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America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams
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America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  1,651 Ratings  ·  279 Reviews
Do you have too much month at the end of your money?
Is your credit card screaming for relief?
Are you tired of robbing Peter to pay Paul . . . whoever they are?

Meet Steve and Annette Ecomomides. They've been called cheapskates, thriftaholics, and tightwads, but in these tough times, Steve and Annette have managed to feed their family of seven on just $350 per month, pay off

Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2007)
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Sep 29, 2008 Wendy rated it did not like it
Recommended to Wendy by: heard about from Shari
I loathed this book. The authors never acknowledge their enormous debt to The Tightwad Gazette for both their newsletter business and this book--in fact, their introduction is either consciously or subconsciously stolen from the introduction to one of the Tightwad books--even though they mention, in passing, that they used one of Amy Dacyzyn's ideas for shopping (but imply it wasn't that great anyway), so it isn't a case where they were unaware of Tightwad's existence.

There's very little useful
May 07, 2012 Alison rated it liked it
When reading 'The Millionaire Next Door' I realized I needed to be better about having a budget. So I got this book on my next visit to the library to figure out how to save, budget, and manage money better. It was interesting, at times somewhat extreme, but full of good ideas (most of which I already do). Sometimes I feel like I should be bringing in some money to my household, but I have figured that a mother who stays at home and runs the family office can often make more for her family than ...more
Jul 31, 2007 Jill rated it it was ok
I love a good book about frugality. Unfortunately, this isn't it. The first important step in saving some money-- don't buy this book. Glad it's from the library. I recommend Tightwad Gazette instead.
May 13, 2011 Stephanie rated it liked it
This book started out okay but this cheapskate family is starting to get on my nerves.

Okay, some of the points I liked were actually common sense items like turn off lights when not in use, etc. The stuff I did not like were their extreme views on saving to the point where they took a family vacation to Washington, DC and cruised around in their car looking for a thrift store. I have no problem with this as I've been hitting up thrift stores for unique finds since high school (in fact my husband
Alicia Krauchuk Fenton
Sep 20, 2007 Alicia Krauchuk Fenton rated it it was amazing
Another book that I need for my library (I'll just wait and buy it used on Amazon or find it at a yard sale. :-)).
Plain and simple. Set financial goals, stay out of debt, find resources to meet the needs of your goals, give to others generously, and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It's all there. They don't advocate a quick fix, but rather implementing principles of simple financial truth. Great analogy between the American Revolution and financial freedom in one of their final chapters that
Apr 03, 2009 Megan rated it it was ok
This book contains mostly common sense and information that any person, once they’ve made the choice to start being frugal, could figure out easily. I didn’t really find any new or useful information here. Basically it seems to be – come up with a budget (and boy, is their method complicated!), use coupons, research family activities and vacations, pay more than your mortgage each month to pay down the house’s principal faster, and don’t go to the store as often as you normally do.

They live in A
Sep 25, 2009 Tressa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: tightwads
Shelves: budgeting
I've flipped through a lot of tightwad books, but this one held my interest all the way through. Their idea about putting money into many different household/personal accounts every month and not taking it out until it was needed really made an impression on me. Other books I've read talked about socking money into savings in one clump or broke down the household accounts pretty broadly.

I agree with a PP about just picking the ideas that will work for your specific circumstances.

The family's a
Feb 02, 2014 Tima rated it liked it
In this economy everyone seems to be interested in spending less money, being more frugal, or getting their finances in order. The Economides have been labeled as America's Cheapest Family for a reason. Their lifestyle has been one of frugality, carefulness, and planning. The husband and wife team have written this book to help out the newbie to the frugal game.

I enjoyed reading this book. The authors have a way of making money issues and saving more palatable with their writing style. Most of t
Apr 15, 2009 Adrienne rated it really liked it
I really found a lot of helpful information in this book. I know a lot of other reviewers weren’t diggin’ the Economides’s budget, but I actually think it’s really cool and we’re going to give it a whirl. I also really like their method of teaching their children financial responsibility. I think those two things alone—the budget and the MoneySmart Kids system—make this book worth the read.

However, I would say these guys are more like America’s Best-Budgeting or Most Disciplined Family. Their st
Not necessarily new, but a fun and easy read to help get me more into the saving-money ideas, not to save money for itself, but to prioritize its use so it gets spent on what would be the most profitable (or am I using that idea from the Gilbraiths' time and motion studies?).

I'm pretty excited, because after a little bit of research and a talk with the husband, I'll be finishing paying off my student loans this week.

