Thursday, December 04, 2008

Unexpected costs of a large family

As the mother of six, I understand very well that large families are expensive. It costs more to feed them, to clothe them, and to get into a theater or zoo. We have to drive a bigger car with enough seats for everyone, so we have to spend more on gas. And, a large family requires more time, for everything from eating breakfast to getting the laundry done.

Because of the size of our family and our donation-based income, we are very careful with finances. It is a good thing right now, because we're not feeling the economic crunch too much. We never go out to eat, so we can't really cut back on that. We don't travel during the holidays (and our family is all in town), and have been watching mileage for years, so we can't really cut back on driving. We don't spend much money on various forms of entertainment (the last movie my family went to see was "Prince Caspian" and it was the only movie we went to last year), so we can't really cut back on that. The only domestic help I have is what my children give me. They are VERY helpful, but at this point they are still in "training" and I can afford to invest the time to train them.

Over all, we do pretty well managing finances, especially considering our large family. One area, though, no one warned me to watch out for, and that is postage. When you have a large family, especially one with lots of girls, you tend to have lots of relationships. Now, don't get me wrong; I want my children to have friends. And, since we've moved recently, my girls all want to stay in touch with the friends they left behind.

It isn't quite the same to send or receive e-mail, as convenient as it may be. Nothing compares to the thrill of opening the mailbox and finding a personal letter with your name on it. So, my girls all like to write letters. And, those letters require stamps. When you multiply 43 cents by five girls who average up to a letter a week, it adds up quickly! Instead of planning ahead for college, we have to figure out creative ways to fund the "mail habit" so we can continue to pay for postage.

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