terrific schools.  This has been a huge money saver for us.  Where I used to pay for private music lessons, now my older kids do youth symphony at school.  I used to pay for math and science programs, now it is all included in school.  There have been some supplies and fees, but significantly less than what I used to spend.  Homeschooling can be done on the cheap, but I was never very good at getting our costs down.

I haven't had to deal with cars and phones yet.  I am not crazy about teens having phones and we purposefully moved to this lovely, bikeable town just so we wouldn't have to drive a lot.  Thankfully, we have instilled our kids with a deep sense of environmental, hippie love, so maybe they will be content riding their bikes.

And we have been very lucky...we have healthy, easy going kids.  I know families with sick kids who will be in debt to doctors/hospitals forever.  I remind myself of this all the time. 

1967mama

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2014, 06:32:43 PM »
Happy to join this forum!   

Hopefully, we can share ideas here on many things related to our wonderful, happy, crazy, large families!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 12:07:35 AM by 1967mama »

MDM

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2014, 11:09:02 PM »
Five kids, ages 12 to 26. 

Major cost saving items, off the top of my head:
-  Bunk beds to fit in 3 bedroom house.
-  Keeping cars for >15 years (would have averaged longer except chronic transmission problems on one minivan) and buying used for cash when we needed to replace.
-  Having kids (by their own choice) accept great merit-based scholarships at very good universities rather than pay full freight at "more selective" places. 
-  Not taking (too many) expensive vacations.  Can't say we never overspent - but even MMM himself admits to being young and foolish once upon a time.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 06:07:09 AM »
Since I've posted, I've been thinking about more ways we save as a larger family.  Here are a few extra thoughts:

Food:
5- 4'x8' Square foot gardens in summer- I'm experimenting with winter sowing seeds in milk jugs.  I got my non-GMO organic seeds from Costco this year!  We have fruit trees, grapes, herbs, & berries that are perennial.  I love perennial foods because they keep producing year after year with little to no work from us.  I'm all about minimizing work.  We also have learned to bottle a few things and have gotten a pressure canner to do meat and other low acid foods.

We get 1/4-1/2 grass fed beef from family that raise them.  My FIL was making it our Christmas present, but he has moved so we will need to find our own.  We don't eat a lot of red meat, but I feel better about eating it when we get a grass fed beef that has lived a good life.

Hubby and I juice- the kids will drink it when they're sick.  We try to do a glass of green juice in the morning on weekdays.  We get organic greens, vegs, carrots, apples from Costco when our garden isn't producing.  Probably spend $20 extra/week for fruits/vegs, but we feel so much healthier when we do it.

Schools- We don't homeschool- we have decent public schools and it would have to be super corrupt in order for me to homeschool.  ;)  Lately, this has allowed me to have a part-time job.  I don't make much money, but I need 2000 work hours to apply for my master's program and that has allowed me to accomplish it.  I also have taken a college course here and there to get me ready to apply.  Being a mom of six, I love my classes and it's a great break for me.  A happy mom = a happy family!  I feel like I'm using my brain and that I'm more ready to contribute financially, should my hubby lose his job or become disabled.  It will also catapult our finances to FI when I am out of my program.

Babies- I breastfed all my children 1+ years.  This was a huge savings, but I feel like the health benefits are the real value.  I didn't cloth diaper- my hats off to you guys doing it!  If I were still having babies, I would try it. 

Toddlers- We would get annual memberships to the children's museum or zoo.  They had reciprocal agreements that let us visit other museums/zoo's around the country which was nice.  It was a good outing for all.

Kids- Our kids started out at the YMCA or local community center for sports.  Very reasonable and you can try different things and see what your kids like.  We have very athletic kids and a sports-minded dad, so "club" sports started after that.  A lot of driving and expense.  We got burned out on the first two (although sports has paid for oldest's university), so we are trying to encourage more academics and school clubs for the younger kids.  It's not entirely successful, but we are trying. :)

Teens-  We pay for teens cell phone $10 plans.  This is a convenience for us to get a hold of them and for them to contact us for rides, in case of emergency, etc.  If they want to have more features or go over that amount, it is up to them to pay. 

