To not understand how some people afford to have so many children?

(406 Posts)
KiKiFrance Tue 05-Aug-14 15:19:23

I mean this as a genuine question, but how the heck do they do it?

We have 3 DCs as that was all we could afford, yet I know families that have only one very average income that just seem to keep having children, and affording nice things, activities and holidays too.

Someone I know has just had her fifth baby. They are very early thirties and her DH works in a supermarket, and she is a SAHM, so obviously not on a high income, yet they always have nice clothes, the older children to lots of activities, they have a lovely new build house which is decorated beautifully, always eat out, and they bought all new (expensive) baby equipment for baby #5. She has also said to me that they'll have a sixth baby at some point, and possibly a seventh too!

The other person that I know has 4 children. Her DH is a chef but is always in and out of work, but again they seem to have such nice things, and her children to lots of activities and clubs. One of her sons has just had a huge birthday disco in a hall, and she said it cost over £300. They too are planning to have more children.

Our income is good, yet we generally can't afford half the things that they can, and certainly could never have afforded a 4th child, even though I would have quite liked another baby.

Laquitar Sun 10-Aug-14 12:55:52

The problem with moving further out of london and commute in london is not just leaving behind family and friends.
If you have very young children and both parents working it is not doable.. How can you live a baby at thenursery and then commute into london? Are you going to drop off the baby at 6am? And then when you go back in the evening there are train delays. What happens then, do you collect
the baby at 8pm?
Or does the baby commute with you into london? (crazy idea).
Moving out of london works for some families, it depends on the jobs and the ages of children , but it doesnt work for some others.

What it worked until recently was moving into zone 5 (thats us) and buy something cheap or a flat in areas like hackney etc. Now there is no this option either because areas like hackney are now posh and zone 5 isnow not affortable.

nicename Sun 10-Aug-14 10:28:32

If you live in London the housing costs are rediculous. Prices are rising fast and rents are jumping. Our service charge is large, and I know some people paying 4 or even 8 grand a year. My aunt pays £400 a year for her huge flat in Scotland. We pay to park our car on the street as we don't have a parking space in our block.

Nursery fees can be very high, especially if you work full time and need wraparound care (and even more so if your kids are small). I've known parents charged £600 a week for nursery care for a 6 month old (8am-6pm) because they both worked. Most people don't have a spare room for an au pair or live in nanny or have family close by to help with childcare (or family that aren't also working).

Yes, its cheaper elsewhere but if your roots/home/family/job/schools are there, it's not as simple as 'move out'. London is huuuge, so even moving from say, Golders Green to Wimbledon is a big jump - schools, jobs, etc. commute-wise.

You make your choices. I don't judge people living on benefits with 5 kids, just as I don't envy other people their 'fabulous' lifestyles (some of the unhappiest people are those who seem to have 'everything'. You can only really know what you have experience in.

soverylucky Sat 09-Aug-14 18:53:52

Ah you see I don't have the luxury of someone buying a house years ago before prices went mad. It is housing costs all the time that make the difference. Plus I have to pay all my bills. Well done for you but it can't be done for everyone. As you have said - you have been lucky.

FraidyCat Sat 09-Aug-14 18:29:00

Someone up above was wittering about landlords having their mortgages paid by housing benefit. This is bollocks. Landlords own a property and rent it out for what they can get. They get exactly the same rent regardless of whether or not the tenant gets housing benefit towards it, and regardless of whether or not there is a mortgage.

Housing benefit is a subsidy from the government to the tenant. It can't also be a subsidy to the landlord, even leaving aside the fact that it simply isn't, if it were, you'd be counting the same money twice when you tote up government subsidies.

dancestomyowntune Sat 09-Aug-14 18:26:30

We live in the southwest. Mum bought our house at a good time and we decided to live long term together as it made more sense.

We have one car, parking permit is £20 a year.

Dec all dance, we are lucky in that in exchange for classes I work in the dance school office. This means our fees, which if we paid fully would be £600 4 times a year, are £100 4 times a year. Obviously on top of that we pay for privates, festival dances and exams.

