Hand-me-downs and home-school savers

Save money by buying good-quality products that can be used as hand-me-downs, such as clothes and cots.
Save money by buying good-quality products that can be used as hand-me-downs, such as clothes and cots. 

Cassandra Parker has become something of an expert in finding ways to save while raising her seven children.

The 33-year-old from Glenmore Park has four children aged five and younger, including two-month-old Ayrabella, or Bella as she is known.

We use cloth nappies – the fancy new ones. You get your initial set-up costs but we do re-use a lot of things.

She and husband Joe, 35, who together own a real estate agency, save some money by not needing daycare, with Mrs Parker home-schooling all seven children – five boys and two girls. They also buy good-quality products that can be used as hand-me-downs, such as clothes and cots. They look for bargains on eBay and at sales.

Mrs Parker outlaid a total of $4000 when Ayrabella was born.

"With Bella coming into the family, because she's the first girl after all those boys, she got lots of new clothes because [older sister] Paige didn't have a lot," she said.

"We use cloth nappies – the fancy new ones. You get your initial set-up costs but we do re-use a lot of things."

Mrs Parker spends an average of $300 a week to feed her family, $900 twice a year to clothe all the children, and $400 a term on educational supplies and books.

She spends $700 on monthly expenses for the youngest four alone, adding up to $8400 a year.

Her baby bonus "sits in a bank" and will go towards the children and emergencies.