by Jenny Smedra
Let me start with a brief overview of my life in a large family. I live in a busy, boisterous multi-generational house. After teaching overseas at Cairns Primary Schools, I returned home and currently live with my parents, two nieces and my grandmother. Our home is full of love, laughter and sometimes chaos. But even when there is friction, we can find a way to make things work. We all live under one roof for different reasons. However, some of them fall within the financial sphere. While you might expect the opposite, we’ve found that living in a multi-generational home has financial benefits.
Financial benefits of a multi-generational home
Huge savings in long-term care for the elderly
The greatest financial relief was our savings on long-term care for the elderly. About ten years ago my family had to set up long-term care for my grandmother. After a particularly bad fall, she needed 24/7 medical treatment. She spent several months in hospice care. However, once she recovered enough to be released, there were still serious concerns that she could live alone.
For safety reasons, my mother and her sisters first examined supervised care facilities. The pension associations provided first-class care and 24-hour support from healthcare professionals. But it came with an average price tag of about $ 10,000 a month. Knowing that the whole family would likely need their savings for future health care expenses, they decided that it was best to protect their savings and share responsibility.
We have a rotating schedule that allows my grandmother to spend two weeks between our household and my aunt’s. She can spend a lot of time with all of her loved ones, and we all play a role in taking care of her. Whether it’s driving her to doctor’s appointments, preparing her meals, giving her vitamins and medication daily, supporting her during physical therapy, helping her to the bathroom, or just hanging out with her, we all do our part . When we live in a multi-generational house, we can support one another. We delegate tasks to ease the burden while significantly reducing my grandmother’s medical expenses.
Lowering the cost of childcare
Another major monthly expense is childcare. When all adults are working and the children are not old enough to be left at home unattended, finding affordable childcare can be a challenge. Day care centers require a good chunk of your monthly budget, especially if you only work part-time or are only finding a minimum wage.
One of the best parts of our life situation is that there is always someone around to talk to or to help. Since I’ve been home, childcare has been one of my biggest contributions to the household. Although my two nieces are independent and self-sufficient, a lot of stress is relieved by having another adult in the picture. I’m there to help with meals, chores, or homework so that my parents can focus on their other chores.
Free tutoring services
As a trained teacher, I understand that children sometimes need extra help. While teaching abroad, I provided individual academic support for homework and college test preparation. Anyone who has used these programs knows how expensive they can be. While this is not a necessary expense for every family, it is a service that I can offer myself for free.
Now that I’m at home and under one roof, it’s a lot easier to help because we have more time together. I also work from home, so I also have more flexibility to bypass their schedules. By identifying areas and focusing on those where they need the most improvement, I can help ensure that they receive the best education possible.
Rental costs and living expenses
Another consideration is how much money we save on housing costs. Although the monthly bills are more expensive than the average household, we save hundreds of dollars every month. Living together means that we pay less property taxes, rent payments, utilities, maintenance and repair costs for a single house. Combining several smaller apartments has helped us lower the final balance of our monthly cost of living.
Budgeting Tips for a Multi-Generation Home
One of the greatest challenges in our company is adhering to the monthly budget. With so many people there are tons of daily necessities to pay for. However, here are some effective budgeting tips that will help us cut bills.
- We save a lot of groceries by buying groceries in bulk. Thanks to discount clubs, we can make huge savings on monthly groceries.
- To save water and reduce electricity costs, we always make sure that the laundry and dishes are fully loaded. By filling household appliances full, you can minimize your electricity and water consumption.
- In our home, we reuse and reuse everything. Not only does it save money, my family is even looking forward to it. Hand-me-downs and clothes swaps become a regular occurrence among our cousins, friends, and nieces.
- After all, we maintain a regular schedule. This is probably the hardest part as we have to keep track of everyone’s daily needs. However, using a calendar means I won’t miss any appointments or payments that result in penalties or late fees.
Financial and social benefits of a multi-generational home
While it is not always easy, living in a multi-generational home has many advantages. In addition to the financial benefits I’ve discussed, there are also many social benefits. Studies of the effects of combined child and elderly care suggest that all age groups benefit from it. Children benefit from having more caring adults in their lives. In addition, older people feel needed, stay active and can contribute to the household in their own way. Most importantly, each caretaker’s responsibility is lessened when everyone plays their part. Nothing is perfect, but our way of life has definitely improved the quality of our family life and created a stronger support network.