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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:07 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:26 am
Posts: 14

Hi - we are a family of 3 who are in the middle of converting to an ERE lifestyle. We have been converting for quite sometime and we are curious who else on here has a family (with children). We have 1 daughter who is 6 years old.


Please share tips on frugal family living in regards to:

1. Schooling

2. Toys

3. Clothing

4. Chores

5. Allowance - do you give one?

6. Savings - what is your system?


Mikayla

7.




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:04 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am
Posts: 497

Not ERE, but soon will be ER. Children, along with marriage for that matter, will prolong retirement, but not for as long as some seem to think.


We've always used the public school system with good results. I have friends who for religious reasons use private schools or homeschool but they pay a premium for that privelege. I don't really see an advantage of their decision to segregate their kids from the general population but then again I live in a peaceful part of the country.


Between all of the relatives that love to buy toys for our kids we don't spend a lot of money in this area. The worst time is between the ages of 1 and 7 or so, because of all of the cheap Tiawanese crap out there. There have literally been times at Christmas when we haven't been able to fit all the stuff in the car for the ride home from the Christmas party. It just clutters your entire house.


Clothes are easy until they hit 12 or so, when they develop an opinion that they want to look exactly like their 20 closest friends, one of which always has very expensive clothes and shoes. There are some very nice used clothing outlets and we have always paid very little each year. Plus we use Christmas for some of the nicer clothes that we buy new.


Chores are an area that causes conflict because once the basics are done, there really isn't a whole lot for them to do unless I invent work which serves no purpose. It's not like we live on a farm and the cows have to be milked before school. So we concentrate on school and sports. Idleness is great for kids up to a certain point but once that point is reached its time to get them to start doing something productive, whether it's teaching them to cook or using a tool.


If you ever want to see the Law of Diminishing Returns in action, give an allowance. At first they are overjoyed at the thought of cash, then they come to expect it, and finally they are willing to give it up in exchange for dirty dishes and a messy room, at which point I have to explain these things are going to get done whether they receive money or not. It may work for others, however.


The only system that works for saving is to spend less than you earn. Way less. Actually, stop thinking about saving at all, and use all of your energy towards thinking about spending, because that is where all of the action is at. Take care of that, and you will have plenty of savings.


Good Luck




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:43 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:02 pm
Posts: 379

We are ERE with 2 kids under 8


I think a key here is to start the journey early in there lives because they wont miss what they dont have.


Anothe good thing we have done is live in a middle class area full of independant thinking intellectual green voting hippies (read bohemian quarter). Here it is a badge of honour to be a 2 parent both doctor (or academic, or artist) family who drive one clapped out car and send their kids to the local public school despite having an average 120k per year salary.


If anyone moves into my neighbourhood and has a SUV and watches cable - instant ostracism...haha (offcourse no one admits that)


It also means that buying second hand is also cool even for the kids. We call it vintage clothing (read the blog stuff white people like - very funny)


Toys - we leave the cheap chinese and skorean crap for the relatives to give our kids. We use birthdays and christmas to give presents like ballet lessons, swimming lessons, guitar lessons (and any of the expensive paraphenailia that goes with it). We also buy the occassional big ticket item like a bike or computer or games etc but look for bargains. None of my kids have new bikes....all second hand


Again - having a community where other people do the same thing is important imo.


We give our kids 2 bucks per week simply to teach them about money, saving and spending. I have low expectations that this is nothing more than a feel good exercise and will need to think about how to approach the idea of money and investing as they get older. I think i will read them "the richest man in babylon" or play alot of monopoly over the coming few years.


They have a few chores which they do no questions asked. I am very lucky. You know what my best recommendation is? Concentrate on having a happy and healthy household where people in it respect eachother. When you get that right when you start talking about money they dont just automoatically think you are a tightwad ash@*@e..they will hopefully see merit in the lifestyle choices...


Thats what im hoping anyway....lets touch base in 10 years and ill tell you if this was all wishful thinking


cheers

aussie




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:04 pm 
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"Concentrate on having a happy and healthy household where people in it respect eachother. When you get that right when you start talking about money they dont just automoatically think you are a tightwad ash@*@e"


I completely agree with Aussie. I don't have a family yet, but I grew up in an ERE family. When I was a kid my dad got hurt and couldn't work and then couldn't find work (construction worker). My parents made $3k that year with 2 kids. The interesting thing is that I have no idea what age I was when that happened, as nothing stands out. We always had older crappy cars, grew/raised 60% or so of our own food, and never got any toys until Christmas. None of that had to change in the down year. The only reason I even know it happened is because my parents told me. No, it wasn't odd for a construction worker to be out of work for a couple months every year (winter & between big jobs), so that doesn't stand out.


Plus, as Aussie mentions, almost everyone around us was in roughly the same situation. Even the people that had money didn't drive overly nice vehicles.


If frugalness, but not money worry, permeates every part of your life it will probably do the same with your child. My parents must have been rather confident in their teachings, as they sent me to college with an ATM card linked to their checking account for gorcery money.