I am a bit frustrated that there is no index, and I thought I read something in
Nov 03, 2015 Lana rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book and it's one of the best financial books I've read. It has the biggest collection of practical tips people can use to save money, at least from the books I've read. You don't have to use them all or live like they do but think of it as an option in hard times or a few things to add to your habits and the rest only during dire hard times. It is very inspiring. I loved the last section about attitude. Highly recommended for anyone interested in improving their finances and ...more
Diana Sung
Aug 02, 2015 Diana Sung rated it really liked it
Personal finance books are a particular pleasure of mine, and this was a very enjoyable and inspirational one that made me take a hard look at some areas of our budget that were in need of a serious wake up call. The Economides are similar to Dave Ramsey in philosophy and approach, but they actually lived it (whereas Dave repeatedly talks about having gone bankrupt several times and only got his own financial house in order when he hit it bigger with significant income). Their enthusiasm for fru ...more
Sep 07, 2008 Shari rated it really liked it
Really great, useful information. However, if you are already trying to save money, cut corners and/or generally hold frugality in your top priorities, it's not anything spectacular or revolutionary. I found the authors' recommendations for maintaining a family budget to be not just unconventional but so time consuming and over-complicated as to be counter-productive.

Overall, I could see how this book would be helpful to an average family (particularly one with kids) who wasn't already taking a
Mar 28, 2008 Sharla rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Po people
Recommended to Sharla by: Haley
Okay, so I wouldn't do EVERYTHING suggested in this book. I found it pretty interesting though. Hats off to the couple that could run through a grocery store communicating with walkies about manager's specials. I'm trying to implement the budgeting they suggest and I've become quite the coupon queen as well. It's definitely something to read if you are trying to be a stay-at-home mom and you don't think you have the finances for it. These people lived in $40something thousand, supporting 7 child ...more
Kelly McCloskey-Romero
Jun 20, 2014 Kelly McCloskey-Romero rated it it was amazing
This book gives an excellent overview of how to save money in big and small ways. I had already read the book about cutting your grocery bill in half, and this was a great follow-up. I still think that grocery shopping is my biggest way to save and I liked the reminders in this book. Otherwise, each chapter focuses on a different way to be frugal, from cars to medical care to clothes. I liked the chapter about kids and money the best and am planning on implementing their system. A great resource ...more
Stephanie Shipley
Jan 01, 2015 Stephanie Shipley rated it it was amazing
This book was a wonderful read. It is packed with a lot of great and practical tips for living a more frugal lifestyle. It teaches you how to save on groceries, clothing, entertainment, and other areas. It teaches you how to budget and how they were able to pay cash for their cars and home instead of going into debt. It even teaches about savings, investment, and attitudes. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who would enjoy saving a little (or a lot!) of money.
Feb 19, 2011 Maria rated it did not like it
I agree with most of the other 2 star reviews of this book -- not that informative, broad and common sense knowledge. Probably helpful for someone who is coming from the complete opposite side of the spending spectrum, but I didn't find it very useful for someone who's has already working on their finances.
Mark Hennion
Aug 13, 2015 Mark Hennion rated it really liked it
This book is arranged topically, sensibly, and thoroughly. The Economides are absolutely the best in providing the bad news: Western culture lives way beyond its means and the key to a better life is not through stuff, but through financial security/independence/respecting what we already have. This is the message at the core of the book, and as the reader delves into the myriad of methods for reducing one's expenses (instead of generating additional income, as advocated by so many personal fina ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I have not read The Tightwad Gazette so I cannot speak to the points made by PP. I can say that I had several takeaways from this book and so thought it well worth the read. Yes, some of it is common sense but oftentimes we need to hear things repeatedly or from a different perspective before it sinks in. Their meal planning advice (start w/1week, check pantry before shopping & stock up on sales) finally made that click for me. I won't be overwhelmed by coming up with a month of meals - if f ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Wendy rated it it was ok
This book was a families guide to living well on a tight tight budget. Something I am very interested in! Unfortunately it didn't have as many break through ideas as I was looking for. Taking a crockpot to a hotel for some warmed up spaghettios while on vacation is not a fantastic idea in my book. This is not a book that you should follow if you want your family to have a variety of fresh fruits and veggies! I am intrigued by the shopping once a month idea because I know those small trips to the ...more
America's cheapest family -- Groceries : savings by the bagful -- Budgeting : the cornerstone of family finances -- Cars : cutting car costs -- Housing : home sweet home -- Utilities : shut the door, turn out the lights -- Debt : the American dream turns into a nightmare -- Medical expenses : keeping your body healthy and your wallet happy -- Clothing : looking better, spending less -- Entertainment and recreation : having fun while spending less -- Vacations : without debt regret -- Kids and mo ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Manda rated it really liked it
If you were to judge the book by many of the comments here, you would think the authors were Victorian and it was written in a way that referenced the rule of thumb and the spirit of god in every breath. Was is obvious that the authors are religious and traditional? Yes. Does that in some way make their advice null and void? No.
What I appreciated about this book was it took a stand against debt. The authors advise against what many think of as "good debt" and take a slow and steady approach to b
Justin Scharton
May 02, 2014 Justin Scharton rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. While much of it was just a regurgitation of Crown Financial principles, and/or Dave Ramsey principles, it is all VERY solid.

