The Four Moms are:
Q. How have you had to adapt your homes to accommodate your larger family?
A. Currently, not so much, because we live in the largest house we have ever lived in at a time when our family is the smallest it’s been in many years, since two of the girls are now married.
Previously: Because we moved a lot, different ‘tricks’ worked for different spaces. Here are some of them:
Downsize, downsize, downsize. Own less.
Use the hall for bookshelves.
Store school books in a kitchen cupboard
Use book cases as a pantry
Over the door hooks and coffee mug accordion racks in bedrooms for towels and clothing- no hanging towels in the bathroom because they never dry when you have one small bathroom and ten wet towels.
In one house we took the doors off the closets and put futons in the closet for beds, opening up the bedroom floor for play and work space.
If you have a choice, put a bathroom near the outside door the children use most. In our case, we made sure this is the door the youngest children (our unofficial foster boys and our son in particular) use most because we lock the other outside doors to help them remember only to come in and out of the laundry room door.
No shoes in the house will really reduce the grit on your floors.
Over the door hooks, never use a bench when a chest wtih extra storage will do, bed-risers for added under the bed storage (I used paint cans for bed risers).
Q. Have you ever had any readers see you in public and figure out who you are?
A. No, but we have had a reader or two who knew us in real life and also read our blog without realizing at first that *we* are the Common Room family. One of them recognized us when we did the open house pictures way back when. Sometimes our girls have had one of their friends in their long time online circle of friends share a blog post from our family’s blog without realizing that they just told one of our girls to go read their mom’s post.;-D
Q. So Hubby’s income isn’t increasing anytime in the near future, but food bills, utilities, health bills and otherwise upkeep bills are increasing with each child as thy are growing… what are a few ways your family dealt with/planned for/handled mishaps with economic side of things as the family grew?
A. We have closed off bedrooms for the winter and moved everybody to one room to save on utilities.
Beans and rice and other frugal eats. More here.
Navy showers and other ways to reduce utility costs
Drastic budgeting in the kitchen
Save money on utilities in the winter- I have a post on that here, and one with more tips here.
Stock up on groceries when they are on sale so that you are only shopping to replenish your pantry, and you are doing that only from sales.
I read a tip a few years back from somebody who watches the holiday sales in her area very, very carefully. She cuts back on her grocery buying for a couple months in advance and starts making room in her freezer. As soon as any store has a loss leader sale on holiday meats- turkey, hams, roasts (lambs in the spring)- the sort of sale where you get the turkey practically free for spending a specific amount in groceries- she goes to the store, restocks her diminishing pantry and gets the free turkey. Then she does it again. The she goes to the next store with a similar deal. Her goal, she said, was to get all her meat for free this way and fill her freezer. I’ve never done this, partly because nowhere I’ve lived has offered free birds for a minimum grocery purchase since I read the idea. But it is an example of thinking creatively about the grocery budget and how to make the most of sales. More here.
Work on building up an emergency fund.
Find ways to add some extra income-
Try Mechanical Turks (varies based on your skill set- such is life)
I’ve written two posts at Frugal Hacks on quick ways to come up with some emergency cash- here, and here.
If you blog, here’s a good place to start reading on monetizing your blog.
Buy the Four Moms parenting book, which you can get as a Kindle or as an e-book document:
See my other Kindle books, too:
101 Answers to the Summertime, “Mom, I’m Bored” Blues; help your kids use their free time creatively and productively. Give them ideas that will help them use their time and energy to create, to learn, to grow- to contribute. This is not your average ‘keep the kids out of your hair’ book.
Required Poems for Reading and Memorizing (annotated); Charming collection of older poems that you and the kids just might love.
Ten Low-Carb Snacks and Quick Meals Okay, actually, there’s a little more than ten, and they aren’t merely low-carb, they are also sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free! Totally NOT dairy-free, though. Personally, I think this is great value for the money.