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:28 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm
Posts: 513

Welcome Mikayla!


My husband and I have 8 kids in our blended family. 2 are now adults; the other 6 are still at home.


Please share tips on frugal family living in regards to:

1. Schooling -- we use public schools, and we deliberately chose a house that's close enough to the elementary and middle schools that the kids can and do walk.

2. Toys -- other than Christmas and birthdays, we buy used or we don't buy.

3. Clothing -- we use consignment stores for everything except sneakers, socks and underwear.

4. Chores -- the only way for a child to get money in our house is to work to earn it. We agree with Dave Ramsey on this. Allowance = welfare. Our kids come to us and say, "I want a new pair of jeans. What kind of work can I do?" They've even argued about who gets to do which chore... music to my ears! Babysitting and yard work are the favorites.

5. Allowance - do you give one? -- Nope.

6. Savings - what is your system? -- We save everything we can.

We keep $1k in cash on hand at all times. We max out all available retirement accounts (in our case, a 401k and a pair of Roth IRAs). Everything else we can scrape together we throw at the mortgage to get it paid off early.


One of our goals is to get all 8 kids through college with no student loan debt. The oldest is done, debt free, and the second is working her way through now with some help from us and her mom... she, too, will graduate with no student loans. The problem we're staring down at the moment is that the middle 4 of our 8 kids may all be in college at the same time. If we do as we're currently planning and get our house paid off before they start college, we should have enough cash in our monthly budget to help cash flow their college when they go, too.


This is the other piece of frugality for us. It isn't just about ERE... and we could certainly retire sooner if we chose not to help the kids with college. But this is important to us too: giving them all the tools we can give them to enable them to go forth and build ERE for themselves when they leave the nest. That includes college, and in US society, college isn't free or cheap for most students. Especially for students whose parents make a good income.


Also, it doesn't pay to have a college fund, unfortunately. You're ten times better off paying off your mortgage and other debts so you can free up the cash when the time comes. Financial aid doesn't take into account whether you have a mortgage or not, but every dollar you save counts against you.




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:03 pm 
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@GandK

Kudos for all the work you put into your children. Concerning your "4 in college at the same time" dilema, what if you just figured out how much college would cost and guarantee them what you can't cover at some future date for a house payment or retirement starter? I would assume student loans are dirt cheap considering my credit union is advertising 4 year car loans for 1.49%, though I haven't checked so I could be wrong. It's just a thought.




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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:48 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:26 am
Posts: 14

Thank you for all your tips!


Anyone else want to add?


Mikayla




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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:40 am 
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Location: Stepford USA

Check the Wiki.




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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:34 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:40 am
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Don't worry about paying for their college. I just finished up college (waste of time and money) and I feel like a better person for having worked and paid for it myself. The time I spent in the work force saving money directly after high school taught me a lot of great life lessons.


I would just buy them this book http://www.howtobeinvisible.com/index.cfm/page/skip-college-go-into-business-for-yourself/index.htm and Jacob's and get them to retire at 23.




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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:29 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:06 pm
Posts: 127

Not ERE yet, but will be in a year. Currently have a 2 and 4 year old. Here are my thoughts.


1. Schooling

Currently my older kid is in Montessori school. In the future we are considering home schooling. I feel the public school system is broken, and will teach our kids to be thoughtless and to be cogs in the industrial machine. My wife and I discuss this almost daily, but haven't made up our minds yet.

2. Toys

We don't buy any. Toys breed consumerism and selfishness. I watch my kids fight over toys all the time, but I never see them fight over sticks in the backyard. And yet, they have more fun with rocks, sticks and water than they do with plastic toys. Unfortunately, we still have plenty of toys as Christmas gifts. We send many of them to goodwill.

3. Clothing

Buy most of them on Craigslist, then sell them for the same price a year later when they don't fit. If you don't have an active craigslist community, ebay also works. The clothes are all very nice too.

4. Chores

We've already started on this, but we don't call them chores. We just ask them to help us, and act as though it's a given that they should help us do basic household duties. Our culture is one of the first where we've highlighted these tasks as "chores" for kids and given a monetary reward. I try to treat it as an obvious fact that each member of the family should help out equally. Already my 4 year old will help out with laundry and other tasks, and he does it happily and willingly because we don't make it seem like it's a big deal.

5. Allowance - do you give one?

No. My plan is to put money into dividend paying stocks and bonds, and let my kids earn money that way. This way they can learn the benefit of letting money work for them while watching capital grow. This will be there income.

6. Savings - what is your system?

See #5.


Regarding college, right now we aren't actively saving. My dad puts a little money in a 529 plan, but that's it. My opinion right now is that college is worthless for most degrees, and for the few that it's worth it, I'll find a way to help out if/when that time comes. College is in a huge bubble than I foresee breaking in the next decade, so we'll see.




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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:01 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:26 am
Posts: 14

Thanks for all the comments and links.


You guys rock!


Any other thoughts?




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