Friday, August 12, 2011

How we keep all these kids in clothes without losing our shirts: Part 2

Lindsey continues her series on affording to live on a single income with a full brood of little ones. Some of her do-nots surprised me.

Her conclusion is the epitome of "the hardest simple, straightforward fact about money." So tough. So true.

Thank you Linds!


You might not be so surprised at the tips in Part 1 of this post, as any financial website would likely give you similar advice. Surprisingly though, the money gurus suggest some things that I won’t do:

  1. Have a budget. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use to keep track of our expenses month by month – more to see our progress. But I don’t allot a certain amount of money for each item. That’s very constricting and it causes me to obsess.
  2. Clip coupons. At least, not regularly. I don’t price match either. See point #1, the obsession part.
  3. Give up our lives. Entertainment is an essential part of anyone’s life, and we don’t cut it out just to save money. We do activities on the cheap (like, we don’t pay theme park admissions when we know the kids would have just as much fun at the park up the street) and dine at kids-eat-free places and go to events where admission’s free, but we do still get out quite often.
  4. Always pay the lowest price. I used to be that guy who would drive ten extra kilometres to save an extra fifty cents, but now I realize that my time is valuable too. I’d pay 50 cents to not have to haul three kids to another store. (The dollar value I now place on my time is what eventually stopped me from cloth diapering, too.)
  5. Worry. At least I try not to. I find that the more I worry about money, the more we spend. We recently had to replace the lawnmower and dishwasher, two unexpected expenses that made the bank account look kinda sad. This is where trusting God to provide for us comes in – the money is always replenished somehow and we make it through to the next month.

At the end of the day, raising a brood on a single income successfully depends on your priorities. If you want to make it work, you will do what it takes to not go into debt. It’s not always easy and sometimes I do want that cool thing that the neighbours have. But that thing hasn’t yet been worth going into debt over.

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