People message me a lot asking me “how do you afford to have all those kids, what do you do to save money?” I have a cycle I go through where I am really great at doing little things here and there to save money for our family and then chaos hits and I have to cut out things from our life that are not just money saving but time saving! I end up going back to having to spend money to save time and sanity! I’m coming back into a place where I can spend more time and effort on saving money here and there and thought I would share those tips with you over the next few posts or so. We have gone on a TIGHT budget since moving into the new house and every penny has to be accounted for in order to make things work for us. Like I’ve said before, we are not on any government assistance so we have to be wise with what God has allowed for our family and trust that HE will supply all our needs and try our best to be good stewards with what he has given us. We have the desire to be debt free, however that will take us several years to actually accomplish. So for now we are just going to do the best we can to start the steps for that process.
The first thing we’ve done is set up a budget. I went online and checked out Dave Ramsey’s website. In order to save money, I signed up for the free trial for his online budgeting. I did it for a few days then canceled because I felt that I could successfully set up something even better in Excel to track our spending in…and I did! I did get some great tips from his website for setting up a budget! Such as “Every penny needs to have a name!” I had a tough time with this at first because we tend to run into a lot of unexpected expenses during the week and I have to purchase things, medications, or co-pays at doctors visits that I did not anticipate. However, I’ve learned that I need to allow a category for these items!
Once we set up our budget we began! The first month we held to it loosely because we wanted to see where all our money was going and if there was anywhere that we could tighten the reigns a bit. This gave us a good idea of things we could start looking at in order to save. We do not use credit cards to purchase items unless it is a complete emergency- which the last time we had to do that was when we were first married over 9 years ago. So most of our saving tips in this series are not going to be the typical “cut back on spending” because to be honest- we are not huge spenders anyways! We actually only “shop” for things that we don’t need ONCE a year at Christmas time. The rest of the year it is only necessities!
So, since we have so many children, I will start by how we save money regarding them!
Clothes: We believe that God supplies all our needs. We have lots of hand-me-downs and we make sure to keep everything from each child that we would be able to re-use. We have boxes of clothes in the attic! Because we have so many children and floor space is more important than clothes space- we do not use dressers and we limit how many outfits at a time we have out. This not only gives us more space, but it also aids in not having a tremendous amount of laundry to wash all the time! We limit each child to about 10 outfits in the summer and 7-8 in the winter. We then have a 3 drawer bin for each child stacked on top of each other in the laundry room with their names on them. Once they have soiled an outfit to where I do not want them to wear it anymore, we then get rid of it or use it for material for sewing projects (depending on how badly it is soiled), and pull another outfit down out of the attic. Jeans with holes get put into my sewing box for me to cut off and make into a skirt in order to not have to buy more bottoms. Shorts can also be turned into a skirt when they are worn, by adding material to the bottom. Usually the only child we fall short in the clothing category for is our oldest, Pumpkin, and when that happens we begin to pray that God will supply our needs and usually within a few weeks we have friends offering us cloths that they are getting rid of! God has always come through in that area! So, needless to say, we do not buy clothes often. We also do not have to have clothes often because they do not go to public school and are not too worried about fitting in or the new trends, etc. Some days we just do school in our pajamas!! 🙂
Diapers: This is another area I go back and forth with. When we buy diapers it costs us about 150.00 a month for 2 kids full-time and one kid at night time. This is why cloth diapering is a HUGE money saver, especially for mulitiple kids. There are so many new cloth diapers out there now that are so easy to use and just as easy to take care of as a disposable diaper that it really is silly NOT to cloth diaper (for us) and save that extra money! This is another thing in my time saving cycle that I will cut out over time. When the laundry gets backed up and I haven’t been able to keep up with it like normal- I don’t like stinky diapers sitting waiting to be washed so we will go back to buying diapers for a time. However by cloth diapering you will have an initial investment of maybe 150-200.00 and the rest is history! We will save 1800.00 per year right now, if we stick to cloth diapering! WE DO NOT cloth diaper at night time, so we do always keep around a bag of diapers just for that purpose. That decision is also to save our sanity of getting up in the middle of the night and changing bedsheets and diapers all night long! But 3 disposable diapers per day vs. 12 per day is a huge savings!
WIPES: what parent does not use wipes for EVERYTHING!! For us it would cost us about 26.00 a month. It’s not HUGE savings, but it is savings! In order to save on wipes, we make our own. Most of the stuff we use to make the wipes such as: Lavender Oil, Coconut Oil, Baby wash, we have on hand already because we use it for other things, so we spend nothing on buying those things. We do spend about $3.72 on a double roll of bounty paper towels. and then we cut them in half. This comes out to about $0.01 per wipe, where if we bought our wipes we would be paying about $0.02 per wipe. Where the savings really comes into play is the amount of wipes you have to use! The wipes that I make I can change a diaper with ONE wipe whereas the wipes we buy I usually go through about anywhere from 4-8 Maybe even 10 depending on the mess at times. So again, not HUGE savings but still enough to count!! It would be at least $18.75 a month in savings, if not more! If you want to save even more in this area, making your own cloth wipes is a great place to start as well. This will be my NEXT project!!
This is all for my money saving tips today. But I will be posting many more over the next few days/weeks so keep an eye out!!