Living Well on $44k

How did you do on finding holiday gift deals this year? Can you beat this: 27 gifts for $90? As reported on TODAY, that’s just the latest in a long list of amazing money moves executed by Steve and Annette Economides, who have turned smart shopping into an extreme sport. The Arizona couple, along with their five children, lives well even though their average annual income over the past 26 years has been $44,000. They shop at discount stores and thrift shops, don’t buy on credit, and by planning every meal around what’s on sale at the grocery store, keep their monthly food tab to $350. Steve said their financial habits are simply an expression of their outlook that life and people are more important than stuff.

I’ve read lots of stories touting the benefits of frugality, but there was something about this story that I found especially inspiring. In part, it was the fact that frugality isn’t the family’s goal; frugality is simply a means to a good life lived within their income. In part, it was also seeing the kids’ response. They don’t come across as suffering or embarrassed at their parents’ frugal ways; they come across as knowledgeable about money and excited about getting good deals on the things they need and want.

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