Secrets to Raising a Large Family on a Budget

I am raising five children, and there is never a dull moment. I love it that my kids always have someone to play with, there is always enough players for board games, Hide and Seek is so much more exciting, and every day is a party…literally!  However, with seven members in our family, there are definite financial limits on what we can and can not do.  We are an average, working, middle class family, so we can’t automatically say “yes” to a play date at the local waterpark, because it would cost us a little over $300.  We try to plan trips that don’t require airline travel because we simply can’t afford to fly. Also, our children only have birthday parties every other year.  

No, we can’t do most activities spontaneously, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t do them at all.  It just takes a little more planning and organization for our large family. Here are some money saving and organization tips I’ve learned over the years that have allowed our large family to thrive…

Secrets to Raising a Large Family on a Budget

Waterparks, Museums, & Zoos

Many waterparks offer reduced admissions after 5:00 p.m.  This works in our favor since we don’t usually go to the pool until that time anyway.  We purchase family passes at museums or the zoo whenever possible.  An annual family pass will cost as much as two visits for our family.  We love taking advantage of the family pass at the Houston Zoo since the weather in Houston can be unbearably hot to stay for too long.  My kids will pick a few animals to see and we come back another day to see a few more.     


We love to travel and take about two trips a year {one big trip and one short getaway}.  When flying is inevitable, we accrue travel points with our credit cards and save them for the cost of airfare.  This past year we were able to fly the whole family to Hawaii and only had to pay for one plane ticket!  However, our preferred method of travel is by car, and we absolutely love roadtrips as a family.  We play endless car games, watch back-to-back movies, and enjoy grabbing unique snacks in different towns.  Thankfully, we also have beloved family and friends that offer us the use of their vacation home or timeshares for very little to no cost.

Birthday Parties

The themed birthday parties I’ve planned for my kids include Superheroes, Princesses, Hunger Games, Pokemon, Painting, Shark Week, Spongebob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Minecraft, Harry Potter, and Nerf War. I’m a party planner at heart, so I get really detailed when putting together these parties. However, we just can’t afford to have parties like this every year no matter how much DIY I do.  Our family has agreed to having a party every other year and celebrating with the family in between.  It also doesn’t hurt that I’m a cake decorator, so my kids always have a spectacular dessert table spread for their parties {at no cost}.

School Supply Shopping

I consolidate my children’s school supply lists into one easy-to-read checklist and carry it in my purse throughout the summer.  I make an effort to browse the school supply aisle in case I run across a great deal.  There are many excellent couponers on social media who post awesome deals that I follow.  This year I was able to spend approximately $27 per child on school supplies … compared to $85 for the prepackaged supplies at school.

Groceries & Restaurants

We don’t eat out often and spend about $160 a week on groceries.  This will make 5-6 dinners, provide a well rounded lunch for the kids daily, and snacks after school.  I’m almost certain that I could reduce that cost even more, but my kids love fresh fruits and veggies – and those are the bulk of our cost.  We do take the kids out for a weekly treat.  

My husband and I always joke that we would be rich if we didn’t have so many children.  However, we can and do have family outings and vacations without breaking the bank. Like all parents, we make sacrifices and prioritize what’s important to our family so that we can raise happy, healthy and compassionate children.  It definitely takes a great deal of patience, thoughtful planning, and flexibility to make that happen consistently.  

Do you have a large family? How does your family save money or do things differently?

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Christine was raised in Houston almost all her life, but currently resides in Sugar Land with her family. She graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Houston and taught elementary school for eight wonderful years.  She met her husband Martin while they both were teaching CCE at a local parish.  Together they have five beautiful children Madison {September 2005}, Caden {April 2007}, Cohen {April 2008}, Mason {August 2009}, and Anna-Marie {November 2016}.  Christine is also a self-taught baker, cake designer, and owner of The Sweet Boutique Bakery.  In 2016, her family felt a huge calling to open up their hearts and home to fostering babies.  When Christine isn’t juggling work, being an active school mom, or caring for her foster baby, you will find her creating DIY home projects, crafting, party planning, baking with her kids, and traveling with her family.  You can read more of her family shenanigans on The Sweet Boutique's Blog.



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