America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money : Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams
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 month, pay off their first house in nine years and purchase a second, larger home, buy cars with cash, take wonderful vacations, and put money in savings. Without degrees in finance or six-figure salaries, Steve and Annette have created a comfortable, debt-free life for themselves and their children. In America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, they show you how they did it- and how you can do it too.
Steve and Annette share many down-to-earth principles and the simple spending plan that they have used since 1982. They have taught this economizing lifestyle to thousands of people worldwide through seminars and their newsletter, and they include lots of real-life stories to make you feel as if you're having your own private coaching session. Not only will you find solutions to your financial dilemmas, you'll also discover a whole new way of life.
You don't need to be a CPA or a math wizard to learn their revolutionary system, which will teach you:
- hundreds of ways to save money on everyday household expenses, including groceries, clothing, and health care
- how to save in advance for major purchases such as homes, cars, and vacations
- how to stop living paycheck to paycheck
- how to eliminate debt . . . forever!
America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money puts meeting your financial goals- and living well at the same time- in reach for every family.
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January 15, 2007
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Excerpt from America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money by Annette Economides
America's Cheapest Family
We've been called "America's Cheapest Family," "the First Family of Frugal," "cheapskates," "thrift-a-holics," "tightwads," or one of many other less flattering terms. Even calling us by our real last name, Economides, relates to saving cash. Yes, that's our real name--it's pronounced "econo-mee-dis." It's Greek and means "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. We have big dreams--goals that together we are working toward. We are living proof that even in tough economic times, it's possible to:
*Raise responsible kids
*Purchase a home and pay it off in nine years
*Buy cars for cash
*Enjoy fabulous debt-free vacations
*Feed a growing family on a grocery budget of just $350 each month
*Put savings in the bank
What's more, all this was done during the first twelve years of our marriage on an average income of less than $35,000.
A Wish Fulfilled
This is a book we wish had existed when we were starting out on our financial journey. We're not going to bog you down with pages of hard-to-follow economic theory and calculations. Instead, we focus on practical advice that even the most financially challenged can easily implement. America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money will show you how to buy groceries smarter and less expensively, create a household budget that really works, buy affordable cars and homes, find alternative sources for dressing fabulously, deal with medical care and expenses, discover fun recreational activities that are free, plan and take great vacations that don't break the bank, teach kids to earn and manage money, build a great savings plan for the future, get out of debt and emerge from the vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, and so much more.
Neither of us has a finance or accounting background. Neither of our parents taught us to manage money--they were frugal, but by no means financial wizards. We are just an average couple who have discovered the secrets to living well on way less than most people can imagine.
Many people believe that thrifty living can be more easily accomplished in a rural setting. We are here to tell you that it just isn't so! Living in the suburbs all of our lives, we can strongly say that there are great bargains to be had at every turn. With a dense population comes greater opportunities to scoop up steep discounts and free items.
Writing from the perspective of a family, we hope to bring our message to every age group. The younger generation needs to hear that there is an alternative to today's credit-charged lifestyle--frugal living can be fun and very rewarding, something our children know well. Those in the throes of the middle years, whether raising kids, building careers, or both, need to hear that work doesn't need to own them. We can vouch for the fact that they can live on less and still reach incredible goals. And as we edge our way toward retirement, we can offer guidance to seniors, many of whom live on Social Security or are learning to stretch their savings. As economizers, we proclaim that no matter what your financial state, and regardless of what the economy is doing, you can not only survive but thrive.
Three Principles for Getting you Right on the Money
There will be three themes that you'll see recur throughout this book: avoid debt like the plague, live below your means, and embrace the thrifty lifestyle.
Avoid Debt Like the Plague
Why avoid debt, especially when many financial experts advocate credit card usage to establish a good credit score? Because the overuse of credit actually lowers your standard of living. After spending freely, eventually you'll have to pay back what you've borrowed. This will have to be done with money that could better be spent on today's needs rather than yesterday's desires. The restriction of your cash flow after experiencing credit-enabled "freedom" is always a bitter pill to swallow. The average American family has a credit card balance of over $7,000, and we have seen the dark side of credit abuse in which relationships and families crumble under the heavy weight of unpaid debts. The good news is that most people can be debt-free (with the exception of their home) in about eighteen months if they develop a plan and stick with it. We'll show you exactly how it can be done!
While some call us naive to live without the "benefits" of credit (that's right, we don't have any credit cards), we're here to say that it can be done--and life can be good! We have more things than we need, experience more good living than we deserve, and thoroughly enjoy all that we can afford. Can life be any better than this?