The Radfords, Britain’s biggest family, give Closer their top money-saving tips

Sue and Noel Radford are the parents of Britain's biggest family, with 16 kids and counting!


by Jack White |
Published on

They are mum and dad to sons Chris, Jack, Daniel, Luke, James, Josh,Max, Oscar and Casper, and daughters Sophie, Chloe, Millie, Katie, Ellie, Aimee and Tillie.

Being parents to 16 children, and having 15 of them living at home, can obviously be very pricey, but Sue and Noel, with their years of experience, have mastered the best ways of keeping costs down.

Together they run a successful bakery and they pride themselves on the fact that they don't claim extra benefits apart from what is entitled to them.

Sue and Noel with their whole family
Sue and Noel with their whole family

But they are savvy with their money and how it's spent. When it comes to running a house with that many people living there, Noel said: "It's difficult with that many, it's just a case of at night it's 'lights out' at a certain time, and everything is switched off.

"We also shop around for cheaper utilities, for example we've just switched to TalkTalk's super fast fibre broadband – which is completely unlitmited."

Cooking for at least 17 mouths every night is a challenge for the parents, but they have a strict rule that the children all eat the same meal.

Sue said: "We don't really have any fussy eaters, we cook one evening meal and they have to eat what's in front of them. We are lucky that we don't' have fussy eaters because there's no way we would be messing about cooking two, three meals of an evening."

One of Sue's top tips for keeping every day prices at a minimum is to plan ahead and bulk buy. "We buy in bulk things like wash powder, toilet rolls and we shop about for things and see what's on offer. It's all about planning and being savvy.

"I just go out and do a shop every day which saves me a lot of money. We also buy things from our local veg man, and we use our local butcher as well because we find it's a lot cheaper."

As well as keeping the costs down at home, as you can imagine, taking everyone on a family holiday isn't easy and can be expensive.

But they have some tips to keep a getaway as cheap as possible. Noel said: "If we're flying to a different country, we have to be careful when booking flights. You can't just ring up and book 18 tickets in one go because you would pay, for example, £150 a seat.

"But if you were to book it four seats at a time you might only pay £95 a seat. So it's a case of ringing the airline, checking there's enough seats available and booking them in slots.

"We'll do a villa, rather than anything else. It's cheaper to book one villa than it is five apartments. You've got to be a bit cheeky and ask for a discount and generally they will."

Sue and Noel say that the overall key to managing with a big family is staying calm. She said: "Just go with the flow. If we were two stressed people it would never work. For us, we're just very laid back. Have a routine – it makes things run a lot more smoothly."

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