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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 Paperback – January 16, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0307339454 ISBN-10: 0307339459 Edition: 0th

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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 + Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies You Won't Have to Cut Coupons + The MoneySmart Family System: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (January 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307339459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339454
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There's no doubt that today's families can use some help in balancing the household finances, and the Economides family, headed by a former ad sales exec and his homemaker wife, deliver the goods here. To an extreme. As founders of the HomeEconomiser newsletter, the couple offers plenty of helpful tips on shopping and menu planning, saving, reducing debt, and cutting back on utilities. Most of Middle America, however, will probably find their habits overly harsh. Take, for instance, their shopping routine: they make one monthly trip to the grocery store, which takes up to five hours but costs them only $350. By freezing such items as milk, bread, and cheese for later in the month and using the more perishable fruits and veggies early in the month (saving such things as apples and carrots for the latter weeks), the Economideses feed themselves and their five children based on this one trip. Even though some tips advocate what others might consider garbage picking and mooching, any family with money issues will find useful information here. Especially helpful are their household budgeting techniques, adaptable to any home. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“Of all the how-to-do-it books ever written, the best and most constructively useful are the Bible, Voltaire’s Candide- and this one. The time is right, right now, for somebody to give us all a top sergeant lesson in practical economics: ‘There is no free lunch.’ Congratulations, Annette and Steve Economides: I pray your readers will practice what you teach.”
- PAUL HARVEY, legendary American radio broadcaster and host of The Rest of the Story on the ABC Radio Network

“If your family is struggling with debt or you find yourself spending more money than you can legitimately afford, pick up and READ this book today! Implement the strategies you find and enjoy a lifetime free of financial anxiety!”
- Glinda Bridgforth, financial coach, Oprah Debt Diet consultant, and bestselling author of Girl, Make Your Money Grow! and Girl, Get Your Credit Straight!

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Customer Reviews

As soon as I got this book I began reading the money saving ideas..
G. B. Brown
This book not only teaches you about how to budget but gives you great idea's on how to save the money to help you with your budget.
Scrappersdelight
It's enjoyable, has clear information, is easy to read, and offers good advice.
Jonathan Bennett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

335 of 338 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw the show. I already had the book. I bought another copy to give to my son. I use the tips in the book and, yes, we DO save money.
Here is the REALITY you have to face before you even buy this book:
To get the full benefit of this book, you do need to be willing to buck certain attitudes that are part of our society. The Economides family is willing to get clothing from the thrift shop. When your child comes to you and asks to have those designer jeans, will you have the courage to say "No" or will you cave in? Can you put off impulse buying? Are you willing to take the steps necessary to stay out of debt? Read the chapter on Attitude and if you think you don't have the guts to commit to a new attitude (and don't fool yourself, it does take guts), the this may not be the time for you to buy this book....just don't wait till you are drowning in debt to see the light. I personally think that one chapter is the MOST valuable one right there.

One MAJOR advantage of this book is that it offers options, depending on your comfort level with saving money. You can opt to be a bit frugal or save every spare penny. If you need to take some baby steps before moving to the next level - or just stick with a certain level of savings - each chapter offers options. Clearly, this family understands that not everyone can commit to their value system and they give a nod to those people. I found that refreshing and different.

It is not an "all or nothing" book, although the family themselves describe how far they'll go to save money. They get by on about 35K a year and have 7 children, so it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out that they have to be cutting back in a MAJOR way.

We don't save quite as drastically as they do.
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258 of 260 people found the following review helpful By Trent Hamm on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have a soft spot for books on frugality, so when I spotted America's Cheapest Family on the shelf at my local bookstore, I had to read it. In a nutshell, it's a lifestyle guide to frugal living, one that I was happy to see come out because there simply aren't that many strong books on frugality.

Right off the bat, the entire purpose of the book is laid bare, as it gives you three principles for getting you right on the money:

Avoid debt like the plague. Debt means that you take your hard earned money and just hand it to someone else in exchange for nothing but instant gratification. Rather than using credit to buy things, you should save up the cash and let the interest work in your favor, not in the favor of some banker willing to lend you money - and take back even more money.

Live below your means. This book believes strongly in the concept of the written budget, something I'm not wholly sold on. However, I do agree that you should spend less than you take in every month, and the greater the difference between the two numbers, the better off you'll be in the long run.

Embrace the thrifty lifestyle. The authors pitch living thrifty as being like a game, one in which savings in time and in money are the prize. Every time you can do something that saves you money or time, you're winning, even if it seems like a pain to get started. I agree: that kind of attitude will win some serious rewards over the long run.

Let's dig in deeper.

In each chapter, I'm picking out a "best" tip. This isn't the most money-saving item in the chapter, but the one that stood out to me as being quite interesting.
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177 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Annette Keenberg on July 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What takes courage, commitment, creativity, idealism, faith, and the help of others? And isn't homeschooling? Choosing to live a frugal lifestyle, especially during the good economic times.
The biggest negative about this book - use it and you'll soon realize that not everyone cares to be smart about how they spend their money. It could be an elderly parent on a fixed income who says, "I'm not /that/ desperate," when you tell them how to save $20 a month on their AOL bill. A sibling who thinks coupon clipping is only for lonely housewives who need something to do while watching soap operas between loads of laundry. Or maybe a good friend who swears their current method for teaching their children responsible money habits works perfectly fine, but admits they rarely remember to actually use it with their kids. When faced with these people, its best to avoid asking for the $240 per year in AOL savings, fast food coupons, and money their kids may very well waste themselves "forgetting" to pay their own bills, as they learned from mom and dad forgetting to pay them during their childhoods.
Don't panic - this is not an all or nothing book that will force you to live on ramon and peanut butter just to pay off bills as early as possible. Every helpful chapter ends with three options: Timid Mouse for those wishing to start slowly, Wise Owl for those ready to make more of a commitment to frugality, and Amazing Ant for those eager to stop wasting their money needlessly and wanting to change now. Nor do you have to read this as a start to finish system with each chapter requiring you've read and implemented the previous chapters. Instead, you can start where you wish to dive in and bounce around as your interests and needs dictate.
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