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Limited income, big family, major savings: Meet the Economides clan

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When Steve and Annette Economides got married in 1982, they made a conscious decision to always live below their means. The couple from Scottsdale, Arizona, even made the pact a part of their wedding vows.

Then the car broke down.

This is usually the part in the story where taking on a little bit of debt seems perfectly OK to do. After all, Americans collectively owe nearly $12 trillion in outstanding household debt. Sometimes other alternatives are simply out of reach.

In this case, though, Steve was able to ride a bike to work, so he did – for a solid month. And they saved even harder.

“Friends lent us an occasional vehicle over weekends,” Annette Economides said. “They’re still good friends of ours.”

Their resolve would be tested many times over the years, given that they’ve raised five children on an income that rarely exceeded $40,000 a year, not far above the federal poverty line for a family of their size.

But by staying the course, the couple has amassed almost a million dollars in assets.

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Back, To, School, Money, Financial, Literacy, Economides, Economics, National, Foundation, Financial, literacy, MoneySmart, Kids, Smart, Money, Ramsey, annette, Steve How back-to-school shopping can teach your kids money lessons

How back-to-school shopping can teach your kids money lessons

Back-to-school shopping represents one of the best opportunities all year for students to learn a few lessons before they return to the classroom — money lessons, that is.

"When they reach their high school years, kids have to be prepared to do some comparison shopping and live within a budget, because they're going off on their own in three to five years and they need to be prepared," said Steve Economides, who with wife Annette heads America's cheapest family, runs moneysmartfamily.com and has written books including "The MoneySmart Family System."

"We're not raising kids; we're raising future adults."

Americans will spend $68 billion during this year's back-to-school season, including back-to-college, according to the National Retail Federation. That's an average of $630 per family for school-age kids and $899 for families with college-bound students.

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mattMoneyMan.com, Matt, budget, savings, financial, literacy, debt, equity, savings, money, budgeting, americas, cheapest, family 5 MONEY SAVING LESSONS FROM AMERICA’S CHEAPEST FAMILY

Recently, MattMoneyMan (MMM) had the pleasure of talking to Steve Economides (SE), the head of the Economides family, which is well-known for its budgeting and money saving tips. The Economides have been teaching Americans and people all around the world their brand of frugality for more than a decade. They’ve appeared on widely watched shows like Good Morning America, 20/20, The Today Show, and many more. They’ve been featured on magazines like Good Housekeeping, Real Simple and People.  They’re the authors of 3 bestselling books on personal finance.  Their website www.moneysmartfamily.com is a wealth of money saving tips and advice. Nowadays, they’ve renamed themselves “Money Smart Family.”  Personally, I prefer “America’s Cheapest Family”; being cheap to them was a badge of honor.

To preview, here are the five lessons Steve offered:

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Back-To-School Shopping, Ninja Style! #MoneySaving Tips from America's Cheapest Family Back to School Shopping . . . Ninja Style!

Back-to-school shopping should start with a plan. Don't buy until you know what you need.
 (Photo by: Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
 

Back to School Shopping . . . Ninja Style

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BANKRATE, Economides, Groceries, Save, Money, Time, Expert, Ellie, Kay, frugal, frugality, 10 insider grocery savings secrets

Never pay full price again

Ever think: If only there were a way to know the ins and outs of my favorite grocery store's coupon policies and promotions? You're in luck.

"Just ask your store manager, who will happily tell you how to save the most at their store," says Annette Economides, who co-authored "Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With America's Cheapest Family."

"Nobody's advocating that you drive all over town to take advantage of every coupon, ad or reward program," says Ellie Kay, family financial expert. "The trick is finding the ones that are right for your shopping and spending style."

Grocery store managers, who preferred to remain anonymous, offered tips and tricks on how to score the best values in their stores.

 

Know your store's coupon policies

Successful couponers know to look on a store's website for the printable coupon policy to help them get the best deals. For example, Kroger, Giant, Safeway and Acme Markets double or triple coupon face values in some states, usually on specific days and to specific limits. For example, on a double coupon day, a $1 off coupon would be worth $2 off (though most stores generally allow doubling of coupons worth less than $1).

Publix and Target allow coupon stacking (using a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon); Wal-Mart does not. But Wal-Mart will apply any coupon overage (when savings are more than the final product cost) to your total grocery bill, while most other stores won't. Costco accepts no manufacturer coupons whatsoever, while Publix will honor certain competitors' coupons, depending on your store location. Target honors no competing stores' coupons. Coupon policies change often, so make it a habit to check your store's policy.

