Did you see America’s Cheapest Family featured on the Today Show, or Good Morning America ? They are the Ecomomides, (yes their real name) from Arizona and they are a family of 7 that get by very well on a family income of $33,000 a year.
The Economides spend only $350 a month on food and cleaning products. How do they do it?
Step one:Careful planning. The Economides make a grocery list and check it three times before heading to the store.
“These women that are at the grocery store every day, three times a week, are spending gobs of money on food that they don’t need to be spending,” said Annette Economides.
“It takes a little bit of time to sit down and plan a menu. But you eat better, you save more money, and it creates less stress in your life.”
Step two, they say, is using coupons, and having them clipped, filed and ready for action when they arrive at the store.
The family goes to the store with walkie-talkies and scours for bargains.
Step three is a carefully coordinated in-store check for last-minute deals on the shelves.
“Buy one, get two free,” Annette said, reading from a coupon for brownie mix. “So you now have three boxes. And I have a coupon for another dollar off. All three for $1.19!”
Step four of the family’s money-saving plan involves having a lot of freezer space. Whatever the family cannot consume right away can be purchased and saved for a later day.
“One day a month the family all cooks meals,” Annette said. “And we put away anywhere from 13 to 17 meals in a freezer.”
Step five is to avoid credit cards — and their costly interest payments. The couple has never used a credit card in 22 years of marriage.
Their advice to other families, is make a plan and stick to it. First, figure out how much you need to pay your monthly expenses.
Right now, we take anything that we earn over and above what our monthly budget (to us, budget means what we set aside in advance for every anticipated expense – in 19 various subcategories in our checkbook – and split it into three. One third goes into a house fund, to cover any house emergencies. One third goes into a ‘fun’ account, for vacations, and one third for our family goes to charity, but for other families can go to mutual funds or other kinds of savings.”
Because of their thrifty ways, they were able to save up enough money to make a down payment on a house within three years, and to pay it off in nine. They have bought cars with cash, and neither of them have ever used a credit card.
My regular readers know that I have many practical sites to visit to put these frugal tips into action. I have written about coupons that link to your store card for those who hate clipping, organic & gluten free coupons for those who have restricted diets, using a Sharebuilder account to grow your savings, diapers delivered for free, entertainment discounts, retail deals and so much more! My readers can save money on everything that they need to buy! Just use the SEARCH bar at the top of my site, or any of the black resource buttons on the home page.
Truly an inspiration to me and hopefully to my readers at More with Less Today. To learn more from the Economides, you can purchase their book called “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money” at Amazon.com for $9.32. Here is the link: Amazon.com books from America’s Cheapest Family.