I'm a mum of 11 – here's how to 'parent on a budget' & keep your kids entertained for cheap | The Sun

A MUM-of-11 has revealed her savvy tips on how to “parent on a budget” and keep the kids entertained without splashing the cash.

Joanne and Tommy O’Rourke are facing a squeeze on their finances as the cost of living crisis continues – but have come up with some ingenious ways to make their money go further.


The couple and their 11 kids – aged between two and 19 – are squeezed into a rented four-bedroom house in North London.

They have seen their energy bills double to nearly £3,200 a year andthey now fork out a huge £760 each month on food – which includes 15 loaves of bread, 42 pints of milk and a kilo of pasta.

Both parents work but they fear the coming winter.

Joanne, 39, said: “We’re putting what we can away.”

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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 are now trying to stretch their £2,000 monthly income and cut backs have been made.

The TV and lights are only on at night and Joanne has cut down from four to three full washing loads a day.

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They have a strict meal plan and days out are now treats like camping in the garden.

The couple have shared their “parenting on a budget” tips with their 50,000 social media followers.

Joanne kept the little ones busy all afternoon for just £2 by buying biscuits and icing sugar to decorate them.

For their son Tommy’s 12th birthday they recreated his favourite Harvester restaurant at home, complete with a “salad bar”.

It cost them less than £50 -much lower than the £150 they would have spent on a meal out.

When it was Ashlee-Dean’s 10th birthday they bought 66p pizza bases for him and his friends to add their own toppings, which cost a fraction of what Pizza Hut pizzas would have cost.

To avoid a huge financial hit at Christmas, the couple pick up cut-price gifts all year round.

The festive dinner is paid for by saving up loose change.

Joanne said: “I know we are in a more fortunate position than some so we want to do what we can to help other families keep ticking over.

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