Run Your Family Budget Like a Business
6 Money-Saving Tips From America's Cheapest Family
By Lisa Horten
The topic of financial planning may sound a bit dull, but when I heard about a family who paid off their first home in just nine years on an annual income of $35,000, my ears perked up. The Economides (as fate would have it, that is their real name) aren't your typical penny-pinchers. They're a couple who has mastered the art of smart saving and spending, even with a limited income and large family. When Steve and Annette Economides wed in 1982, Steve was working as a graphic designer, making $6.50 an hour, while his wife ran their home like a finely tuned, cost-effective corporation. As the years passed, Steve and Annette welcomed five children into their family, eventually putting them all through college without a single student loan. Intrigued yet? I sure was! Here's my takeaway from a conversation with America's (self-proclaimed) "cheapest family."
Run Your Home Like It's a Business
"We had a budget. We had a money management system that we sat down and committed to working with," Annette says of how the Economides set their household up from the get-go. "Every two weeks, we had a budget meeting, kind of like a business, and we figured our home should turn a profit. That's what we focused on."
Don't Let Your Kids Break the Bank
I was pretty amazed that the Economides were able to succeed with all of their financial accomplishments (especially that of sending all of their kids to college without a single loan) with not one, not two, but five children. That's a big family! When I asked them how they did it, Annette said that they really didn't have to alter their spending too significantly with the arrival of each new child.
"We've always focused on developing systems," Steve says. "Annette developed a hand-me-down system. She had boxes in the garage where the kids would put their outgrown clothes, so that when the next kid came along, we knew right where to get them. That saved us a ton of money on clothes."Read More...
Here’s How to Save Hundreds on Groceries
These 29 surprising and easy moves will help you find the best prices, avoid the sneakiest store tricks, and prevent those costly impulse buys.Read More...
MARIE - The Marie Osmond Show on Hallmark
We had a wonderful time chatting with Marie before our segment. As the mother of eight children she totally understands the value of training children to work, earn and manage money. We shared some of the tools we've developed to teach our kids to learn to be financially independent.
MONEYSMART FAMILY FACT SHEET
The MoneySmart Family System on the Marie Osmond Show
The USDA estimates that it will cost parents almost $260,000 to raise child from birth to the age of 17
Steve & Annette Economides, known as The MoneySmart Family, saved more than 1 million dollars raising their 5 kids. And the money they did spend was invested in their kids to train them to become financially independent.
They developed a system over a period of several years called MoneySmart Kids and describe it in their book The MoneySmart Family System.
Most parents are unaware of the consequences of the 5/50/500 rule. Basically any time you pay for something for your child without allowing them to earn all or part of it you fall victim to the escalating rule.
The 5/50/500 Rule
$5 stage: Between the ages 0 to 5 it will cost you $5 every time you give in to your child
$50 stage: Between 6 and 11 it increases to $50
$500 stage: Between 12 and17 – the techno-stage (phones, iPads, computers) it increases to $500
$5,000 stage: Between 18 and 23 — the college years (tuition, cars, credit card bail-outs) it increases to $5000.
$50,000 stage: Ages 24 and beyond — the bail-out years (home foreclosure, car repossessions, divorces, custody battles, addiction rehab and weddings) it increases to $50,000
You can avoid the consequences of the 5/50/500 rule by training your children to earn, save, spend and give their money. It’s never to early or too late to start raising MoneySmart Kids.
Run your Family like a busines:
BadCredit.com - Cut Your Grocery Bill and Your Debt
The average family of four spends anywhere from $584 to $1156 a month to put food on the table, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Read More...
Portraits - with Roger & Sally Barton on AZ Shine 90.9
Do you have too much month at the end of your money? Meet Steve & Annette Economides, they’ve been called “America’s Cheapest Family!” They will share how you can not only survive but thrive and stop living paycheck to paycheck Saturday morning at 9:00 with Roger and Sally Barton on “Portraits – Snapshots of life, hope and faith.”
There are five segments in this interview:
1) Introduction / overview
2) Saving on Groceries
3) How to set up a Budget that works
4) How to get out of debt
5) Saving on clothes
Here's the back story on Roger & Sally Barton. In 1982 when we were first married, we helped to run a young married's class at the church we attended. There were about 25 couples in the class and Roger and Sally were one of the couples. Roger worked for an insulation company and helped us save a lot of money on our heating and cooling costs by "blowing in" much better insulation into the attic of our first home. A few years later they moved to Tucson where Sally took a job with Family Life Radio. In 1992 we did a radio interview there with hosts Randy Carlson and Kevin Lehman, along with our friend and mentor Jody Humber - who had just released his first book, "Dollars and Sense." Sally was the producer of that program.
We lost track of Roger and Sally until 2014 when we received a call from Nancy at AZ Shine Radio who wanted us to come to Prescott to do a one hour interview! Sally is now the station manager of listener supported AZ Shine 90.9! There are so many more connection points that we could share. Roger and Sally are true shining lights and beacons of hope to the community and the world!
It was a great opportunity to catch up and get reacquainted. We laughed and laughed at the different connection points we've had in the past and about where God has taken us all in recent years.
Here's radio host Kelly's recipe for homemade laundry detergent. She says that she made two batches that have lasted her several years!
LET’S MAKE SOMETHING
I’ve talked about making cleaners and whatnot, but I have never really shown how absolutely EASY it is. So let’s get on about easy.
