Author Archives: Annette Economides

About Annette Economides

Annette is the mom of America's Cheapest Family. She is a NY Times Best Selling co-author of 3 books: America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money; Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half, and The MoneySmart Family System.

Fun Family Christmas Traditions: 9 Exciting and Inexpensive Holiday Activities

Family Christmas Traditions for the Holidays. 8 Inexpensive Christmas Activities

Family Christmas Traditions can occur whether your family is large or small, and young or old. Establishing traditions can enhance relationships, evoke warm feelings and create memories that last a lifetime.

Over the years, we’ve read numerous books about the value of family traditions. They add stability to the yearly calendar as the kids and grandkids eagerly anticipate and participate in the preparations for each special event.

Our Christmas Traditions really are a “month-full” of activities and routines that we’ve established over the course of many years. Here are a few of the many we have:

1. Holiday Music / Performances

There are many … Read more »

How to Host a Beautiful Thanksgiving Potluck … and Save Money.

What to Make for a Thanksgiving Potluck with Children & Hosting it!

Are you hosting a Potluck Thanksgiving or attending a large gathering for Thanksgiving? Here are lots of ways to save money and reduce stress when feeding a large group for Thanksgiving Dinner or being a guest at someone else’s event. We will also share menu ideas talk about what to make for a Thanksgiving potluck.

Hosting a successful Potluck Thanksgiving dinner

There are so many details to hosting a successful dinner: Where will they sit; what time will you serve dinner; how much help will you need; how many days will it take you to prepare; and what about cleaning all of … Read more »

Thanksgiving Grocery Sales & Deals: Discount Food to Stock Up On!

Thanksgiving Stock Ups - A Great Time to Capture Sales on Grocery Food Items!

Are you looking for Thanksgiving Grocery Deals? You’ve come to the right place. It’s time to stock your pantry and freezer!

Even with prices soaring due to Covid shortages, we’re still seeing some loss leaders and great sales.

Buying up Thanksgiving grocery deals is a great way to save money and make those savings last for several months.

Get Those Loss Leaders

Grocery retailers will be featuring loss-leaders on many of the trimmings for your Thanksgiving meal. This means they put a lot of food items on sale, to lure you into their grocery chain store for shopping.

There is a lot of competition … Read more »

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget! 4 Tips to Save Time and Money.

Hosting my first Thanksgiving Dinner - what should I do?

Here’s a free email newsletter subscriber question about hosting her first Thanksgiving.

I will be cooking my first Thanksgiving Dinner for my Family and I am overwhelmed!

Help! We’ve been married for 4 years and this will be the first time I’m hosting Thanksgiving. We’ve got relatives coming from out of town. I’m panicking over the cost!

Panicked for Thanksgiving – Email Subscriber

Don’t Fret over Your First Thanksgiving Dinner!

Hosting and cooking for your first Thanksgiving and you have a budget is no problem. We totally get that the thought of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for a whole family can be overwhelming and … Read more »

Fun Family Tradition Examples: For the Holidays and The Whole Year

Fun Family Traditions for Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Halloween and more.

Are you looking for some new and fun family traditions?

Whether your family is large or small, young or old, establishing traditions can cement relationships. It can also evoke warm feelings and create memories that last a lifetime.

Over the years, we’ve read numerous books about the value of family traditions.

These habits and rituals add stability to the yearly calendar as the kids eagerly anticipate and participate in the preparations for each special event. Traditions don’t need to be expensive or elaborate to be memorable.

We hope our most enjoyable ideas will provide the impetus for you to create your own family traditions. … Read more »

DIY Halloween Party Games, Crafts & Food Ideas for Fun Harvest Festival

DIY Homemade halloween. A scarecrow, a jar of candy corn and a pumpkin shaped cookie.

Are you looking for some Fun Homemade Halloween party games? We’ve assembled a great list to make your party a frugal and fun success. We started with 13 games, but the list keeps growing. We’ve also added some crafts and fun food ideas.

Halloween and the Fall can make for some really fun homemade Harvest party games. We know some people are squeamish about taking their kids out “Trick-or-Treating” so why not borrow some of these ideas. We’ve used variations of some of these for our kids’ birthday parties.

They work great as carnival-type booths or as party games for a small … Read more »

10 DIY Non-Scary Halloween Costumes that are Easy, Cheap & Fast

10 non-scary, cheap, family friendly halloween costumes.

We’ve got tons of ideas for non-scary Halloween costumes that are easy and cheap to make.

Have you thought about Halloween costumes for you or your kids yet? Does the cost of costumes scare the fun out of Halloween for your family?

Planning for Halloween Takes the Cost out of Costumes

Halloween will be here before you know it. And costume-loving families know that putting together a unique and inexpensive costume takes some planning and some time.

The earlier you start, the more complete and creative your outfit will be—plus you’ll have more time to find great deals.

We know it may sound strange, but … Read more »

Saving on Back-to-School Clothing — 5 Frugal Fashion Tips For Kids

Back-to-School Clothes: 5Frugal Fashion Tips for Kids!

We’ve got Frugal Fashion Tips for Kids when you’re shopping for back-to-school clothes. These will help your kids to look nice, be a little trendy, and not cost a fortune.

We outfitted 5 kids with wardrobes each year. We also found lots of ways for them to look fashionable while staying within our frugal spending limits.

5 Ways to Save on Fashionable Back-To-School Clothes

Parents spend a lot of money on Back-to-school sales for clothing each year. According to the National Retail Federation, 60 percent of moms said that they would spend more on back-to-school clothes for their children … Read more »

15 Ways to Wreck Your Food Budget

15 ways to wreck your food budget - tips for saving money

Learning to manage your food budget is one of the fastest ways to start turning around your family household budget. We see so many families practice grocery shopping habits that drive their food costs through the roof.

