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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

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,394 ratings  ·  263 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 Economides. They’ve been called cheapskates, thriftaholics, and tightwads, but in these tough economic times, Steve and Annette have managed to feed their family of seven on just $350 per mon
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2007)
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Wendy
Sep 29, 2008 Wendy rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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Alison
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
Jill
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.
Stephanie
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
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Megan
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
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Tressa
Sep 25, 2009 Tressa rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Tima
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
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Adrienne
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
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Alicia Krauchuk Fenton
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
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Magda
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
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Shari
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
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Sharla
Mar 28, 2008 Sharla rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Sherral
Wish I had read this book 10 or 15 years ago!!! Ok, I admit, I skimmed through a few of the chapters, but mostly because they don't apply to my life right now. But the rest of the book was eye-opening, goal-reorienting, and (corny as it may sound)life-changing. The best part about this book is that it has motivated me to just TRY. To start from where I am and make steps toward my goals. Highly recommended.
Maria
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.
Stephanie
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
Wendy
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
Chantel
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
Manda
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
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Justin Scharton
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
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Laura
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
Annette
May 19, 2009 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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Joy
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
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Kayla
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
Dioscita
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
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Kelly
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
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Ladiibbug
Mar 08, 2011 Ladiibbug rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone Interested in Saving $/Budgeting
Non-Fiction

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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Tasha enderby
Oh my I am falling behind in my reviews. The summer has been loaded with fun things for our family and I am finding it hard to read.

This book has a lot of wonderful insights and I love how it tells you right off the back that it's not a full proof plan and not all the tips are for everyone but they do have a lot of insight you might not have known

The most helpful chapter for our family was getting out of debt, what military family doesn't have a pile of debt after each move? My husband even relo
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Barrette Plett
There wasn't a lot of NEW in this for me -- more an affirmation of things we're already doing. So as far as effecting change in _my_ life, this book won't do much. But it's readable, practical and challenges a lot of cultural notions that are taken for granted, and as such, I'd love for my family and friends to read it and free themselves of the fetters of consumerism! :) The only reason I gave this 4 instead of 5 stars is that some of the stuff -- especially the multi-couponing/discount approac ...more
Julie
This book found me just in the nick of time. The past few years have been very staining and difficult financially for our family. We have had to really change our way of thinking when it came to money. Our financial mindset during this difficult time has been smart and healthy but that has been due to mere survival. Now that things are coming around for us financially I did not want to lose that smart way of thinking. This book helped lock that mindfulness into place. I will be honest here; the ...more
Stephanie Shipley
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.
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“son of the steward.” As the nicknames make clear, we don’t like to spend a lot of money. But we don’t economize just for the sake of skimping.” 0 likes
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