Cheap Family Lives The Frugal Life With Ease

by The Smarter Wallet on April 16, 2009

There’s a lot of negativity about the economy these days, but here’s a story that I find very inspiring, especially during times like we have now. With the downturn, there’s certainly a lot more interest in the frugality movement, so I’m certain this story will resonate well with many of you.

A Really Cheap Family

You may have heard of them before. The Economides (pronounced “Eco-no-mee-dis”) family from Scottsdale, Arizona, whose household is comprised of 7 family members, lives on under $45,000 a year. They have 5 kids (4 stay at home) and have a household income that averages $44,000 a year. Wow.

Economides family, cheap family
Image from American Profile

They are able to pull off living on a meager budget by being very organized. A while back, they were able to pay off their home in just 9 years with an income that averaged $33,000 a year. It goes to show you that if you’re determined enough, you can live below your means. So ever wonder what kind of moves they’ve been making to achieve their frugal goals? Here are a few things they’ve done to make their family budget work:

Frugal Life Tips

Economides family, frugal life
Image from American Profile

1. Own a freezer and cook in bulk.
They own a freezer where they store a whole lot of cheap meals, which they cook in bulk. Not everyone may find this easy to do (especially at first), but if you’ve got a bigger family employing a lot of teamwork, it may just work out!

2. Plan before you shop.
The Economides family also plans their grocery shopping very meticulously, and they do this by planning their menus, using coupons, and maintaining a grocery list. If anything, they’re experts at “team shopping” while cruising the stores. As a family, they’re able to cover more ground at the wholesale shopping clubs that they love to visit, where they move about the aisles in an efficient manner, applying their cost comparison strategies.

3. Practice teamwork and make frugality a family goal.
Another thing that stands out with the Economides clan is that they communicate very well as a family and embrace frugality as a group project. With all of them on board with saving money, they’re able to adhere to their frugal household budget and financial goals much more easily.

The icing on the cake is that their way of life has helped them garner nation-wide recognition. They’ve become so well-known that they now have a website called The HomeEconomiser, a bestselling book called America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money and a newsletter (among other things) through which they share their frugal tips and strategies.

All in all, I think this is a great story in light of what’s happening with our economy today. When it comes to living cheaply, let it be known that it can be done with ease; it’s a lifestyle that anyone can develop! You just have to have a system to do it.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Imee April 17, 2009 at 2:53 am

I think this family is the kind to look up to. Maybe after this recession, if they still live on a similar budget, and the kids find jobs too, I’m sure they’ll be able to save tons of money to get all the luxuries they want.

2 Beth April 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm

It could be this nasty cold has hampered my ability to count, but what happened to kid #6 mentioned in the photo caption? Is the “household” six or eight?

3 SVB April 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Hmmm….good point Beth. I double checked this story and they have SEVEN members in their family. So they do have 5 kids. I believe that the caption contains a typo (it’s part of the graphic I borrowed).

4 Beth April 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

Still impressive nonetheless 🙂 Thanks for sharing this story.

5 Stephanie April 21, 2009 at 4:12 am

Proof it can be done. They are an inspiration.

6 David Stillwagon May 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

There advice is good old common sense. There should be more of that today.

7 Frugal Family August 10, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Wow! This family has taken being frugal and made it a fun family game it sounds like! I love that they are organized about it and stick to it. Yes, it’s common sense, but not many people do it. 🙂 Good for them!

8 judianne February 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I believe in being frugal, but, considering the amount of over processed junk food on the table in this photo, they have gone too far when it comes to the cavalier way in which they fuel their bodies. I’d love to see their health care bills! Diabetes 2, anyone? I assure you, that’s no way to “economize!?

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