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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

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:

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:

Read More... 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 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:

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.”



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