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Book Review - America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money

Updated on October 11, 2007

I just finished reading America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On the Money by Steve and Annette Economides. If you are looking for a good all around book on saving money and living well on less then this is the book for you. This book has some great tips and ideas relating to different areas of life.

The Economides family has 5 children and Annette has always stayed at home. During the first 12 years of marriage they lived well on one income of under $35,000 a year and paid off their mortgage in only 9 years. That is truly amazing! I think we can all learn from a family that has done so much with so little.

In America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On the Money they go over 3 basic principals; avoid debt, live beneath your means, and enjoy the thrifty lifestyle. If you can adopt these principals in your life, you will do well with your money too. Not having debt payments means you have more money to keep for yourself each month. Living beneath your means ensures that you will have money for savings each month - which means you will be building wealth. Enjoying the thrifty lifestyle is a very important one. Why pay full price for something that you can get for pennies on the dollar of retail? The used market is huge for just about everything; from clothing to houses.

The book is broken down into chapters on different topics including: groceries, budgeting, cars, housing, utilities, debt, medical, clothing, entertainment, vacations, kids and money, savings and investment, and attitudes. Each chapter goes into details about how the Economides family has saved money in that area. They give specific examples of what they have done to save money while living well, which I found very helpful.

At the end of each chapter they have ideas on what the reader can do to save money in each area. These ideas are broken into groups based on what level of frugality you are at - a beginner, someone who has been doing it for awhile but maybe not in every area, and an old pro - someone who is tireless in their efforts to stretch their dollar as far as possible.

I found their tips on inspecting a used car before purchasing wonderful. I would have never thought of most of them. There is also great information on purchasing and storing used clothing. The chapter on Vacation is full of things to do at home and ways to save money while on vacation.

There is also a good section on planning for unexpected money. Everyone receives unexpected money from time to time - a bonus, a rebate, money back from overpaying into your escrow account, gifts, inheritances, etc. More times than not this money gets absorbed into the regular budget, never to be seen again. Having a plan for it will allow you to do things you have only dreamed about in the past.

My only complaint about the book is the chapter on groceries. I wish it had more detail. The Economides family grocery shops only one time each month - yes you read that right, once a month, or only 12 times each year. On top of that they only spend $300 a month to feed their family of 7. I thought I did pretty well spending $400 to feed my family of 6, however obviously I need to work a little harder. After reading this book I find myself craving more information on exactly how they do it.

Overall, this book is an excellent read. Not only is it full of great information, as well as the how to's for you to save money, it is enjoyable to read. It is so much more than a finance book. If you are looking for a book to help you save money and live better on less, America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right On The Money is the book for you!

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