Are Those Kids All Yours?
I have six children. Yes, really. On purpose.
They range in age from 2 years to 15 years, from toddler to teenager. Two stay at home with me and the oldest four are in school. No, I don’t homeschool. I am not part of some weird cult, I don’t drive a school bus for my family vehicle, and I shop at Kohl’s and Target just like you do. We have one income and are not starving.
So much of today’s society is about "having" and "getting." We don’t live that way. Though don’t get me wrong: we own a big-screen TV, a Wii system, a laptop. We use cellphones and the internet. Our children don’t need much and want for very little. My husband manages a convenience store, and I babysit a little girl part time. He umpires in the summer, and I make and sell things online. We are no high-rollers. We consciously choose to "make do" rather than "buy new".
How do we do it? We live a modest life. We have very little debt beyond our mortgage, we don’t eat out very often, and when we do, it’s usually at Cici’s pizza or China Buffet on Tuesdays when kids eat free. We buy many of our clothes at thrift stores. We keep our vehicles until they wear out, and our shoes, too.
For fun, we rent movies from the Redbox, or we go to the park. We go to the free movies in the summer at The Great Escape and DVR our favorite cartoons. The kids play outside most days until dark, then they play games in the living room that they make up themselves. Sometimes they watch TV, or play video games, and they have a few toys, but we don’t have a ton of room in our 3 bedroom home for the eight of us, so we don’t keep a lot of toys on hand. They draw, or color, or just run around.
We don’t have the latest clothes, but the ones we have are no less stylish. We shop the clearance racks, we clip coupons and we use online sites like Amazon.com and Fatwallet to get good deals. If we can’t afford it now, we wait until it goes on sale, as it always will, eventually.
It never fails that we get asked when we go somewhere, "Are all those kids yours?" The next question is usually, "How do you afford it?"
To me, it’s more a question of "Why can’t you afford it?" Usually the answer is surprising. Quit buying on credit. If you can’t afford it now, wait. You can use the library, and play at the park, and just talk for fun. And it’s free! Rent a movie for a dollar, instead of seeing it in the theater for $8.
Instead of always wanting, take a look at what you already have. You might be surprised at your wealth.
Does your family save money without sacrificing? How do you figure out what’s a want vs. what’s a need? Comment below!