I found the grocery and vacation tips to be very helpful and we've already implemented some of the techniques.

What I liked the best about it is their perspective. They live a frugal life so they can raise a family, raise them on a farm and teach them important values, life lessons, and morals, and spend money on the important stuff not the garba
Dec 20, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok
I think that the writer's of the Tightwad Gazetts are hands-down America's cheapest family. This book was OK - most of the advice is pretty broad, and the tone was a little folksy for me (like you can choose the level of savings you want to pursue by being a 'Timid Mouse', 'Wise Owl', etc). They are motivational speakers and give seminars in hotels, and that's very clear in their tone. My other problem with the book is that they are tied in with a financial ministry. While I realize the sometime ...more
May 19, 2009 Annette rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in saving money
Recommended to Annette by: Denni
Shelves: financial
There were probably only a couple of things in this book that I hadn't already heard before, (most of it is really just common sense) but I enjoyed reading it because its encouraging to read about other large families who are willing to live the frugal lifestyle.
We have made it a priority to become more financially secure and the ideas in this book were really good reminders for me of things that I really should be doing, but haven't taken the time to try yet. For example: I started using coupo
Mar 09, 2011 Joy rated it liked it
Feels good to know that we already practice some of his strategies - one big thing is their budget binder and I do something similar in excel (i know, there are better financial programs, but it works for me!). Also, save up the money ahead of time - like for a car or other big ticket items - so you can pay for it without credit - we are working on that one :)
I'm also trying to get into couponing - I've been reading a lot of blogs lately about this and it's been inspiring - I'm starting out by
Sep 21, 2011 Kayla rated it it was amazing
I stumbled across this family some months ago on YouTube. This family of 7 lives on a $350/month grocery budget. “Hmm,” I thought. “This family also thinks it’s not crazy to have a bigger family, regardless of income.” They have an incredible story of paying off their first house in 9 years, within the first 12 years of their marriage. AND on an income that averaged $35,000 in those first 12 years. Annette has never worked outside the home; she has been the home economist since they got married. ...more
Sep 07, 2008 Dioscita rated it did not like it
I didn't much care for this book. In my opinion the Economides spent too much time trying to be "down-home-just-your-average-thrifty-folks-with-good-old-fashioned-ideas" and not enough time addressing true "nuts and bolts" issues for living simply, frugally, or lightly on the planet.

To spare you getting this book for yourself (thankfully mine is a library copy), I'll tell you the ONE "tip" I gained from this book: put a 24-26 oz. filled water bottle in your toilet tank to displace water and hav
Jan 27, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book.

Plus side, they are an excellent example of being frugal, setting a budget and goals, and finding resourceful ways to live below their means. Some ideas they presented were very interesting, for example, going shopping less often and using a meal planner to maximize the trips. This could work for a single person as well as a family. The stay at home vacation. I think everyone is guilty on some level of not fully experiencing all the attractions that can be f
Mar 08, 2011 Ladiibbug rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone Interested in Saving $/Budgeting

This book was very helpful to me in my quest to get ahold of my budget in a serious and concrete way.

Many of the ideas are common sense (cut down or eliminate eating meals out). A whole range of ideas is explored, from a strict and very specific program for getting out of debt, to reviewing your auto insurance coverage, sections on paying off your mortgage early, etc.

The incredibly meticulous family budgeting system the authors use is too complicated for me, but the overall idea can e
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“Keeping track of your kids’ clothing needs can be difficult. Annette compiles a list of needed clothes (dress, play, underwear, and outerwear) twice yearly—when she switches the kids’ wardrobes from summer to winter” 0 likes
“Breakfast. We have a rotation of various meals for breakfast. This is an example of one weekly menu: • Monday: cold cereal with bananas • Tuesday: hot cereal with grapefruit • Wednesday: pancakes, waffles, or French toast (from the freezer) and ham • Thursday: eggs with toast • Friday: bagels with fruit • Saturday: pancakes (made from scratch) and sausages • Sunday: scrambled eggs with cheese, ham, and potatoes” 0 likes
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