Ds2 has just started horse riding. That's £25 a fortnight but it's worth it!

We are lucky in that my mum helps with extras but we pay the majority of bills. We save for holidays, and tend to holiday mainly in this country.

Dh works a full time job as a master butcher and we get cheap but good quality meat. We shop frugally.

It can be done. It's what you prioritise, and how you work around obstacles. We prioritise the children. They don't go without, but they aren't as spoilt as some of their contemporaries. They have things for birthdays and Christmas, not just because they decide they want it.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 09-Aug-14 16:51:06

dances

We have managed similar with 3 dc although 2 of ours are older now.
Our dd competes and plays at a high level in music and does lots of extra curricular at one time it cost around £120 per week, although it doesn't now.
We have holidays, eat exceptionally well with one 15k wage.
I agree money doesn't buy you happiness.
We do it by living in the NW, its cheaper here. Only one person working so no childcare costs, no commute, one car, parking permit only £85 per year, lower council tax probably, than south.

soverylucky Sat 09-Aug-14 16:28:19

Wow dance. I am impressed. Please share how. I would love to give up work and do this. I worry that we couldn't survive on just dh's wage.

dancestomyowntune Sat 09-Aug-14 16:26:10

We live in a nice area. My children do extra curricular activities to a very high, competitive level. Dd1 is about to take up a grammar school place. We manage. We do this with four children and an annual income of 24000. We have holidays. We have a good diet. We have happy children.

Money doesn't buy happiness.

Missunreasonable Sat 09-Aug-14 16:14:28

Why do these threads always wind up with people who suggest others 'just move' to other areas to get a mortgage?

Did anybody suggest that people move to get a mortgage?
I know somebody stated that people on NMW probably couldn't afford to buy a house anywhere and it was pointed out by myself and others that there are areas where people on NMW could possibly afford to buy a house but I didn't see anybody suggesting that people relocate to live in those areas. Pointing out that some areas have cheap houses is not the same as suggesting that people should relocate, it's just pointing out that some areas do still have affordable houses and that it isn't accurate to suggest otherwise.

soverylucky Sat 09-Aug-14 16:09:19

If our children did no extra-curricular at all, if we never went on holiday and we had carried on living next to the drug den then we could have had more children but DH is on what I consider to be a good wage.

As it is - some extra-curricular is important to me, I wanted to bring my children up in an area where they could play out without finding needles and it would be nice to go on a little holiday every now and again.

I am from a very large family. In my own personal experience my parents couldn't afford it. We had very little and what we did have was on credit cards etc. My parents are now left with nothing - no house, no savings, nothing.

So I suppose what I am trying to say is that it can be done and there are lots of different reasons/ways in which people cope. However I do think for young people now (under 30) it is very, very, very difficult because of housing costs. If you are just trying to get a place to rent or buy it is tough and I don't think some people realise just how much of a problem the cost of housing is. Also if you have more than the average amount of children the childcare costs often mean that one parent has to stay at home.

It can be done but it is often very difficult.

Laquitar Sat 09-Aug-14 16:07:21

Sorry something happened with my o and i.

Laquitar Sat 09-Aug-14 16:05:36

Oh ExPat
Thats nothing. I was reading another thread where OP was saying that they can not buy. One pister said: do you have any toys or clothes to ebay to raise the depisit?

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 16:04:07

I must check our bank account.
We must have at least an extra 25k going in a year that we don't know about.
Or we would have surely starved to death by now.

Laquitar Sat 09-Aug-14 15:59:54

Thats What i thought nicename.

If in london then nursery could be 1K plus, mortgage could be anything between 1-2K then a second nursery fee would make the budget tight.
Although i know that people will say if you want something very much you find alternatives etc they could have a live in nanny or move further etc.

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 15:58:04

People are seriously stating that 5k a month is not enough to live on.

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 15:56:38

if you live in London, that would get gobbled up fast with mortgage/rent (easily a couole of grand a month), travel (zone 1-2 card is about £120pcm and even if you don't work, you need some kind of card these days), nurseries/childcare are expensive, council tax, parking permits, service charge, etc.

