Brandon Pipkin doesn't have a choice whether or not to be frugal. As a father of five, Pipkin, who is also author of "21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success," has adopted a credo that guides his and his family's attitude toward money and material things. "I try to live by the motto 'fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,'" he says.
Even Pipkin concedes that it's impossible to always live up to that aspiration, but he and his family come pretty close. For starters, instead of subscribing to cable or Netflix, the family watches movies they get for free from the local library. Pipkin and his wife penny pinch by skipping dinners on their "date" nights and opt just for dessert out instead. And the author, who insists he has no mechanical aptitude, also now repairs the family's cars. "I've learned from friends and the Internet how to change the oil, fix clutches, brakes, a drive shaft, alternators, troubleshoot issues and replace various parts," he says. "It's not easy, but it sure is effective."
These days, with the economy continuing to struggle, more and more large families (and small ones, too) have to find ways to make their incomes go further. In fact, the very idea of what makes a typical large family is changing. It's no longer just the nuclear family with lots of kids. "We need to broaden our idea of what makes a big family," says Karen Carlson, director of education at InCharge Debt Solutions, a Florida-based non-profit credit counseling organization. "In this economy, we are seeing more multi-generational families forming, where you have one wage earner, a grandparent or two, and adult kids."
Regardless of whether your big family consists of parents and a gaggle of children, or it also includes grandkids, a couple of aunts and a cousin twice removed, saving money is possible and doesn't have to be tedious. Read ahead for 10 ways your big family can save.