Travel- we need two hotel rooms or a VRBO condo for our family.  The condos are great because we have access to a full kitchen and W/D, which helps with a large family.  Everyone shares a bed.  My parents have an RV made for six people, but we make it work so we can take inexpensive trips.  We are taking the whole family to Hawaii for 9 days, staying in a VRBO condo and flying cheapo Allegiant air out of Vegas.  It's still a pricey trip, but we are doing pretty well if you figure out the per person cost.  We believe that taking trips together and having those memories are worth the price.  Kids grow up and leave home way too soon!

Home- We try to DIY whatever we can.  I'm the designated DIY girl- appliance repair, furniture repair, home repair, unless something needs brute strength.  Hubby is less enthusiastic about projects- he'd rather pay someone.  I still get him to do things from time to time.


I am putting in 4 raised garden beds this spring divided to make 8 plots. I think this will not only give us alot of veggies but also good for the kids to work in.

Like you sports is our big thing and we did the YMCA thing in the beginning with the 2 oldest. The two youngest we didnt have to be part of the YMCA anymore because they wanted to follow there older siblings into Soccer.



soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2014, 06:13:43 AM »
Hey Big Families----we have 4 kids (12, 10, 6 and 2) and I love it! 

How do we do it?  I get asked this all the time.  "My god, Ruth, how do you do it with four kids?!?!"  I tell people I do it with love and style. 

What works for us:

1 minivan, paid off
3 bedroom, 1 bath duplex close to schools
lots of beans, rice, and vegetables
thrift shops for clothes
hiking/camping is our summer fun

And I breastfeed and have cloth diapered and all of that good stuff. 

Our big expense is sports.  We have 3 boys and they need a good amount of running around.  Soccer in the fall, swim team during the rainy, wet winter, baseball in the spring.  My dh coaches and refs, I am always team mom, so it is a big family activity for us and we like it that way.  Soccer and baseball are super low cost, swimming less so.

We used to homeschool, but recently moved across the country to an area with terrific schools.  This has been a huge money saver for us.  Where I used to pay for private music lessons, now my older kids do youth symphony at school.  I used to pay for math and science programs, now it is all included in school.  There have been some supplies and fees, but significantly less than what I used to spend.  Homeschooling can be done on the cheap, but I was never very good at getting our costs down.

I haven't had to deal with cars and phones yet.  I am not crazy about teens having phones and we purposefully moved to this lovely, bikeable town just so we wouldn't have to drive a lot.  Thankfully, we have instilled our kids with a deep sense of environmental, hippie love, so maybe they will be content riding their bikes.

And we have been very lucky...we have healthy, easy going kids.  I know families with sick kids who will be in debt to doctors/hospitals forever.  I remind myself of this all the time.



I love the answer "with love and style" gotta borrow that one!  We live in a very good school system so we are happy with that as well and heck were paying taxes for it so might as well take advantage of it!


Five kids, ages 12 to 26. 

Major cost saving items, off the top of my head:
-  Bunk beds to fit in 3 bedroom house.
-  Keeping cars for >15 years (would have averaged longer except chronic transmission problems on one minivan) and buying used for cash when we needed to replace.
-  Having kids (by their own choice) accept great merit-based scholarships at very good universities rather than pay full freight at "more selective" places. 
-  Not taking (too many) expensive vacations.  Can't say we never overspent - but even MMM himself admits to being young and foolish once upon a time.




Having Kids by Choice I COULDNT AGREE MORE! its a lifestyle one must want to have and then living it is alot easier and fun!!! well said





8 kids! WOW....so blessed! Kudos for your acknowledgement of your husband and I hope/am sure he feels the same about you! People with large familys just figure it out! And maybe you wont get to FI when the rest of the world but your experience and memories with your kids...........Priceless!
Happy to join this forum! We are parents of eight kids, aged 22, 20, 18, 16, 13, 10, 8 and 6. I am a SAHM and homeschool the 5 youngest - the oldest 3 have already graduated, although they all still live at home. 

ER/FI seems an eternity away for us, but we try, try, try to be careful with our money, and since finding MMM last fall, I've been plowing my way through "all the posts since the beginning of time" and often read them aloud to my husband.

