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How do you afford a big family?

This is a question that has plagued me for some time, but I fear to ask it on one of my boards because I don’t want to offend anyone.

I see lots of posts from stay at home moms with five or more kids and I just don’t get how they do it. My husband and I both make good money and I am.extremely frugal (as you can tell from some of my other posts) and yet I feel like we can barely afford the three kids we have. I have no idea how we would afford more, especially if I stopped working.

I have noticed most of these big families are American, so I wonder if that has something to do with it, but I counter that by thinking that I have free healthcare and paid maternity leave.

I can and do live frugally. Heck, Sawyer was singing a song the other day about coupons and bonus points! LOL But housing costs are housing costs. We are currently saving for a home and without going into detail, we are really going to have a problem finding something in our price range. Right now we rent the ground floor of a townhouse/triplex (2 bedroom, 980 sq. ft.) in a very nice area and with rent and bills that amounts to about 40% of our income. This means if one of us didn’t work it would become 75-80% of our income. Yes, we live in one of the top five most expensive cities in North America. Yes, it would be nice to leave the city and move somewhere cheaper. But all my family is here. And since my parents help with baby sitting three days a week, it would be expensive to replace them with daycare/sitter. Plus, I trust them with my kids, can’t say the same for a stranger. Also, my brother and I are only a year apart in age and very close. Since he doesn’t drive if we left the city I would never see him and that would kill me. Ugh, I feel so trapped and I have so many big decisions to make before my mat leave is over. But I am digressing, there will be lots of time to talk about that later.

So, I would really be interested in hearing from people on the topic so please take the time comment.  The scholar in me is uber frustrated because I feel like there is some vital information out there I just don’t know about. TIA!


About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


9 thoughts on “How do you afford a big family?

  1. I’m sure there are MANY ways people have large families and don’t end up poor, but I’d think, mostly, that it’s a lot of sacrificing. There are plenty of families that share a vehicle, don’t spend money on expensive vacations, gadgets, etc. Those are just some things that come to mind. 😉

    Posted by Valerie | April 28, 2013, 12:58 am
    • I didn’t mean they were poor, just the opposite, they make it work. No matter how I juggle the numbers I just can’t seem to. Whether it’s housing or babysitting in every scenario we can’t pay our bills. I sometimes feel like there’s a secret out there everyone knows but me (except I know that’s not true). I just wish we could afford more kids (mind you the last two also cost us $8000 give or take). :-p

      Cheers, Shannon

      Sent from my mobile.

      Posted by secaulfield | April 28, 2013, 1:29 am
      • Oh, I knew you weren’t saying they were poor – I was just thinking it would seem like they would be after paying for so many things for kids. I think parents of many kids are really good at saving money different ways and being resourceful.
        My goodness, $8000?! And I bet they didn’t even throw in diapers into the deal either, did they? 😉

        Posted by Valerie | April 28, 2013, 2:10 am
      • LOL! I was happy, at least insurance covered some of it :-p

        Cheers, Shannon

        Sent from my mobile.

        Posted by secaulfield | April 28, 2013, 1:11 pm
    • Also, we have one 10 year old vehicle.we share, and we have never taken vacation…ever 😦 My very first time on a plane was just last year on a business trip! LOL

      Cheers, Shannon

      Sent from my mobile.

      Posted by secaulfield | April 28, 2013, 1:31 am
      • We share one car (a ’96) and we’re saving for our first vacation by putting aside $25 a week (or more if his hours were really good). It’s definitely a challenge, but the experience of raising kids…it just can’t be beat!
        Oh, and I very much disagree with waiting until you can afford kids, to have them. For one thing, *I* wouldn’t exist! My parents didn’t start doing well financially until I was an adult! Ha

        Posted by Valerie | April 28, 2013, 2:13 am
      • I kinda agree with that. Afterall, necessity breeds ingenuity right? Just explain that to hubs and my family! LOL

        Cheers, Shannon

        Sent from my mobile.

        Posted by secaulfield | April 28, 2013, 1:12 pm
      • What I want to know is – how do large families afford groceries?!?! Food is so expensive now! 😦

        Posted by Valerie | April 28, 2013, 2:04 pm
      • See there I’ve got it covered. 🙂 I read flyers, only buy sales, buy bulk, and use coupons 🙂 Also make sure to buy what you need and don’t waste. Also you can grow your own veggies. We never eat out or order in (it helps that I have been a vegetarian for 20 years so fast food doesn’t work for me) I am guilty of spending food money at Tim Hortons though! LOL

        Apparently the Duggars spend $3000 a month on groceries which is pretty good for feeding 21 people (yup I am addicted to 19 kids and counting :-p ).

        Cheers, Shannon

        Sent from my mobile.

        Posted by secaulfield | April 28, 2013, 3:41 pm

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