If you don't work you don't need childcare.
If you don't commute you can use your oyster on a pay as you go. I put twenty quid on mine every few weeks. Lots of people work locally so don't go into zone 1 or 2.
Not everywhere has parking permits.

London is expensive but millions of people with less than £50k manage to live work and have children without relying on benefit and always have.

expatinscotland Sat 09-Aug-14 15:56:33

Why do these threads always wind up with people who suggest others 'just move' to other areas to get a mortgage?

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 15:53:32

Tax credits, luck , family, fiddling

We have no family help.
I don't consider us unlucky but being dx with MS in your thirties (OH), your eldest child getting cancer and dying and the child you agree to take the care of turning out to have significant disabilities are not exactly 'lucky' either.
We do get tax credits, along with millions of others.

Like millions of others we do not 'fiddle'.

But honestly , if you are jealous of my life you are welcome to it.

Which child of yours do you chose to die, which one to have SN and will it be you or your OH who gets to have the degenerative neurological condition?

nicename Sat 09-Aug-14 15:47:47

85k is probably about 4.8k-ish after tax I'd guess.

If you live in London, that would get gobbled up fast with mortgage/rent (easily a couole of grand a month), travel (zone 1-2 card is about £120pcm and even if you don't work, you need some kind of card these days), nurseries/childcare are expensive, council tax, parking permits, service charge, etc.

Plus every sodding thing is more expensive here (ie kids cubs, sports, entertainment, etc) as when I go up to Scotland.

Clarinet9 Sat 09-Aug-14 15:39:55

Tax credits, luck , family, fiddling

in no particular order

Laquitar Sat 09-Aug-14 15:34:43

How mUch the 85K is in net income with 2 working and using the tax allowance? Is it around 5Kpcm?

jellybeans Sat 09-Aug-14 15:26:18

We have 5DC. We manage because
we have a smallish terrace and low mortgage ('poor end' of a very good town), holiday in UK, supermarket/ebay for clothes, like doing free stuff like board games and country walks, share a car, had them very young so we never built up a good two income lifestyle and so only got better off.

DH is working f/t shifts (middle earner) and I am a SAHM. We are nowhere near well off but manage. Def agree that teens are expensive!!!

It is true that some people on very low wages get topped up to match middle income earners (I know a few) but it doesn't bother me because I am happy in my life and get to be a SAHM which I really want to be. I am happy to settle for much less material things, holidays and big houses.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 09-Aug-14 13:28:24

85k? We have 3 dc and I have never seen this sort of money in a year, not even half this much.
babies don't cost anything really, its what you decide to do with them that costs the money.
if you waited until you could afford kids, you'd never have any.

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 11:17:15

85k and can't afford another child confused

People live in a different world.

Deverethemuzzler Sat 09-Aug-14 11:15:06

I have five children.
Four surviving.

We afford our children because we don't get all tied up in knots about piano lessons and holidays abroad and tuition fees etc.

We are working class and I am sick of 'the squeezed middle class' resenting us because they think we have something they should have.

We own our house with a small mortgage. Every penny we have earned has gone into reducing that mortgage and we bought a house that we could afford in an area that people were calling a 'shit hole' at the time. No holidays, second hand everything and budget everything.

There was NO free childcare for our first 3 children. Not a single hour. So we paid for it all. It was great when we got 15 hours for the youngest two and we greatly appreciated it.

We didn't go to university. We both worked from 16 on wards.

We have just done what generations have done. Worked, had a family and got on with life without bitching about all the things we don't have.

We do get TC and WTC now, a lot of people do. They played NO part in our decision to have more children. TBH they always seemed like a novelty to us as we had spent so many years without anything. OH is disabled so works part time. I work part time because I am his and one of my children's carer. This was NOT part of our life plan.

We have both carried on working bar a few years to care for my terminally ill daughter and a few months mat leave.

I feel very much for people who cannot afford to buy or rent. It is a massive problem. The answer is to provide affordable rented accommodation for those who need it which will lower market rents and hopefully take the heat out of the housing market.

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