He works SO hard to provide for us, and we are dreaming of the possibility of him retiring in 10 years at the age of 59. Its hard to figure out what our annual living expenses will be like in 10 years. i.e.: how many kids will still live at home? what will our life look like? what will our needs be? He used to joke that he is on the "Freedom 85" plan, but we are definitely not thinking that way any longer! :-)

Hopefully, we can share ideas here on many things related to our wonderful, happy, crazy, large families!

b4u2

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2014, 07:05:03 AM »
For cheap vacations we use to tent camp. Too many bad (rain/cold) trips so we finally bought a toy hauler. Yes it is a little pricey and unmastachian but we all love it. All 7 of can sleep in it either using the floors or a small tent if it happens to be nice. Even just weekend trips to local campgrounds to get away from the house are nice. Plus it gives us more family time. We do more things together, play cards and board games, fish, play bags or ladder toss, toss baseball/football, hike, ride bicycles, all great stuff.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2014, 09:28:34 AM »
For cheap vacations we use to tent camp. Too many bad (rain/cold) trips so we finally bought a toy hauler. Yes it is a little pricey and unmastachian but we all love it. All 7 of can sleep in it either using the floors or a small tent if it happens to be nice. Even just weekend trips to local campgrounds to get away from the house are nice. Plus it gives us more family time. We do more things together, play cards and board games, fish, play bags or ladder toss, toss baseball/football, hike, ride bicycles, all great stuff.


I like that idea!!!!!

greenmimama

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2014, 08:20:10 AM »
I love to be included in this, we only have 3 children, but I think it's funny people think that is big :) We just have too many friends who have 5+children, so our 3 seems small.

We have 3 boys 2,4,and 7 so these things we have found work, but we don't yet have experience with raising older children.

I drive a 2003 Honda Odyssey, love the mini van, space in case of an accident is my number one reason, love the space as we have remodeled though, it comes in really handy when you don't have a truck.

Just in 2013 we replaced our 98 Subaru, now we have a 2010 Vibe for my DH to commute with

We have a huge house that is a slow flip and we hope to sell it later this year and turn around and buy our next home with cash and hopefully have enough leftover to buy a small rental place too to supplement our income, and just invest in something other than mutual funds.

We cloth diapered for almost 7consecutive years, saved a bunch!
We used donor milk for our newborns (We adopted and I tried hard to induce lactation, but to no avail)
They so far have only had swimming lessons
I have asked multiple times, but they aren't yet interested in sports or activities, maybe soon?
We homeschool, just since Jan though, so far it's been great and I love having them home with me.
We eat simply and that saves a lot
Buy our beef local as a half a cow
We have our own chickens, but honestly that has been a lot more expensive than buying the eggs, at this point they are pets, that give us some food, but we don't even break even on selling the eggs
We don't have a dog, this saves us a ton of money :)
We knew we wouldn't want to vacation a lot because of the price and hassle of taking car seats and 3 kids in one hotel room etc...
So we bought a little trailer on a lake, a whole community of them here, it might not be cheaper than a vacation, but it is 10 min from our house, we have my in laws are there, and so is my Brother in law and his family, it is easy to get to , stay, and have good fun and the kids have the freedom to ride their bikes and go fishing, it's been a life saver, we even lived there the summer of 12, while we were getting our house ready to move into, it saved us a lot of money. We'll probably keep it forever, we can rent it out and I would love to rent it enough to pay the yearly dues and taxes, that would be great!

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2014, 10:13:12 PM »
we have five kids, like many others I try to limit after school activities, but the truth is that most of my kids arent really into sports. two kids are learning piano via youtube (they are, in my tone deaf opinion, very talented and play by ear. dh plays and says their technique is spot on too, so I'm lucky that we live in an age of youtube), my dd takes guitar lessons once per week and one of my kids does karate twice per week. my little girl wants to take ballet, tap, gymnastics and karate but we'll see about that. right now we just play outside :)

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who doesnt feel obligated to pay for college. I put myself through school and got a very decent education/degree/job from state and city universities. depending on where I am financially I might pay some of that, but I'm not making any promises.

as far as traveling and hotel rooms, we take very few vacations, but we've found it less expensive to rent a house. its more spacious, usually we get a private pool and other amenities, and the full kitchen makes it easy to cook, so no eating out also saves money. I've found that if you book last minute, the owner will negotiate rates. no one wants his rental home sitting empty! last time we rented a gorgeous 6 bedroom home with pool for a week for less than what one hotel room would've cost for that week in that area.

my big issue right now is getting our grocery bill down. I keep reading here about people eating less than $300/mo and I know they are smaller families, but lets just say my food bill is waaaay higher than that.

homehandymum

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2014, 11:56:37 PM »
I'll also chime in.  I've got 3 children, which is that borderline size - some people think we're being reckless profligates and contributing madly to overpopulation while others think we are being stingy with our love by stopping at three.  Such is life :)

As far as money goes, we both think that the big decisions are the big ones when it comes to finances.  There's no point making your own laundry powder if you're overextended on cars and house.

