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America’s Cheapest Family (Part 7): On Vacation and The Final Payoff

America's Cheapest FamilyThis is an ongoing series of book reviews – in parts, on money-related books.

The first is this series is called America’s Cheapest Family – Gets You Right on Money by Steve and Annette Economides. According to them, this is the guide to living better, spending less, and chasing in on your dreams!

Here’s what they have accomplished so far:

    – Paid off a house in 9 years on limited income (average income approx $35k/yr)
    – Paid cash for all their cars
    – Remodeled kitchen without a home equity loan
    – Enjoyed fabulous debt-free vacations
    – Fed a growing family (of 2+5) on a grocery budget of $350/mth
    – Put savings in the bank!

On Vacations

Vacations should be events that build positive interactions and create long-lasting, fun-filled memories, not short weeks that stress you out because they’re breaking the bank.

Consider being a tourist in your own state (country). Pick up a guide book and look up places you can visit and day tours you can go for. Many museums select one day each month to be free to the public. You’ll be amazed at the wide array of options available.

Home Recreation Ideas:

    – Make it Thanksgiving in July! Enjoy a complete turkey dinner for the family
    – Borrow/Rent Movies, maybe even an odie, prepare popcorn and pretend you’re in a cinema
    – Go Bowling. Some alleys have discounted rates. Check out the times
    – Try backyard Camping. If you don’t have a backyard, camp out in the living room.
    – Go to discount theaters.
    – Enjoy Game Days. Pull out all your board & card games and have fun with them.
    – Have Christmas in July! Do some Christmas shopping at thift stores
    [Editor’s note: Going to Daiso might work for this one.]
    – Take a Free Tour
    [Editor’s note: There are guided map tours for areas around town]

When Steve and Annette travel, they try to encourage some of their kid’s interest. Roy wanted to be a aerospace engineer, so when they were in Texas, they visited the Houston Space Center. If your kids are of college age, visit various college campuses as you travel through the country.


The Final Payoff

1. Living Thrifty Saves Time

    Although they cook from scratch, they still feel that based on planning their menu in advance and stocking their pantry, it still takes less time then making frequent trips to the store, or eating out, or even taking out, and not to forget, all those extra driving costs.

2. Living Thrifty Puts You in a More Secure Financial Position

    When they chose a thrifty lifestyle, life becomes less complicated. Contentment is easier to achieve, and patience and planning ahead becomes a way of life. Why the need to keep up with the Jones?

    By keeping their overhead low, when hard times come – such as sickness or unemployment – such storms are more easily weathered. Keeping monthly expenses low also allows you the freedom to step out and try something new. That’s what eventually led to this book, as they knew they could take the risk as their savings could carry them through the first year or two.

3. Living Thrifty is Better for Relationships

    They focus on keeping life streamlined and simpler, and as a result having more time to spend with the people they love. They believe that their children need quality and quantity time with them to develop to their fullest potential. Many times, they have found solutions as a family to solve money issues.

    An example is some families in Romania, who bought luxury homes and converted them into assisted-living residences. Both husband and wives work together providing excellent care to the elderly residents, and their children learn to be well-behaved and enjoy spending lots of time with their parents instead of at daycare.

4. Living Thrifty is Better for the Kids

    They are taught to be content with little and can always adjust to having more. Teaching kids that there are limits in life and that those limits can stimulate creativity is a good thing. It teaches kids to look for creative ways to meet their needs. Letting them experience the joys of finding a deal at a young age will benefit them for a lifetime.

5. Living Thrifty is Better for the Economy

    In 2004, 1.6million people declared bankruptcy. If each owed $10k each, that’s a total of $16billion of bad debt! That would lead to higher interest rates, higher prices in stores, more repossessed homes, higher fees for mortgage insurance etc etc.

    [Editor’s note: The sub-prime crisis is still on-going, but one thing to note is that the next crisis that will follow are people declaring bankruptcy due to credit card debt. This is because some of them would have initially tried to pay off their mortgage with credit cards and the snowballing interest rates and loss of jobs would make repaying even the credit cards impossible.]

6. Living Thrifty is Better for the Environment

“Americans make up less than 5% of the world’s population,
but consume nearly 30% of its material resources”

    And now, imagine the amount of trash generated.

    By cooking from scratch, they save on trash generated.

    Gas consumption is less because they plan their trips. Seve also decided to look for a job near home, and cycles the 1-2 miles to work.

    They buy their clothes at thift stores, thus helping lessen the stuff that ends up in landfills.


Others in this series:
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 1): On Grocery Shopping & Budgeting
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 2): On Cars
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 3): On Housing
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 4): On Utilities
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 5): On Debt
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 6): On Staying Healthy, Entertainment & Recreation
America’s Cheapest Family (Part 7): On Vacation and The Final Payoff (End of Series)


America's Cheapest FamilyAmerica’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides was checked out of the National Library for the purpose of this book review. It can be found at English 332.02400973 at your Library.

Check online to see if it’s available, and check it out for free!

(Free up some money in your entertainment/education envelopes!)

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