For the next several weeks, Tightening the Belt will offer ways to spend smarter on food, and it's worth doing. The average American family of four spends $9,172 on food each year, according to the federal government's Consumer Expenditure Survey. Cutting that total by just 20 percent saves you more than $1,800.
I used to make fun of my brother because he would rinse out empty bread bags – you know the ones that presliced bread come in – and then use them as lunch bags. That was when the word cheap was a derogatory term.
Steve and Annette Economides have five kids and a monthly food bill that totals a mere $350. How do they do it? Among other things, through lots and lots of planning, strategic buying in bulk, utilization of their freezer, pantry, and Ziploc bags, and the occasional purchase of something called a chub.
The Economides, known as America's Cheapest Family, have a new book out called Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half. They answer my questions on smart grocery shopping techniques and economical cooking below.
Gotta have that new iPhone or that pair of Manolos? Just make sure you’re not digging a deeper hole filled with debt. Welcome to the world of fiscal sanity and responsibility. Steve and Annette Economides of Scottsdale, Arizona — yes, that’s their real name — have a simple mantra: plan. Plan ahead. Plan everything — food, housing, clothing, entertainment, travel, even birthday parties. Create a budget and stick to it, —especially in this tough economy.
The Economides of Arizona, self-proclaimed “cheapest family” in America, appeared on TODAY Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and revealed their strategies for saving money in tough times without sacrificing quality of life. Questions from viewers poured in, and here the Economides respond with more tips and advice: