Big Family on The Farm

Collecting eggs on the farm.My husband and I are raising 10 kids on about $25000 a year, yes 10! 5 are ours by birth and 5 are now adopted nieces and nephews that we took in due to poor parenting by a sibling. They are all our kids now and we are thankful we have each and every one.


We have always lived inexpensively even before we had any children. We were able to purchase a small farm with an old farm house on it many years ago and fixed it up ourselves over time. Our furnishing are simple but nice. We bought our antique bedroom set from a local thrift shop many years ago on a layaway plan; $25 a week. The farm is share cropped and that check each fall pays for the home insurance, two tanks of propane, fall meat purchases, and the taxes. We have a garden and I can/freeze a lot.

When we had our third child, I stopped working. Childcare and the extra medical expenses from one of them always seeming to be ill out weighed me continuing to work. It amazed me at how much more healthy they were once I stopped working outside the home. Let me add this, we receive no government assistance with the exception of medical cards on our adopted children as three of them have special needs. We homeschool.

We shop Goodwill and local thrift shops, especially on 99 cent clothing days and "stuff a bag sales". We have a deep freeze and, each fall, the boys each hunt and we process three deer ourselves to supplement our meat supplies. I buy a side of beef each fall as well and we cook from scratch. We have chickens for eggs and, well, chicken. Our budget is pretty much like this:

  • House Payment: $750 house payment. That will be paid off in 3 more years.

  • Electric: $250 - $300

  • Phone: $125 phone - My husband and myself each have a Straight Talk phone at $45 a month and we have one Trac phone the older kids share when they are away from home for emergencies. They borrow my phone to make other calls when at home. Teenagers can survive and do quite well without being constantly on a phone.

  • Internet: $45 - This is used a lot for homeschooling and entertainment. We were blessed when my husband's workplace upgraded computers and purchased two laptops for $25 each. They gave us three desk tops just to be rid of them! Major Blessing!

  • Groceries (food only): $75 a week - We don't buy soda and premade snacks, mostly staples: sugar, flour, bread, milk, cheese, fresh veggies. We shop at Aldi's or Save A Lot and the farmer's markets in summer for what we don't grow. Soups and stews are a big part of our diet. Casseroles and things like spaghetti, chili, and pasta bakes are favorites and use up leftovers.

  • Household Supplies: $75-100 a month - We make our own laundry soap and have found homemade cleaner recipes online that save a ton of money. We have a clothes line.

  • Car insurance: $100 a month for three older cars - My van, husband's small truck, and an old station wagon that the older kids share when they need to. Gasoline is about $100 a month. When prices are up, we stay put.

  • No cable - one TV and a VHS/DVD player. The smaller kids love Veggie Tales and Thomas the Train. We have a large collection of VHS that we have either been given or have gotten for 50 cents to a dollar at Goodwill. The older kids have their faves too. You can check out movies for free at the library. We also have a nice library at home we have collected over the years from sales and gifts. Board games from CandyLand to Monopoly and puzzles.

The older kids do odd jobs for their own spending money and are a tremendous help at home. We are active in our church and Upwards ball and cheer for the kids.

Have we ever needed a little extra help? Yes. our church has helped us with clothing and a "pantry pounding", especially when we first got our youngest children, who basically had nothing.

Have we been able to give back? Yes. We volunteer monthly at least, share extra produce, pass on outgrown and gently used things we no longer need to others we know or to church closet for those who need things, fire victims etc., take food baskets of homemade dishes to a couple of elderly ladies regularly.

Are our kids depressed, embarrassed, lacking (insert other negative things here)? No. They are happy, well rounded, outgoing kids. They have friends who have much more than they do in "stuff" who have told them, "Wow, I wish we could do _______" or "I wish my (mom, dad, brother, sister) and I were that close." or similar statements. We try to save $100 a month and have a emergency fund of about $4000 dollars (we had this established long ago and an emergency is narrowly defined).

Our savings is used for Christmas (which I usually manage for less than $300 a year, yes for everyone!) and a summer camping trip or two to state parks.

We have a monthly shopping trip for myself and the older girls where we each have about $20 (that would be $60 total) where we Goodwill and garage sale shop and see how much we can get for how little for extra things for our family. It may be "new" games, books, or puzzles or toys for the smallest ones, clothes, accessories, or a little something for our home. We make a game of it.

My husband and the boys are able to get scrap lumber from building sites-due to a connection with a church member who is a contractor. They have build birdhouses, doll furniture, wooden toys etc from scraps. We sew, crochet, knit, and quilt. We have, in the past, set up a roadside craft sale and made almost $1000 one weekend for a special family project, adding another bathroom!

Living the way we do is a choice. We choose to be self reliant. I think we are teaching our children well. I have spoken with the older ones as time and privacy have allowed and asked them "if you could change one thing . . . " They have all said "Nothing! Not one thing, except maybe another bathroom." or wishing better health for our three special little ones. They have all expressed a desire to live their adult lives in a very similar fashion. I think we are doing well, living large in the important things!


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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 146 Feedbacks
February 21, 20150 found this helpful

God bless you. Stay proud of your accomplishments.

February 21, 20150 found this helpful

I tell my husband over and over that we need to move out into the country to save on the ridiculously high cost of living here. There is NO way we could survive on what you guys do and live where we live. My hub makes six figures, and we barely make ends meet.


You are awesome, and a great example of what's possible. Keep up the good work and keep the love flowing.

February 21, 20150 found this helpful

I am so impressed with you and your family. You are doing such an awesome job raising your children. What a blessing you all are!

February 23, 20150 found this helpful

Good for you, you are an inspiration!!!

February 23, 20150 found this helpful

Your article touched a part of my heart where family and working together resides. God Bless all of you for reminding what life and love is all about.

March 15, 20150 found this helpful

Amazing job! Where oh where can one live where car ins & property taxes are so low?

March 15, 20150 found this helpful

This testimonial is awesome and stirred my heart. I would like to communicate with them personally, if possible. I am "an old lady" and on a fixed income, but I believe I can help these folks even further if I can know how to contact them.


Plan B would be to ask them if I can move in this them! (Just kidding) More power to you folks! God bless.

April 27, 20150 found this helpful

Wow, what a wonderful family with rich teachings about life and how to be successful in the eyes of God. Great character lessons being taught here, priceless.


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