How to Raise a Family on a Small Budget

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My sweet bloggin’ sisters now tease me about being the “small budget lady” because I’ve written so many posts on this topic. They’ve even joked about changing the name of our blog because of it. Well, here I go again! What can I say? Living life on a small budget is something I know a lot about! 😉

Are you saving up to have a family? Maybe you’re nervous about having enough money to raise a family or maybe you already have a family and are struggling to make ends meet. Welcome to the story of my life! Growing up in a large family, money was always tight and sometimes non-existent! I remember watching my mom clip coupons, I remember eating a whole lot of whatever happened to be on sale, I remember wearing my cousin’s hand downs and I remember…being HAPPY! How is that possible? Even now, I am married and have 4 kids of my own, and we have always barely had enough to pay our bills and make ends meet and yet we are HAPPY! I suppose growing up the way I did, I learned to appreciate the small things in life and to value relationships more than things. I also learned to rely more on God than myself and to trust that he would take care of me and my family. If you’re struggling in the decision to even have children because of money, or struggling to provide for children you already have, consider yourself lucky! It’s the trials in  life that help us grow and become who we are really meant to be. Here are some things I have learned that help when the pockets are empty and the bank account is running low!

How to raise a family on a small budget...and still be amazingly happy too!

1. Live Within Your Income. However small it may be, find a way to live on what you make. That may mean sacrificing things you want for things you actually need. It doesn’t have to be miserable! Being frugal and finding creative ways to save money can be a fun journey. Plus, think of how much you can teach your kids in the process! For more great ideas on how to live happily on your income you can read this post I wrote. 

2. Find time for what matters most . Time is money…except for when it concerns your family! Kids only spell time L-O-V-E! Kids don’t care about “things.” What I mean by this, is that your baby doesn’t care what brand of diaper they are wearing (they only care that you change it. 🙂 ) A toddler doesn’t care what brand of jeans or shoes they have on, and I guarantee you that your kids have way more fun spending TIME with YOU than any fancy toys. The best time to teach kids what matters most is while they are young because “things” won’t matter until someone teaches them otherwise. (Let’s hope they are wise enough by then to know better!) Save yourself some cash! The only person who cares whether your child has all the latest and greatest…is YOU! Memories last a lot longer than physical treasures. Here is one of my favorite posts on finding more time for your family!

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3. Make GREAT meals, that cost LESS. You may have less money than you would like for your food budget but that’s okay! You can still have healthy, yummy meals on a small budget! You just have to plan a little more. Find recipes that you know your family will like that don’t cost a lot to make. Pinterest is an amazing place to find great recipes that are budget friendly too! Here is a collection of my family’s favorite frugal meals for a small budget!

Sweet Ham & Swiss Sliders. Quick, Easy, and DELICIOUS! Great for feeding large crowds!

4. Stock up! The best way to save money raising kids is to stock up whenever stuff goes on sale. It’s as simple as that! Buy summer clothes in the winter, and winter clothes in the summer. The opposite applies to food. Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season and cheaper. 3 times a year, the grocery stores in our area all have case lot sales. This is when we stock up on our canned foods and other non-perishables. What about coupons! I don’t use them anymore. Clipping coupons took too much time away from my family and coupons are usually for food that is not nearly as good for you. I’m not saying you can’t save a lot of money with coupons, just remember how much your time is worth too! I told my friend recently that with 4 kids my time is VERY valuable! Pretty sure it’s worth like $100 an hour 😎 ! 

5. Be Nice! How many times have you heard THAT in your life? 🙂 Seriously though, I just had this conversation with my kids the other day. They wanted to know what “popular” meant and why it was so important. (evidently they are old enough that this is an issue at school.) This is what I told them. My mom used to have a poster hanging on our wall at home. It said, “It’s nice to be IMPORTANT, but it’s more important to be NICE.” Sometimes when money is tight and we are stressed out with our lives, we start to get bitter and feel like we are ‘entitled’ to be rude to others because our lives aren’t going the way we wished they were. The greatest people I know are not celebrities or on everyone’s top 10 list. They are the people who, regardless of their circumstances, are kind and loving to everyone around them. I want my children to learn that success in life is not determined by how much money they make or the possessions they own. Success is how they live their lives and how they treat others. A wise man once said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” (David O. McKay) I believe this rings true for life inside AND outside the home. Here’s a cute clip of my son being ‘nice’ to his cousin. 🙂

Watch this video on YouTube.

  6. Have fun every day. Enjoying small moments every day is worth a lot more than a big vacation in the summer. You may not be able to afford to go to Disneyland or take your family on a cruise but you can teach them to have fun together every day and that will be far more memorable and valuable than ANY expensive vacation! Even Christmas doesn’t have to be a big expensive event! (Read this post for more ideas on Christmas with a small budget) You can have magical moments within the walls of your home without spending anything. 

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7. Reevaluate your priorities. Some things are good, some things are better, and some things are best. Spend your time and money on the best. If you have little time with your kids because of a busy schedule, spend that time in the best way possible. If you have little money for food, spend it on the best quality food with the highest nutritious content. If you have a little home with very little space, use every inch of that space the best way possible! Whatever it is…always seek for the BEST!

8. ALWAYS put family first! I know it’s easy to think you need money before you can have kids, or that you can’t have another child because you “can’t afford the one you already have.” I know there are many who will want to argue with me on this but it is just how I feel personally. Money is temporary. We cannot take it with us when we die. The most happiness I have ever found in my life so far has been with my family. I would NEVER change that! Don’t let money come in the way of having a family or another child. Babies are expensive but there are plenty of people in this world that can tell you they are WORTH IT! Here is a great post on how to prepare for a new baby on a small budget.

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Regardless of how hard it is to raise children on a small budget, it is always possible, and I personally believe that families are eternal. Why postpone the joy of having a family? I say, “Bring it on!” My husband and I have only been blessed beyond measure for our decision to have children even during hard times. I wish you the best in raising your family and finding joy in the small and simple things in life! I know I’ve shared this before, but this clip just makes me smile every time I hear it. Maybe it’ll brighten someone’s day today! Take those lemons and go make some lemonade with that family of yours!!

Watch this video on YouTube.