What about finances – what have you done to cut costs?
Ellen: Not buying things that we don’t need. Buying cheaper brands or alternatives for necessities.
Kyla: Sharing a house with friends, who also have kids, such that we split the cost of rent, food, etc., has been the biggest cost cutting solution.
What are the pros and cons of sharing a house with multiple families?
Ellen: No privacy, quiet time or alone time. Stressful. Values, morals confuse the kid. I don’t like how and what they teach him but I have no control since I would always be at work. Whatever I teach when we’re together will be forgotten the next day.
Kyla: For the kids it has been good because they have learned to share space instead of growing up with the mentality that “this is mine, this is yours”; for me it has been good also because it has taught me to be a minimalist and get rid of everything I didn’t absolutely need. On the negative side, it is a small space and there are conflicts in personality, which can make it difficult to continue living with other people.
Would you be open to living with your parents or other extended family? Would they be open to it?
Ellen: I am currently living with parents. As of right now we have no choice (parents and I).
Kyla: I would be open to it, but some family members don’t have space, and with others the personality conflict would be too great. But if it were offered to me I would accept.
Has there been a time when you couldn’t cover your costs of living and raising your children?
Ellen: So far, none yet.
What do you do for health insurance? Food? Electric? Cell phone? Clothes? Gift giving?
Ellen: No health insurance. Thrifty.
Kyla: For food we shop primarily at Wegman’s, choosing seasonal items and using coupons to reduce cost. We also go to another supermarket which does 2 for 1 deals on a lot our protein. We only get new clothes once or twice a year, for an occasion like Christmas or Easter. Otherwise our neighbors who have children donate us clothes as their children grow out of them and we then pass them on once our kids have grown.
What other cost cutting tactics have you employed?
Ellen: I think the biggest would be his schooling. Last year I sent him to school which is walking distance from home so I wouldn’t have to hire a nanny and wouldn’t have to pay for transportation.