I have four kids under the age of 7. Sometimes I like to tell people that fact, just to see the shock and awe register on their face. Invariably, in this one-and-done or two-and-through world, people will be alternatively astonished and a little bit frightened when contemplating having a family my size. But, I know there are many, many families out there with much larger clans than mine. (My sister has eight!)
I do get asked one question almost daily after telling people we have four little kids, though, and that is: “How do you afford it?” My dirty little secret is that having a large family actually helps me save money! Check out the three ways my many kids help me do this.
1. Getting organized
When you only have one child, or maybe two, there is not necessarily a pressing need to be organized. You can get away with making lunches the morning before school or relying on your superior memory to keep track of all events, activities, and play dates on your kid’s schedule. But, when you have three or more kids, you have to buckle down and get and stay organized to survive. From organizing schedules with the Cozi app to organizing finances with Manilla.com, parents with big families are forced to get organized and that can only help them save money.
2. Planning ahead
With four kids, you are forced to plan ahead. You pack snacks and juice boxes for a long car ride. You buy clothes with the idea that they will be shared by the next sibling. You have a grocery plan to make sure there’s something to cook for dinner at home. All these things save you little amounts of money, which add up to larger sums of money. Manilla.com is a great tool to help you plan ahead for bill pay and a family budget. Planning ahead can also reduce your stress, too.
3. Looking for discounts
With one kid, most families can afford to buy the toy, kid’s meal or attraction ticket the child wants. However, when you have multiple kids, you don’t always have the cash for endless activities. Still, that doesn’t mean you need to stay home. I’ve found that I can feed four kids for the same price as one kid’s meal with a coupon or by making smart choices (like choosing water for them to drink and splitting adult items). An annual pass to our local zoo costs less than one visit for our whole family, and we get to go all year long. And boy, oh boy, do we love “Kids Eat Free” nights at restaurants! Having lots of kids means you have to work a little harder to figure out how to lower your costs to do something, but in the end, that extra work can mean that the family of six pays less than the family of four.
Having kids is expensive. Having lots of kids can be very expensive. But in some very concrete ways, large families can be a financially smart move.
Maria Smith is an on-the-go “stay at home” mother of four kids under the age of 7. In her pre-baby life she was a TV producer at The Oprah Winfrey Show. She loves writing, traveling, and finding fun things and places for moms to do, have and go. Maria has been featured as an expert on ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, HLN, and in Ladies Home Journal, Women’s Day, and The Nest. Maria blogs at MamaliciousMaria.com and is a freelance writer for several parenting, health and wellness, and travel websites.
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