Ask your store manager:

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Experian, #creditchat, financial, literacy, economides, moneysmart Financial Strength for Teens & Students: Experian CreditChat

We were hesitant to connect with Experian because of their reputation as a credit reporting bureau. But when we connected with Mike Delgado, we discovered a group of people who are committed to empowering consumers to be MoneySmart. We were invited to participate in a panel discussion with some other MoneySmart people too:

​This is a one hour video and contains some really great information for parents and kids (you may want to break it up into a few shorter sessions).

We discuss allowances, chores, whether it's right to just give kids money and so much more.

Here's a list of most of the questions we cover:

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HowToPayForCollegeHQ.com college without debt. Degree, studentloan, loans, debtfree How to get a Debt-Free College Education

This is an interview we did with our friend Celest Horton at HowToPayForCollegeHQ.com. We share how we prepared our kids for college: Academically, Vocationally and Economically. We got them prepared through high school, but they had to pay for college themselves. With our coaching, all of our kids attended and graduated without debt (some from two-year programs and some from four-year programs). This podcast is one of Celest's most popular.

Listen here:

Steve & Annette are NY Times Best Selling authors of three books and are recognized internationally as family finance experts. They have appeared on many national TV shows including: Good Morning America, The Today Show, ABC’s 20/20, Fox TV’s Your World with Neil Cavuto and The Dr. Phil Show. They are regularly quoted on radio, in newspapers and have been featured in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, People and Real Simple as well as profiled on Yahoo and MSNBC.

If you follow their advice you’ll experience financial freedom, more money in the bank, debt-free living, better family times and lots more laughter.

Celest has some phenomenal guests with awesome ideas for making college affordable. Please visit her site: HowToPayForCollegeHQ.com.

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Deseret News: Cheap and Healthy Experts Dish on Eating Better for Less

One dollar and fifty cents per day could make a difference for your health. That's the difference in cost between a healthy diet of whole foods and an unhealthy diet of processed foods, according to a meta-study by Harvard University.

“For 60 percent to 70 percent of Americans, $1.50 a day is not a big deal,” the study's author, Dariush Mozaffarian, told Harvard Magazine. However, the figure adds up to $2,200 per year for a family of four, which could be out of reach for low-income families.

Meal planning and grocery-shopping strategies can shrink a family's overall grocery bill regardless of income, according to money-saving experts. And putting together inexpensive meals with healthy ingredients might be easier than consumers think. Three important steps to cutting a family's grocery bill are paying attention to sale prices, planning menus in advance and buying whole rather than processed foods.

It's important to define what a healthy diet means, if a family is trying to keep down costs. It doesn't necessarily mean buying specialty foods, like organic grass-fed beef for $10-$20 a pound or organic quinoa for $5-$8 per pound.

"There’s a misperception about what it means to eat healthier," said nutritionist and food writer Keri-Ann Jennings. "One of the biggest things that I think gets confusing is that people equate healthy eating with specialty items."

Mozaffarian defines a healthy diet as one that reduces "things we know are unhealthy like processed meats, highly refined starches, sugars trans fat, and sodium,” and that emphasizes "things we know are good like fruits, vegetables, nuts, vegetable oils, and fish." Other foods, like chicken, eggs, whole grains and legumes are also part of a healthy diet.

Buy what’s on sale

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save money with america's Cheapest family Learn How To Save Money - Padozzles.com

If you are going to learn how to save money, as in saving money on just about everything in life, then learn from the best.  Steve Economides, his wife Annette Economides, (their real last name) and their family of seven (five children) flourished on one modest income, and are smiling today because of it.  

They have been dubbed the name “America’s Cheapest Family”, and while they have accomplished a lot financially, they still wear that name with joy and pride.  

Here’s what we have today:

What was once a frugal life out of necessity has become a life of riches in so many ways.  Fortunately, the Economides are willing to speak about their life activities and lifestyle choices and are here today to teach us all a lot.  

Here’s where they started:

Steve and Annette Economides got married in 1982.  Steve was making $7.00 an hour, and Annette, who was not working at the time, became a new mommy by their first anniversary one year later.  It seems as if they weren’t thinking of their life as one of a financial journey then.  They were just trying to get by.  

However, Annette figured out some good ways to stretch a paycheck, and the two not only lived comfortably, they were soon thriving.  They learned to live on a modest income even with five children.  They purchased their first home with 15% down and paid it off in nine years.  They realized at some point just how many money saving tips they had incorporated into their lives throughout the years.  

Their first financial influences:

Steve and Annette seem to have been greatly influenced by Larry Burkett, the founder of Crown Financial Ministries and most likely one of the big influences of many of the big name Christian finance names of today.  I’m sure you will see they would readily testify that their greatest influence came from Jesus Christ himself though.  

What their life was like:

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AZFamily KTVK - Jay Crandall AZFamily.com College Degree without Debt

by Jay Crandall

Video report by Fields Moseley


 

PHOENIX -- It is supposed to be the road to success, but for some students, college can feel like the road to financial ruin. 

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