Here is everything you will need for prep.
1 – Emptied and clean liquid laundry detergent containers. Save them as you go or ask if any of your friends have any.Read More...
No loans: How to graduate from college debt-free
Rachel Cruze, the daughter of financial guru Dave Ramsey, really wanted to go to Auburn University, which to outsiders wouldn't seem like much of a problem. Ramsey's financial success meant the family could pay for any college she wanted.
"But we live out what we preach," says Cruze.
Ramsey told her they would gladly pay the cost of four years of in-state tuition. She would pay anything beyond that.
But then she discovered it cost three times more at Auburn University in Alabama than college in her home state of Tennessee. And the education was not three times better, she says.
And so she went to the University of Tennessee and graduated debt free.
This makes her rare. Seven out of 10 students graduate with student loan debt averaging $29,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, an education research nonprofit. In June 2010, student loan debt passed credit card debt, and now is $1.08 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.
With rising college costs, it isn't a wonder many turn to loans. The Department of Education says the average cost of a public, four-year college degree rose from $16,900 in 2000 to $23,200 in 2012. And that's adjusting for inflation. What's worse, the "total" cost doesn't include the interest students will pay over the life of their loans.
Many may feel the cost is worth it; Pew Research Center found millennials in 2013 with college degrees made median annual earnings $17,500 more than their peers who only graduated from high school.
Normal is crazy
Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for The Washington Post, agrees that student loans are not necessary and teaches to people at her church in the Washington D.C. area how to go to college without debt.
"They look at me like I must be from Mars," she says. "They actually get belligerent. They can't conceive of having to save enough for college. And even parents who have saved take out loans."
Singletary says many people do not save precisely because they know student loans are available.
"Can you see how crazy that is?" she says.
Cruze says a friend of hers went to college so she could get a dream job. But when that dream job became available, her friend had to turn it down. The job wouldn't pay enough to live and still pay the minimum student loan payments.Read More...
Be Cheap, but not Too Cheap!
BY NOEL FOO
The Economides have found fame as America’s Cheapest Family, surviving on half a normal family’s budget, but many of their frugal methods do make sense. Malaysians can learn a thing or two from them.
Financial Hope Conference - Recap
Garage Sale Gal
The conference was a joint effort between local experts on ways to keep more money in your pocket by spending less and saving more.
Bob Blayter is an associate pastor of a Gilbert church as well as a budget planner. It was his idea to gather me and several others to form the group. He says our first event was a success. “I would rate it very good to excellent. Most of the comments we’ve gotten (from the attendees) are that they wished the event was longer. And that’s a good sign,” Bob tells me. Maria agreed.
She had wanted to hear more about saving dollars at the grocery store from Steve and Annette Economides—also known as America’s Cheapest Family—and setting a budget and maybe even a few more of my garage sale adventures. “I liked your stories. There’s nothing like a good story where someone buys something at a garage sale and it’s worth a ton of money,” Maria says.
The conference included four topics surrounding money saving tips. It ran for four hours and included dozens of tips and a question and answer time. I also included a show and tell with some of my garage sale finds. There sure are some treasures I wish I could share with everyone but they’re just too big to lug around—like the 1900’s huge solid wood table with carved and turned legs and wheels on the bottom. Paid just $10 for it and the owners delivered it for free! And had to leave the 6-ft round mirror with wooden frame at home too—paid $40 for it. (Maybe next time the conference should come to my house!)
Nancy Ray opted to attend the event when she just couldn’t shake the “feeling that I had to be there”. “I just had to find out what it was about. It was like I was supposed to go. I was supposed to be there,” says Nancy, also a Gilbert resident. Nancy says she loved the presentations on getting debt free and saving at the grocery store. “I was jumping up in inside myself with all the information I was hearing. It was so empowering,” Nancy adds.
Now, if you’re kicking yourself for not going to our event. Never fear. According to our leader, we’re planning more in the future. “Oh absolutely we’re going to have another one. I would want to shoot for six months. Twice a year would be great, Bob says.
So keep reading this column to watch for the date of the next Financial Hope Conference.Read More...
What It's Really Like to Live on a Shoestring Budget
Finding it hard to keep your money in your pocket? With today's tight job market, rampant student debt, and high unemployment rate, many Americans are in a constant struggle to live within their means. Had you grown up in the Economides household, however, you'd know what it's like to live on tight budget.
Steve and Annette Economides, authors of America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams, may be the definition of shoestring budgeters. The couple acquired frugal-living habits after marrying in 1982. Although Steve was only making $13,000 a year at a printing company, Annette wanted to be home to raise the kids. To make it work, the couple used creative methods to live off one income, such as Annette learning how to sew to make her own maternity clothes. They found that, even on limited financial resources, they could still afford some of the discretionary expenses they longed for; all it took was discipline. "We had to save three months to go out to dinner at Benihana, but we got there," says Annette.
By keeping a tight strap on their wallets, Steve says they never had to lean on credit to support their lifestyle. That may be hard for many consumers to picture, as the average U.S. household today with at least one credit card owes nearly $15,950 in credit-card debt, according to recent data compiled by CreditCards.com.
WBCL Radio Indiana - Lynne Ford
This is one of the new speeches that we present. It's taken from the book America'sCheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money and from our recent daily experiences with medical expenses. You'll find tips and tricks to make your medical budget stretch much further. Listen to the interview through the link at the bottom of this page.
What is the average family to do?