We have two cars, both bought very used, a 1999 Toyota Estima (aka Previa) ,and a Hyundai Lantra of roughly the same vintage.  The Hyundai is what my DH uses to get to work, and the Estima does family duty.  the Estima is the only one with Collision coverage (I think you call it?  where if I hit something then the damage to our car gets repaired and so does any other damage).  The Hyundai just has 3rd party, fire, and theft coverage, both with high deductibles.

We live in a modest 3br house, 1 bath, 1 living room, 1 detached garage.  I've been sorely tempted to up-size in the last couple of years - to have another bathroom and a second living space would be great.  But in this part of the world, that means moving from a house value of about $255k to closer to $400k.  That's an awfully expensive toilet.  So for now we stay put.  And there are a lot of great things about our current house which I'm happy to keep.

We homeschool.  I take a relaxed eclectic approach, which means I don't pay tons of money for a full curriculum.  I pick and choose resources for the reading, writing, math component for each child, and basically rely on the internet and the library for books and projects for the other subjects.  Any poor curriculum choice can usually be flipped on the second hand circuit, and new resources to try can usually be found the same way.

Of course, we do the small things too:
- making our own laundry powder
- drink homemade kombucha or tap water, not bought drinks
- meal plan and shopping to a list.  Actual numbers will be meaningless due to the whole different country thing, but we try and spend what is generally considered a very budget amount, while keeping the quality good (i.e. no processed foods, lots of veg, real meat, very little sugar and flour, all made from scratch)
- limiting kids' activities - 1 activity per child at a time, and preferably overlapping.  i.e softball or basketball but not both for a single child. And they have to be within budget - art classes last year were awesome but completely fragged our budget, so we're not doing that this year.
- We have a chest freezer and buy beef by the half-beast
- we have 4 backyard chickens.  Not really cheaper than buying eggs, but as far as pets go, they at least give something back.
- weekly trips to the city library instead of buying books.  We had vouchers for a book shop so last week I took the children.  They suffered total sticker shock, and couldn't believe how expensive new books are. (and they are here, much pricier than buying them online because of import duties and taxes).

And the non-mustachian:
- One geriatric cat who needs daily medication and a special diet and 6-monthly blood tests.  All my frugal ancestors are undoubtedly turning in their graves, rolling their eyes and saying things like "a bullet only costs 5c".  But he's a honey and he'll live out his days in warmth and caring in our house.
- DH plays Magic the Gathering, which can be ridiculously expensive.  But to give him full credit, he usually translates his winnings in tournaments into store credit which he uses to pay entry into the next tournament, and he doesn't spend much on cards at all anymore. 
- I'm a quilter, which occasionally manifests as insane fabric purchases.  But to give myself full credit, I try to use my fabric stash as much as I can, and only add to it if it is actually truly necessary.  truly :)  And I like to use reclaimed/upcycled fabrics too i.e. shirts etc from op shops (I think you call them goodwill shops?).  My basic self-defense is to just stay out of fabric stores.

Lovely to meet you all.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2014, 05:21:49 AM »
I am glad alot of people are chiming in. I hope people come back to the site to add to it and view what others are doing.

I see homeschooling is common on here with larger families. This is something we chose not to do only because we pay stupid money to live in a very good school district (best in state).  We have no choice because our business is here.

It also seems that alot of larger families just figure it out what it takes to make it happen because they made the choice to have a larger family and thats awesome.  And I agree that way to many people that consider 3,4 or even 5 kids alot are wrong IMHO but respect those that have lesser size families if any kids at all than those that just chose to have them because of society or? Doesnt make them bad people and I respect there choice just as I wish people just respected ours.

Alot of raising big family decisions and making it and providing come seemingly more out of a bigger need of necessity unless a person/couple is doing really well and I think Parents of the Larger families seem to be the most creative.

My big thing is trying to be a good parent but still finding some me time for my wife and I. How are people doing on that? please share. I dont want to be at a point where all the kids move out and then its just the 2 of us and the "Now what".

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2014, 05:50:21 AM »
Here's something I hope you can help me with:  sibling squabbles! 

They are driving me CRAZY!!!!!!!!

