America's "Cheapest Family" Wants To Teach You To Live "Debt-Free"

Meet Steve and Annette Economides. They are raising a family of 7 in Arizona on an annual income of about $44,000.

The Today Show, which featured the Economides family in a segment, seemed astounded that a family could get by wearing nice clothes and living in a large home — without buying on credit.

Breaking down their budget to 19 categories, they paid off their first house in nine years on an average income of $33,000 a year. Their second home, which they estimate to be worth more than $700,000, was purchased for more than $200,000 and is almost paid off.

They plan every meal before going to the grocery store, building their menu around specials and coupons. The monthly bill to feed a family of seven is $350.

They don’t buy on credit. They buy late-model used cars with cash. They also budget cash reserves for auto and home repairs so they never have to dip into reserves.

Now the Economides are turning their frugal habits into another source of income. They have a NYT bestselling book called “America’s Cheapest Family,” and a website.

Living frugally may sound odd and heroic to some — but plenty of families already do this. In fact, almost anyone can learn to live within their means.

Take this reader for example. She paid off $14,330 in 20 months just using tips from Consumerist.

It’s easier than you think!

Meet the family who live on $44K a year — debt-free [Today] (Thanks, Deborah!)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.