Question from a "19 Kids and Counting" fan: How do you stay on a budget with such a large family?
Our goal for our monthly food budget is $3,000. It used to be more like $2,000, but we've noticed the costs of groceries have gone up. Also, our boys have grown a lot and they have hollow legs. Josiah, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, and Jason are all tall and lanky, and I jokingly say every two hours we have to fill up those hollow legs to make them grow a few more inches.
For groceries, we mainly shop at discount grocery stores, warehouse clubs and co-ops. You can save thousands of dollars by doing just that. We buy mostly in bulk and stock up once a month on staples like butter, cereal and oats--it's just cheaper. And then I go back every three or four days to get our fresh produce.
Another way we cut corners is to always buy used and save the difference. That means when it comes time to shop for clothes, we go to the thrift stores. And we've never bought a new car. If you buy a car that's at least three years old, you're going to save yourself thousands of dollars by not buying new.
There are so many other ways to save. As a matter of fact, Jill and Derick are going to be looking on Craigslist for furniture for their home. There’s beautiful stuff available. People are constantly moving and they get rid of things they don’t need.
You’ve got be willing to wait to get what you are looking for with just the right price. I'm willing to wait for a little bit to buy things we need. We've already decided we won't go into debt to buy things.
If our couch wears out, I know I've got $65.00 to spend on a couch and we’ll look around. In the meantime, if our couch falls apart, we'll take it out and just sit on the carpet for a while. It's no big deal. I don’t feel like I need to meet the status quo.
We've taught our kids when you buy something on credit, you ending up paying three times as much for it. Whereas, if you pay cash, the asking price is exactly the price you’ll pay. If you don’t have the cash, set aside $5 a week, and you know you’ll have money when emergency situation comes up.
We went through a financial freedom seminar years ago that changed the course of our lives. If we hadn't heard those principles, we would never have known to buy used and save the difference and be willing to set aside a little bit of money here and there for those incidentals.