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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

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

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:

AZFamily KTVK - Jay Crandall 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. 

They graduate, drowning in debt.

But it doesn't have to work like that. Here are some key steps students can take to earn that college degree and graduate with a positive net worth.

“It is a terrible problem that is really affecting all of our economy," Steve Economides said about the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. He and wife, Annette, head up “America's Cheapest Family."

“As 'America's Cheapest Family,' we say you can still go to college and not have debt for it,” Annette Economides said.

Dollar Stretcher How We Paid Off Our Home in Just 9 Years & Other Financial Feats

How would you like to pay off your first home in just 9 years? Or pay cash for your next car? How about spending less than half of what other families do on groceries? On this episode of The Dollar Stretcher Interview, meet Steve & Annette Economides, a couple who has done just that and much more to save big bucks for their family. Join us as we ask America's Cheapest Family how they managed these wonderful financial feats and see what they can teach you about frugality.

Steve & Annette Economides are New York Times best-selling authors, parents of five grown children, family finance experts and are affectionately known as America's Cheapest Family. Visit them at Some of their books include: America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your DreamsCut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won't Have to Cut Coupons, and The MoneySmart Family System: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age.

For more helpful videos on living better for less, visit the TDS YouTube channel or the TDS video index.

PopSugar - Run Your Family like a Business- Economides, Budget, Kids, Money, Savings 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."

Money Magazine - Time Inc Here’s How to Save Thousands 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.

Regardless of whether you’re feeding just yourself or a whole family, you probably find that groceries take a big bite out of your paycheck. Food is the third-largest household expense, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. And for a family of four, the average monthly tab runs between $568 for the super thrifty to $1,293 for those on a more liberal budget, according to the USDA.

MONEY consulted supermarket-savings experts for strategies that would help you trim the fat, without giving up the foods you love. Employing just a few of these 29 tricks—because let’s face it, you hardly have time to cook let alone turn shopping into a project—can take your bills down by 25%.

In other words, you could realize between $1,700 and $3,900 in annual savings.

Now that’s pretty delicious.

Plan Ahead

1. Do an inventory. Take stock of your pantry and freezer once a month to get a sense of what items you need and what you can skip buying, says Annette Economides, co-author of Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family. Her husband and co-author Steve adds, “you don’t want to get in a panic when you’re in the grocery store and impulse buy an item at full price only to go home and find you’ve already got it.” Use an app like Out of Milk to help with your inventory.

2. Plan meals by the ads. “A lot of people make a weekly meal plan and then go look for a deal,” says Steve Economides. “Instead, look first at the deals and plan your meals around what’s on sale. This way, you can get meals for half price.”

The Marie Osmond Show 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.

Marie Osmond with Steve & Annette Economides



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

Read More... - 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.

The USDA obviously hasn’t heard of Steve and Annette Economides, the husband and wife duo behind Money Smart Family and the critically acclaimed book “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half.”

AZ Shine 90.9 Sally Barton and Roger Barton Portraits - with Roger & Sally Barton on AZ Shine 90.9

Sally, Barton, Roger, AZShine, radio, economides, cheapest, family, america's, moneysmart

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

Listen to the interview here

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.

Deseret National News Deseret News: 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.
"I thought that was harsh," Cruze says.

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.
"I thought, 'Wow! My parents are smart,'" she says with a laugh. "Going to that college didn't make any financial sense."

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.
But even with so many resorting to student loans, Cruze, who just finished co-authoring the new book "Smart Money Smart Kids" with her father, insists that graduating debt free is not something that is just for those with well-to-do parents.

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.



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