Saving Money

Bills keep piling up: What to do?

bills, bills, bills, past due notice

Question: With grocery, utilities and public transportation prices climbing, our family is struggling to survive. We have a large family and do grow a small garden, but the bills keep piling up. We’re behind on our rent and income taxes. Our kids attend a charter school that requires uniforms which we can’t afford. We don’t have credit cards or a car and never take vacations. What can we do?


Smart Phones, Dumb Expenses


Question: Our cell phone contract costs $120 per month for a voice, text and data plan. We are thinking about switching to another service. We need a cell phone in case of emergencies; we have a 3 1/2-year-old daughter. We also have a land line. We live paycheck-to-paycheck and are sick of it. 

Answer: Wow — $1,440 per year for cell-phone service sure can put a crimp in a budget. You're smart to be looking for a different plan.

Blog topic: 

Grocery / Cooking Tips for Singles and Empty Nesters

We're working on two new books!
The first one has a working title of "ACF 2 - Groceries"
It is going to be one of the most comprehensive manuals on how to maximize your savings in the grocery arena that has ever been written. We'll write more about the second book later.
To make the book even better, we want to include input from other frugal friends. 

Now is the time to get a great deal on vitamins and supplements

Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

We believe that 100% especially when it comes to our health. We eat healthy food, get exercise, drink a lot of water, wash our hands often and take vitamins and herbs to maintain our health and fight off any sickness that might come our way.


Managing after retirement

Question: After 32 years of teaching, I am retiring at the end of this school year. We’ve been married for 23 years and have three boys. Our oldest son is a college sophomore, and our twins are 12. I’m looking for ways to make extra money after I retire. I could substitute teach but I’m ready to do something different. I live in a rural area of Arizona. I want to stay close to home to be here for my younger kids. What do you suggest?


Budgeting and saving on limited income

Question: I'm a single mom with two sons, 10 and 12. My job pays $15 per hour and I receive child support, but can't seem to get ahead. I rent an apartment, have a car payment and I don't think I'll ever be able to start saving money to buy a home. I'd love to go back to school so I can get a better job, but I don't think I can do it.


Six Ways to Get College Scholarships

Question: In your article about paying for college, you said you helped your kids research and apply for scholarships. Can you give me some advice about doing this?

Answer: It’s great to see a high school senior so motivated. You can do lots of things:


Slice the cost of Cheese

We just read this blog posted by a friend who read our book. She takes our money saving lunch meat strategy (buying chunks of lunch meat in the meat department and having the deli slice it) one step further — it's great! She reduced her cost for sliced cheese almost in half! It's a great idea.



Handling hand-me-downs

Question: We have five boys in a row and currently hand clothes down as long as things last. We’ve started using your MoneySmart Kids system for our oldest two boys. How do you suggest making it fair for them as they begin buying their own clothes? Do I buy their clothes from them at half-cost or a percentage of what they paid for them to then pass them on to the younger boys?


America's Cheapest Family: Who are we?

Hi. We’re Steve and Annette Economides (econo mee ‘dis) from Scottsdale, Arizona. Welcome to our how-to-save-money blog on.

We have five kids ranging in age from 14 to 25 and have been married since 1982. Our frugal lifestyle didn’t start because we were hugely in debt like some other financial experts.

We’ve always been a one-income family. We started economizing from day-one of our marriage, out of necessity, because we were earning so little. Initially living thrifty took a lot of effort and planning, but after a few awesome successes it became a fun game.

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