Perhaps as never before, especially in today’s economy of high prices and low wages, the necessity for the large family to save money has increased proportionately with the difficulty of achieving that objective. This happens in part because the demands of each member of a large family remain pretty much the same as the requirements of individual components of a small family. A family of six for instance, must purchase on a more or less regular basis six pairs of shoes, while a family of three needs to buy but half that many sets of footwear in the same time frame. Generally speaking, shoes disintegrate and need replacing about as fast when worn by one person as another.
The methodology practiced in replacing old shoes actually may provide a means whereby the large family can effect meaningful savings with their purchase. In a small family, each member might reasonably expect to have a minimum of two pairs of shoes: a pair or two of every day or work shoes and a pair of dress shoes reserved for social events.
In the large family, members also need dress shoes and every day shoes. The trick used by many who need to scrimp where they can consists in making the shoes do “double duty”. It works like this: Well before an individual’s pair of every day shoes needs replacing, purchase a new pair of shoes for that person. Purchase with care; purchase good quality, comfortable and fashionable appearing shoes. Reserve these shoes for social functions, i.e., those occasions requiring dress shoes. When the person’s every day or work shoes have become too worn down for continued use, have him or her begin using the dress shoes as every day shoes. Then, prior to the next need for them, purchase a new pair of dress shoes.
The perhaps overly elaborate discussion on shoes underlines the importance for the large family to use creative methods for saving money. Here are a few more tips:
Everyone has heard of the process of hand-me-downs when a child outgrows an item of clothing still in good repair, and the next younger sibling acquires the article. Hand-me-ups also sometimes work in the effort to save money, provided the two siblings have the same approximate size and shape. This works with any item of attire that one child for one reason or another no longer will wear; the article can augment the wardrobe of some other sibling in the family. The process of reallocating clothing within the family has the effect of postponing purchases and reducing expenditures for a given time period.
In the realm of food purchases, the large family can benefit greatly by buying staples in bulk or in large family-size packages. Purchasing meat and other perishables in bulk usually requires a freezer for safe, long-term storage. If the family does not already have a freezer, buying a used freezer provides an excellent way to save money. Freezers usually remain perfectly functional for many years, making a used unit well worth considering for more reasons than just the lower purchase price. A freezer lets a family stock up on perishables when they go on sale and keeps frozen vegetables in healthy wholesomeness longer than if purchased fresh.
Other than the cost of rent or mortgage payments, the automobile likely will prove the greatest expense for the household. If the family possesses more than one car, a savings can be realized through the simple expedient of car-pooling within the family. Try making each car do double or triple duty getting the primary wage earner(s) to work, the children to school and the designated grocery shopper to the supermarket. This will require a good deal of planning, but if one of the vehicles can go away the family can realize considerable savings in car payments, insurance costs, licensing and general upkeep of the superfluous car.
Utilizing these and other cost saving ideas, the large family can enjoy a considerable reduction in expenditures. It also helps to have everyone in the family involved in the decision making process. This not only helps avoid misunderstandings, but also adds the benefit of input from everyone involved.