A mom of 11 revealed her expert advice on “parenting on a budget” and entertaining your kids without breaking the bank.
Joanne and Tommy O’Rourke are facing a financial squeeze as the cost-of-living crisis continues, but they’ve come up with some ingenious ways to get their money out of the way.
The couple, along with their 11 children, aged between two and 19, are locked up in a four-bedroom rented house in North London.
They have seen their energy bills double to nearly £ 3,200 a year while now shelling out a whopping £ 760 a month for food, which includes 15 loaves of bread, 42 pints of milk and a pound of pasta.
Both parents work but fear the coming winter.
Joanne, 39, said: “We are putting away what we can.”
Tommy, a forklift driver, 41, added: “Families need more support.”
He and therapist Joanne are the parents of Mitchell, 19, Lauren, 17, Joe, 15, son Ryley, 13, Tommy, 12, Regan, 12, Ashlee-Dean, 10, Freddie, eight, Danny, six, Neave, four and two-year-old Brodie together.
The family is now looking to raise their monthly income by £ 2,000 and cuts have been made.
The TV and lights are only on at night, and Joanne has reduced four to three full loads of laundry a day.
They have a strict eating schedule and days outside are now as delights as camping in the garden.
The couple have now shared their tips for “parenting on a budget” with their 50,000 web followers.
Joanne kept the little ones busy for an afternoon for just £ 2, buying cookies and icing sugar to decorate them.
For their son Tommy’s 12th birthday, they recreated his favorite Harvester restaurant at home, complete with ‘salad’, which cost less than £ 50 instead of paying around £ 150 for a meal out.
When it was Ashlee-Dean’s 10th birthday, they bought pizza bases that cost 66p for him and his friends to make their own versions, which cost a fraction to go to Pizza Hut.
To avoid a huge financial blow at Christmas, the couple collect gifts at a reduced price all year round.
The festive dinner can be paid for by saving money.
Joanne said: “I know we are in a more fortunate position than others, so we want to do what we can to help other families keep functioning.
“We get a lot of people texting asking for advice, meals we can share.
“People send us messages to thank you. It’s nice to share and help others.”