In today’s world, having one child is expensive. So it only stands to reason, having seven children is ridiculously expensive. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with the quintuplets, I transitioned out of the Air Force and put nursing school on hold temporarily for bed rest and to become a stay-at home mom. When faced with so many kids, it is normal for one parent to have to become a stay-at-home parent since daycare cost for so many is astronomical. Also, minimizing germ exposure to the preemies and daily appointments make a job impossible for both parents to work normally at first. We had just turned 25 years old when the quints were born. I was always really great with money (bought a brand new house at 18). Michael was a spender. However, that changed immediately with the news of our squadron coming. Michael remained in the military and returned to work 10 days postpartum. With his rank, we make under $50k a year gross roughly. We are often asked how do we make it work financially on one income. Every month different challenges arise but we try to always follow a few principles:
- We do not have cable. Yes, I was totally addicted to the background noise for years so this one was tough at first. However, we have saved so much money by ditching the cable and satellite. Plus, we can still watch movies, and tv from other sources for free or cheap. Another perk is we can go out and live life by doing active things together as a family. Instead of wasting time watching things on tv.
- We try to use credit cards for everything and earn a lot of cash back, hotel points, etc. We PAY THEM OFF each month to avoid any interest being charged and get a bonus (of free money or points) by utilizing the rewards system. Paying them off is the big thing to make sure you do since not doing that puts you in an interest trap. We also analyze our bills each month to make sure everything is accurate and see where we can cut back even more.
- We plan our meals weekly, meal prep, make our own baby food, and have very little food waste. It is way cheaper and healthier to eat at home. Meal prepping two times a week allows me to save time at all the meals since the food is all ready to serve. Prepping makes clean up is a lot easier since I only have to do a few dishes at each meal vs pots/pans at every meal. We buy mainly fresh, organic foods for the kids so stock up when we find a deal. Michael usually takes his lunch to work since it is cheaper and healthier. Here is a glimpse vlog of that: https://youtu.be/myO8MIDI7Tk
- We shop sales and coupon for anything that we can not by used and for groceries. I am by no means an extreme couponer but the savings all adds up. We mainly grocery shop at a store that gives a discount on gallons of fuel when you shop at their store. We always save $1 per gallon on fuel because of this. Our van fits 30+ gallons so it’s a nice bonus. When we had to purchase preemie formula, we purchased it from this store, with coupons, for the same reason to save on gas too. At $18 a can, formula can get pricey! Here is a glimpse vlog of that: https://youtu.be/kihP0aE2UvI
- I breastfed the quints for 12 months and still do with Gideon. In addition to all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding…it saves money! I did have to supplement up to half of their feeds from 12 weeks-12 months, but it was still a help! We purchased 75 cans of formula a month with fortifying their breast milk and supplementing. I can not imagine how many it would have been otherwise.
- Our house is a fixer upper that we bought sight unseen from another state a year ago. We are doing all of the work of finishing a basement, clearing our acre of overgrown yard, putting in electrical, painting, redoing bathrooms, redoing kitchens, and pretty much everything. Michael and I are doing the work ourselves! It saves us a lot of money and it gets all the kids involved by doing it ourselves. It is challenging though to find the time with school, work, work trips, deployments, and 7 kid’s needs but it is getting there. We plan to sell the house (“flip it” for a profit) in a few years to move to a better school district.
- Most people think you get loads of diapers, a new van, etc handed to you when you have quints. We purchased our 15 passenger van from a dealership used. It had just arrived at the lot after we had done a lot of research online. We literally had to scrape the Salvation Army stickers off of the van when we bought it since they were the previous owners lol. Our van does not have any bells and whistles. However, it is safe, reliable, and fits all of us. Michael has installed a radio/cd player for me. He realized since I make frequent 30+ hour trips with so many kids that is a luxury to have installed.
- We sell things the kids have outgrown that we have bought. That money is then used to buy the things the kids need next.
- We live a minimalist life style. I hate clutter and random knickknacks. I have OCD and am a Type A person. The less items you have in your life; the easier it is to destress and clean. With our last move we got rid of everything to afford to move with the military. We are slowly building back up our house and furniture as time and money allows. We save up for items. This can take awhile when random life things occur but at least we are not in debt for it. I go through our house constantly pulling things they have outgrown and organizing. The quickest way to pickup your house only takes 10 seconds…put the item away as soon as you are done with it :).
- We donate and volunteer a lot. We feel that when you can help others, you also spiritually help yourself. We have needed help before and it was a huge blessing during hard times when people stepped in.
- We budget. We plan for our retirement. We try to save up for the kids college. We have lots of plans to accomplish this. The basis is to work hard and instill a work ethic and determination in our children by them watching us. Michael and I are both enrolled in Bachelor and Master’s degree programs full time to make these things a reality. Michael works more than full time with the military and usually has 6 or less days off per month. I have updated my resume and have applied to a lot of positions in hospitals. Fingers crossed we hear back from them soon. We are making this crazy schedule work by working opposite shifts so one of us is always home with the kids. If we have a time overlap issue, my mother is helping out with that. We are really lucky to have that option now. Plus, how could you not love spending a little time with these sweet faces and helping secure their future :).
Money is a constant worry with this size family. However, we have been blessed to always have what we need and most of our wants. Our biggest struggle was when we had 2 rent payments and deposits, 1 mortgage payment, a cross country move expenses, needing a van, and more all happening within 2 day of the babies’ birth. The Air Force Aid Society helped us out so much! This amazing organization provides grants and loans for Airman and their family’s in times of need. They made it possible for us to stay afloat during that extremely difficult time. My mother has also helped us out whenever she could. I can not even imagine where we would have been without their help. We are forever grateful.
What do you splurge money on?
We do not splurge on much. However, we love to watch the children learn about the world and to explore opportunities. Conner is going to a private, middle school. He is extremely intelligent and needed an accelerated program to challenge him. In addition, Conner has always been in 1-3 extra-curricular activities at a time since birth. That has never changed even with me taking 5-6 babies to his events by myself. It would be unfair and stifling to him for having so many sudden siblings to affect that part of his life too. Additionally, we always go on a few family vacations each year. The quints have vacationed on multiple beaches, multiple road trips, Disney World, Cornado Island, San Diego, Arkansas, Texas, etc. Here is a vlog of us enjoying boating in Florida: https://youtu.be/7DX6pdnmgRs
The younger kids are following big brother with lots of different lessons to find out what their individual interests are so we can help them fully emerge. With these lessons, we do get some discounts for them participating. However, we still pay for at least 4 of them to participate. It’s worth it for those smiles though!
I was a dancer for years. The quintuplets are starting dance in 2 weeks! They were just a little excited when I told them. Elias is wearing a pink leotard since he asked for it. We also bought him a more “boy” friendly outfit. He can wear whichever he feels the most comfortable with at the start of class.
The kids love their gymnastics class year-round! Here is the award ceremony vlog from their first season of gymnastics: https://youtu.be/_Ak-7znKA0w
This summer, the quints and Gideon started swim lessons. We are planning to keep them in them year-round as well since they have a lot of fun.
Thanks for following our adventures! We have no idea where our journey will lead but are lucky for every moment of our life.