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How Our Family of 9 Makes It On One Income

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Hi!I'm Michelle, a wife, mother of 7, author, freelance writer, virtual assistant, and mompreneur.Whether it's staying within a budget, planning inexpensive meals and projects, performing social media tasks, or running through emails, I give my all to help any way I can.When I'm not working or chasing kids, I'm playing with my bunnies out back.
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When we married in October 2011, the Mr and I each had 4 children. Since then, we’ve added 3 more. With 7 kiddos still at home, things can get super expensive, super fast (trust me- I KNOW). Believe it or not, we are a one income family. Many have wondered how our family of 9 makes it on one income.

Just a few small ways our family saves money to be able to live on one income.
Super Pig saves the day for our extra large family by helping us some money!

We learned pretty quick it cost us WAY more for me to work outside the home than it did for me to stay home. Seriously, WAY more!

When I worked outside the home, I was spending over $140 a week in gas, and $300 a week on a babysitter. Now, that’s not bad when you consider it’s 3 all day, and 4 after school…especially when the daycare wanted over $700 a week! Add in lunches and special clothes, and the cost REALLY added up!

Do the math…$10 an hour, at 40 hours a week…we were breaking even financially. My stress level was through the roof! So, we decided to make a strict budget, and cut our costs as far as we could. No more TV for us! Here’s just a few ways we’ve learned to live inexpensively:

Turning off lights when you leave a room saves you money!
  • Turn off lights. While this sounds like no-brainer, with 7 kiddos who can reach the switches, it’s one of our biggest issues. I’m constantly going behind them, turning lights off after they’ve left a room. The bathroom light being left on ALL night is a major pet peeve of mine!
Turning off unused electronics saves on the electric bill!
  • Turn off extra electronics. All our TVS and DVD players are plugged into power strips. When we aren’t using them, we turn off the power to the whole strip. The kids were constantly forgetting to turn off their DVD players, even though they turned off the TV. Now it’s an all- in-one solution…all off, or all on.
Washing laundry in cold water reduces the cost of electricity
  • Washing clothes in cold water, and only 1-2 loads a day. The 4 oldest have their own day of the week to wash their clothes. We wash the 3 youngest kiddos’ with ours. The bedding and towels have their own day. This leaves 1 day a week we aren’t running the washer. This simple change has literally saved us a TON!!
Let the sun and wind dry your clothes instead of your electric bill.
  • Hang clothes out to dry. Yes, that old fashioned way of drying clothes is back with a vengeance at our house. We have 4 places to hang out laundry to accommodate our extra large family. We reserve the lines on the porch for rainy days.
10 minute showers cut our water bill drastically. It went from nearly $300 a month to $100!
  • 10 minute showers. Everyone is allowed to shower for 10 minutes ONLY. No excuses! Need to shave? Put the plug in so the tub fills a little while you shower. Washing and conditioning my long hair, washing my body, and shaving have been proven to take 6 minutes and 50 seconds. It’s totally possible! A timer from Dollar Tree helps out. The kiddos have been beating the timer lately.
Using our slow cookers and other small appliances saves us quite a bit of money and stress.
  • Cook in small appliances. We have saved so much money by cooking in our slow cooker. We used to have prepaid electric when we lived in East Tennessee, and the usage could be checked online daily. There was always a jump anytime we used our stove/oven or ran the dryer. Using small appliances like slow cookers, toaster ovens, and microwaves uses so much less electricity. The Mr bought me an electric roaster for our anniversary, and it saved us BIG TIME during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • When it costs an average of $10 per person, on the lower end of cost, that’s $90 for our family to eat out. That 1 meal eating out equals 9 meals at home!
  • Don’t eat out. It’s extremely rare for us to eat out. We took a trip out of state recently, without the youngest 3, and it cost nearly $100 a day to feed 6! We were gone for 3 days!! It’s insanely expensive!
When you don’t spend money on things you WANT, it frees up money for things you NEED.
  • Don’t buy unnecessary things. My children have learned to be grateful for what they have, and for things they receive. Because we don’t buy wants, and focus on needs, they appreciate the wants they get AND the needs we supply. Christmas and birthdays are more about needs than wants.
A simple life is a happy life!
  • Keep life simple. We hardly ever buy brand new, and we don’t buy more than we need. Those extra pans we use at Thanksgiving and Christmas get packed up and put in the garage until the next holiday we need them.
Minimalism is the way to go if you want to save money.
  • Live minimally. Our Christmas decorations consist of the tree, ornaments and lights, and 9 stockings. We had the same wreath for 5 years before it fell apart. There isn’t much room in our 3 bedroom house for extra things. Most of the toys are outside toys, and the inside toys go on each person’s shelf. Clutter isn’t an option around here.
By taking care of what you have, you don’t have to replace things as often, which saves money.
  • Take care of what you have. 2 years ago, all the kids got tablets. One by one, they all got broken. I refuse to replace them because they weren’t taken care of. 2 of them have received new tablets as gifts, and they have taken extra good care of them this time around because they know it won’t be replaced if they get broken.
Using cash allows you to visualize exactly how much money you have available. Saving the change allows you to build a savings without feeling like you’re missing anything.
  • Use cash and save the change. For Christmas, I got the Mr a Superman piggy bank. We use cash as often as possible, and do NOT spend the change. If we have any change at night, it goes in Super Pig. You would be amazed how quickly you can save $20 by doing this! The babies love to “feed the pig.”

This is just a small sampling of things we do to save. There are countless more, like meal planning, weekly shopping, etc. Do you have any awesome money saving tips for a large family? Drop them in a comment, and I just might have to give it a try!


  1. Maemuna

    February 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Nicely conveyed… outclass

    1. Michelle

      February 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Hi, Maemuna. I appreciate those kind words! Do you have an extra large family? Are you ready to take charge of your finances with a buget? I can help. You can find me easily though the email and social media link on the Contact Us page. 🙂

  2. Christelle

    February 27, 2017 at 12:55 am

    amazing tips! i can put some to use for sure

    1. Michelle

      February 27, 2017 at 1:05 am

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad they can help you out! Our goal is to help families of all sizes by sharing things we find works for us as an extra large family.

  3. Tennille

    February 27, 2017 at 1:32 am

    Great tips. It helps you to recognize that with the size of families becoming smaller over the years the consumerism has increased. This is how most families would have lived in the 50’s-70’s. Now it is easy to replace, waste and hoard.

    1. Michelle

      February 27, 2017 at 1:35 am

      Thanks, Tennille! Families have become pretty wasteful. We have made it almost a competition to see how much more we can save each month.

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