Scottsdale, Arizona; a Sonoran desert town, in the Valley of the Sun. It's a city
known for fine arts and great golf. Scottsdale has been called the most
western town in the west and the Beverly Hills of the southwest. It's also home to
Steve, "well they got plain and they got
strawberry" and Annette Economides, "this the time when I wish I was just a little bit
taller." "Frugal; Thrifty; Tightwad; Thrift-a-holics", they've been called lots
of things but America's Cheapest Family has stuck. If you spend more than you
earn, you're in a world of hurt. They're the authors of the Home Economizer
newsletter, that led to a book, both are designed to save people money. Our goal
there, with the newsletter and with the website, is to help people beat the
system. To stop living under the pile of debt and discover the freedom that we
found. What else do we need from produce? That freedom comes with a lot of
planning, which pays off first in savings at the grocery store.
They've got some markdown stuff in the wall deli, they've got some deli creation
hot sandwich melts for 49 cents. Quaker, Quaker, Quaker, you got yogurt, it was on sale
for a buck ninety-nine for 32 ounces. Do you have a coupon for it? Armed with
their walkie-talkies and coupons, Steve takes the outside aisles, mostly meat and
produce. Alright, you've got a look at your prices carefully. Annette gets the rest. They
plan family menus in advance and only shop once each month, to avoid impulse
buying. How much are they and do you have a coupon? The family Clips coupons, but
only if they have time, and if it's something they would want to buy. Don't
stress, if you don't have the time to do couponing, there's plenty of other
strategies that, that can be employed to save on your groceries. One of
those strategies is watching the sales ads closely. Grocery ads that are in your
newspaper, are like your lottery tickets. The couple sets a buy price on
everything. Ninety nine cents a pound, that's our buy price. If we can get it for
under a dollar, we're gonna pick it up. And if something meets that buy price
they stock up. When jelly is 32 ounces for 99 cents,
that's the time to buy six or twelve of them, not one. That will set us up until
the next time it's on sale. So we're never paying retail price for anything.
Gummy tarantulas, you got to have those. The family has whittled their grocery
expenses down to $350 a month, for a family of seven. We gave them $100 for
groceries, to see how far it would stretch. You saved one $114.37 that is 53%.
They went a little over, but Steven Annette bought more than $220 worth of
groceries, for 103 dollars and three cents.
From the grocery store, we turn to the consignment store where the family gets
all of their clothing. How about a purple Becky? That's a chap suit for 60 bucks.
"What about this?", says daughter Abbey. The family says, at consignment stores, you can find
name-brand clothing, for ten cents on the dollar. Do you need one? A silver purse? Sure, try this on.
Let's see if it fits you. And if you're a little bit squeamish about used stuff, take it
home and wash it or have it dry cleaned. Annette says consignment stores have
dramatically improved and are now clean and organized. Half wet suit, would that be
better for waterskiing than what you have? There's no way you're gonna fit in
a size six boot Becky, no way. Roy these are brand new, adult leader Scout pants.
Again, we gave the family 100 bucks to see if
they could outfit the whole family. They did it for less, 84 dollars 26 cents.
The family says planning in advance and looking for bargains can save. And the
truth is, as you gain success little by little, it does become really fun and
actually, really addicting. The family strategy isn't just about saving money
on groceries or clothing it's also about being totally debt-free, no credit cards,
no car payments, and paying off the house as quickly as possible. Only spend what
you have, know where you are, and you got to have a system to manage your money! You get to put the granola bars away.
For the Economides Family, that system is a budget.
Everything is pre-planned, including saving to pay cash for cars. Every
purchase is evaluated. There's money for food, there's money for clothes, there's
money for medical things. You know when you go to sleep at night knowing
that you're all up to date, there's peace. And for the Economides family, peace
also comes from contentment. Italian sausage 25% off. Being happy with what
they have, what they earn and what they do without. We spent too much time focusing
on what we don't have and what other people do have. So don't beat yourself up,
don't be depressed, don't say, "I will never
be able to crawl out of the hole that I'm in. Get up today and just start doing
something. Craig Day, the news on 6:00, tonight.
Craig says the Economides family paid off one house and then used that equity
but to buy their current house, which they also expect to pay off early. And
they've raised their family of seven, debt-free on an average family income of
about $35,000 a year.