My three (8, 9, 12) have always been pretty close, gotten along well, chose to share a room even though they didn't have to, etc.  When other parents would complain about their children fighting, I secretly/smugly felt so grateful that my kids loved each other and were friends.  (Pride goeth before a fall and all that.)

It has changed and I don't know why.  Not sure if it's just their ages or if something else is going on, but they love to push each others' buttons, and they're good at it.  Bicker, bicker, bicker, all day long.

My tendency has been not to intervene, but encourage then to sort it out.  But my middle child is quite self-centered and stubborn and will hold out until the others give in or continue being so obnoxious they end up giving him his own way.  But I'm only half paying attention, so when I intervene, I'm not sure I have all the facts, so that's not fair.  I really want to teach them skills:  how to compromise, negotiate, walk away, etc.

Any advice?

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2014, 08:42:37 AM »
My kids are in a similar stage, though they've hit the squabbling stage at much younger ages (3,5,7,9).  One thing we're trying: service.  If you hurt someone (physically, verbally, etc) you need to do something nice for them--do their morning chore, clean their room, etc.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2014, 09:08:21 AM »

My big thing is trying to be a good parent but still finding some me time for my wife and I. How are people doing on that? please share. I dont want to be at a point where all the kids move out and then its just the 2 of us and the "Now what".

We believe in weekly dates, and trips without the kids.  Sometimes our date is going to watch a kid's basketball game- but we don't bring the other kids.  Sometimes it is a typical date.  It is helpful if you have a grandparent, sibling, or friend you can get to watch the kids.  When DH and I go somewhere alone, we are able to focus on each other entirely.  It's good to have those times to rejuvenate your marriage.  I have a sister that won't go anywhere without her kids and I don't think it's healthy.  Like you said, you don't want the kids to move out, look at your spouse, and think "who are you?".

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2014, 10:12:49 AM »
Here's something I hope you can help me with:  sibling squabbles! 

They are driving me CRAZY!!!!!!!!

My three (8, 9, 12) have always been pretty close, gotten along well, chose to share a room even though they didn't have to, etc.  When other parents would complain about their children fighting, I secretly/smugly felt so grateful that my kids loved each other and were friends.  (Pride goeth before a fall and all that.)

It has changed and I don't know why.  Not sure if it's just their ages or if something else is going on, but they love to push each others' buttons, and they're good at it.  Bicker, bicker, bicker, all day long.

My tendency has been not to intervene, but encourage then to sort it out.  But my middle child is quite self-centered and stubborn and will hold out until the others give in or continue being so obnoxious they end up giving him his own way.  But I'm only half paying attention, so when I intervene, I'm not sure I have all the facts, so that's not fair.  I really want to teach them skills:  how to compromise, negotiate, walk away, etc.

Any advice?


I think you just got away with it alot longer than most. I have a 8 boy 10 boy 14g and 15b and they have always squabbled. But at the end of the day they would rather spend time with each other when there not playing soccer. Just wish they could give us and hour or two a night of peace but not holding my breath.  Also always here how great they are when they go to someone elses house even if together....argh!!! You figure that one out let me know but it gets worse as they get older.







soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2014, 10:15:47 AM »

My big thing is trying to be a good parent but still finding some me time for my wife and I. How are people doing on that? please share. I dont want to be at a point where all the kids move out and then its just the 2 of us and the "Now what".

We believe in weekly dates, and trips without the kids.  Sometimes our date is going to watch a kid's basketball game- but we don't bring the other kids.  Sometimes it is a typical date.  It is helpful if you have a grandparent, sibling, or friend you can get to watch the kids.  When DH and I go somewhere alone, we are able to focus on each other entirely.  It's good to have those times to rejuvenate your marriage.  I have a sister that won't go anywhere without her kids and I don't think it's healthy.  Like you said, you don't want the kids to move out, look at your spouse, and think "who are you?".


We have sporting events every night and every weekend.  2 weeks ago my daughter went had to go to Las Vegas for a Soccer tournament and we thought it be great time for us to have some alone time NOT.  We do get out for a few hours once or so every two weeks but just have to make a bigger effort at it I guess. With a 15 and a 14 year old you think it would be easier since they can watch the younger ones but its not.

homehandymum

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2014, 12:55:02 PM »

My big thing is trying to be a good parent but still finding some me time for my wife and I. How are people doing on that? please share. I dont want to be at a point where all the kids move out and then its just the 2 of us and the "Now what".

We believe in weekly dates, and trips without the kids.  Sometimes our date is going to watch a kid's basketball game- but we don't bring the other kids.  Sometimes it is a typical date.  It is helpful if you have a grandparent, sibling, or friend you can get to watch the kids.  When DH and I go somewhere alone, we are able to focus on each other entirely.  It's good to have those times to rejuvenate your marriage.  I have a sister that won't go anywhere without her kids and I don't think it's healthy.  Like you said, you don't want the kids to move out, look at your spouse, and think "who are you?".

We have sporting events every night and every weekend.  2 weeks ago my daughter went had to go to Las Vegas for a Soccer tournament and we thought it be great time for us to have some alone time NOT.  We do get out for a few hours once or so every two weeks but just have to make a bigger effort at it I guess. With a 15 and a 14 year old you think it would be easier since they can watch the younger ones but its not.

I hear what you're saying about it being harder as the kids get older.  Ours are all still 10 and under, so we are able to set aside one evening a week as a date night, even without leaving the house - we just send the kids to bed a bit earlier :)  Can't see that working when they're 15.

Regarding bickering, I've noticed it getting worse in our house with our eldest girl hitting the pre-adolescent hormones.  Ugh.  Like Gray Matter, I try to get them to sort it out themselves, but to be honest it usually involves me separating them or sending them all outside! 

I console myself with something that Diane Levy said: If your children never argue or fight then you have a problem - they have likely sorted themselves into a relationship where one person is the boss and always gets their way and the other person always rolls over and says ok.  If they're arguing then they're both learning negotiation skills (albeit negotiating like children). 

Lots of negotiation in our house :)

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2014, 01:01:11 PM »
I agree. And to a certain point i think its healthy they fight for there rights/space etc..  As long as the love is there between them i can deal with some of the bickering.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2014, 01:43:23 PM »
No great wisdom on the kids' fighting. My DW tends to intervene quite a bit, whereas I'll typically let them sort it out - unless the volume hits a certain threshold OR hitting/violence gets involved. If you want them to learn 'negotiation' you have to let them negotiate.

With our work schedules, it's hard to get a night out of the house alone. In winter, we try to make our alone time right after dinner. Let kids watch TV, while we go upstairs, locking a door if necessary. In nicer weather, we can take them to the park and have a nice conversation while they play. YMMV.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2014, 02:37:20 PM »
We have three young kids, two of whom are home sick today, so this will be a quick post.

I am a big fan of Faber and Mazlish, particularly this book regarding sibling relationships: http://www.amazon.com/Siblings-Without-Rivalry-Children-Together/dp/0393342212/ref=la_B000APW64I_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393882515&sr=1-2

I can't recommend it highly enough.

MDM

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2014, 03:30:19 PM »
Here's something I hope you can help me with:  sibling squabbles! 

...

My tendency has been not to intervene, but encourage then to sort it out.  But my middle child is quite self-centered and stubborn and will hold out until the others give in or continue being so obnoxious they end up giving him his own way.  But I'm only half paying attention, so when I intervene, I'm not sure I have all the facts, so that's not fair.  I really want to teach them skills:  how to compromise, negotiate, walk away, etc.

Any advice?

YMMV, but one things that seems to have worked for us was this:
If I (Dad) came upon a situation where one child was laughing and the other was crying, then the laugher was in big trouble with me.  This policy was well publicized. 

Did it stop all squabbles?  Of course not.  But did the kids seem to learn that in the long run it was better to treat each other well instead of teasing, and do they all now (most are in college or older) get along very well?  Yes.

Good luck.

homehandymum

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2014, 04:06:19 PM »
YMMV, but one things that seems to have worked for us was this:
If I (Dad) came upon a situation where one child was laughing and the other was crying, then the laugher was in big trouble with me.  This policy was well publicized. 

Did it stop all squabbles?  Of course not.  But did the kids seem to learn that in the long run it was better to treat each other well instead of teasing, and do they all now (most are in college or older) get along very well?  Yes.

Good luck.

Great plan.  I like how you've phrased it - easy for all to understand.  In our house we say "It's only a game if everyone is having fun".

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2014, 07:28:31 PM »
no advice about the squabbles, we've had sibling squabbles since the day I brought #2 home from the hospital.

re couples time, its hard. we dont manage to do date nights, once in a while we will go out for brunch and we try to get a day trip together once or twice a year. the big thing for us is that we have our morning coffee together every morning and the kids know they arent invited (the dog sometimes joins us but thats ok because he doesnt interrupt our conversation). its a nice way to start the day. we also go to bed at the same time every night, which is nice too.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2014, 04:36:46 AM »
Here's something I hope you can help me with:  sibling squabbles! 

...

My tendency has been not to intervene, but encourage then to sort it out.  But my middle child is quite self-centered and stubborn and will hold out until the others give in or continue being so obnoxious they end up giving him his own way.  But I'm only half paying attention, so when I intervene, I'm not sure I have all the facts, so that's not fair.  I really want to teach them skills:  how to compromise, negotiate, walk away, etc.

Any advice?

YMMV, but one things that seems to have worked for us was this:
If I (Dad) came upon a situation where one child was laughing and the other was crying, then the laugher was in big trouble with me.  This policy was well publicized. 

Did it stop all squabbles?  Of course not.  But did the kids seem to learn that in the long run it was better to treat each other well instead of teasing, and do they all now (most are in college or older) get along very well?  Yes.

Good luck.


I like that and it worked for awhile UNTIL my kids figured it out . The big thing now is they know what to say to get each other in trouble so now its military style for awhile. The all get punished. Or if they say " I didnt do it , I will  make all 4 sit at the kitchen counter till one admits they did it." This one works!



no advice about the squabbles, we've had sibling squabbles since the day I brought #2 home from the hospital.

re couples time, its hard. we dont manage to do date nights, once in a while we will go out for brunch and we try to get a day trip together once or twice a year. the big thing for us is that we have our morning coffee together every morning and the kids know they arent invited (the dog sometimes joins us but thats ok because he doesnt interrupt our conversation). its a nice way to start the day. we also go to bed at the same time every night, which is nice too.


My wife and I get up usually by 4:30 so we get time in the morning like that but we are usually in our home office , drinking coffee and talking about things of the day while doing some work. Its nice but we still need to make a better effort of getting out if not for ice cream and a laugh once a week. Now its usually event related and thats not very intimate.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2014, 07:31:56 AM »
Just read this and thought I would share here:

www.madfientist.com/how-to-retire-early-with-13-kids/

homehandymum

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2014, 01:56:55 PM »
Just read this and thought I would share here:

www.madfientist.com/how-to-retire-early-with-13-kids/

That just landed in my inbox this morning  :)  I thought it was great!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2014, 02:59:06 PM »
OK after reading that 4 kids is easy! :-)

nyxst

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2014, 09:49:44 PM »
Single mom with three kids (ages 15, 8, and 4).  I get the "I don't know how you do it" a lot too. I think the only crappy part about single parenting is that I have to work full time so we can get everything we want/need in our lives. I would much rather spend more time parenting, but they are at school most of my work hours anyway. They are great kids!  Even though their ages are so different they still bicker and push each others buttons constantly. Which can either be maddening or almost comical at times for me :) I nursed them and cloth diapered. I cook all the meals. Oldest is a great help. Middle is my son and we just try our best to run his energy out each day :) babseball season helps me with that soon! And karate class. Youngest is proud to be finally in school (half day pre-k) so she can do homework with the rest of them during homework time :) I was an only child and was bored a lot, so watching this arrangement can be so funny!  I am working on my BA so I can get a better job and they love see MY report cards :) haha! I have thought a lot about it and I think they will find their own way to pay for college ( with my help of course) but I would rather get myself FI and not b a burdon on them later in life than pay for school. We ride bikes a lot! We have one minivan (2006 that I got for $1000!) And I only owe a little on my home, so we are doing pretty good I think :) I have 4 bedrooms, but only one bathroom.... That will be my next home improvement though... It definitely all keeps life interesting! And the days that its overwhelming, I just remind myself that someday they will all grow up and leave and I will miss the chaos.

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Re: Larger Family Forum-how are you doing it ? 3+ kids
« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2014, 10:21:54 PM »
We have four: one is on her own, married and working (23), one is an engineering student in college and still at home (19), but covers his own transportation, college books, entertainment, clothing, etc., and the other two are 15 and 13.  I expect the 15-year-old to be dependent a little longer because he has some developmental delays.

Since my husband is a 90% disabled veteran, the state of California covers tuition for our kids.  They only have to pay for books and parking.  Our oldest has moved to Arizona and can't take advantage of that, but her company offers education benefits, so she's in good shape, too.