If you’ve never been shown how to master the art of food shopping and meal prep, don’t feel bad.

It’s a much easier game to learn than you realize.

Take the Quiz and See How You Do

Put a checkmark next to any statement that describes something you’ve said or done in the past six months:

 1) I go to the store several times each week.

Going to the … Read more »

Saving on Back-to-School Supplies — 5 Black Belt Tactics

Back to School Supplies - 5 Ways to Save Big Money.

The late summer months are the best time to stock-up and save money on Back to School Supplies.

Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, this can be one of the most expensive times of the year for families with young children. Why?

The reason is that back-to-school costs can really take a toll on your family’s household budget.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers expect that consumers will shell out more than $80.7 billion during this back-to-school shopping frenzy (k-12 and college combined).

50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary school. So if you do the math it comes out to almost … Read more »

Should I Have Kids? The Finacial Cost Isn’t As Bad As You Think.

Two baby hands counting fingers.

Are you debating if it is too expensive to have kids these days? Have you heard the government statistics about the cost of raising a child?

We raised 5 kids and spent less than 60% of what the government experts estimated. Learn how.

Kerri’s story: How one reader grew up and was taught to manage money.

Question About the Cost of Having Kids: When I graduated from high school, I paid for my own auto insurance, graduation gown, and class ring.

My grandmother paid for my class picture. My graduation gift from my parents was a cell phone with a very limited plan because … Read more »

How to Find Cheap Meat: Get the Best prices for Beef, Pork, Ham, and Chicken

Discounted cheap meat - family sized.

Are you looking to save money and find cheap meat near your home? These strategies could save you thousands of dollars this year.

Putting Meat on the Table History:

Years ago, it was the man’s “job” to hunt for the meat to provide for the family. All it cost was a few days’ trudging through the forest, and some bullets or arrows. Then there was time to clean and dress the meat, a man’s muscles to lug it all home and space to store it.

Today, in our more “sophisticated” society, both sexes are responsible for putting meat on the table. The chore … Read more »

Best Dish Soap Test: Which Brand Gives Most Value?

Two bottles of dish soap with a ruler in front of them - Dish Soap Testing

Have you ever wondered which dish soap works best and gives you the best value for the money?

We love saving money and were wondering if we should buy the cheapest dish detergent or a more expensive one. Our curiosity finally got the best of us and we put together this test.

Have you ever thought, “Hmm, this name-brand product costs twice as much as the generic; is it twice as good? Oh, it’s all just advertising hype, there can’t be that BIG of a difference — I’m going to save the money and buy the generic.”

Well, when it came to dishwashing … Read more »

Do Warehouse Clubs Really Save You Money?

What is a Warehouse club and do they save you money?

The concept of shopping in a warehouse and buying directly from a distributor is an appealing idea for money-saving-minded people. But do today’s warehouse clubs really save you money or are they merely a carefully marketed retail store that has lots of stuff in it, designed to separate you from your money?

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of shopping at the warehouse clubs AND we’ll tell you how you can do it without buying a pricey membership.

What is a Warehouse Club?

Warehouse clubs are in truth a retail store, that has been strategically designed to look like a warehouse. They utilize … Read more »

Pets on a Budget – Ultimate Guide to Caring For Pets for Less

Pets on a budget - Why you should have them & how much they cost. #PetsBudget #PetsSick #PetsTime

Do you need to have your family pets on a budget?

We are talking about the family pet.

Pets are viewed as best friends, companions, family necessities, nuisances, and trainers for children. Do economizers have them, and if so, do they think of them differently than other people do?

Our Pet History

We both grew up having a variety of pets. Annette sees pets as an indispensable part of family life. Steve originally found pets a nuisance but is warming to the idea that slobbery dog-kisses can be a valuable part of life. After we married, we discovered that in addition to being … Read more »

30+ Creative Crockpot Recipes, Ideas & Uses—Crazy! (Soap?)

An amazing collection of creative uses for your crockpot - making soap . . . really?

If you’re looking for creative slow cooker cooking ideas for recipes or crafting we’ve got answers. If you want lots of delicious and favorite recipes and some really outrageous uses for a slow cooker, you’ve also come to the right place!

The slow cooker or Crockpot is one of the most versatile time and money-saving tools we have in our kitchen. We use them so much that, over time, we now have three of them. They help us on our once-month cooking day and for other daily needs.

Related Article: If you want to know how much money you can save using a … Read more »

Use a Crockpot for a Year and Save $3400!

Using a Crockpot for a year could save you $3400.

Using a crockpot for a year could save you a ton of money. But even if you used it just a few days each week, it could still save you more money than you ever imagined.  We’ll show you how this works and give you some other tips too.

This is the third of a 5-part Kitchen Tools series that will empower you to save thousands of dollars on your food budget.

What’s at stake when it comes to feeding a family?

When it comes to feeding a family, there is a lot of money at stake. The average family is spending $200 … Read more »

Can a Family Live on One Income?

Mom with two kids and a dog in the forest. Can we live on one income?

If you’ve ever wondered whether your family can live on one income or not, the following 5 email questions should help you get your answer.

1. One Income for a SAHM Wannabe

First I would like to say that I am very grateful to have found your book America’s Cheapest Family because ever since I picked that book up my husband and I have started changing the way we live.

We aren’t out of debt yet, but we have paid off some and are working towards paying off the rest.

I really want to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. My husband is very supportive … Read more »

Tips for Freezing and Cooking Meat (Delicious)

Great Tips for Freezing Meat!

Freezing meat bought on sale is a great way to save money at the grocery store. But if you don’t properly store and protect the meat, your savings can be wasted due to freezer burn. If you follow the steps listed below you’ll rarely be disappointed.

Reader Question about Freezing Meat

How do you freeze filet mignon, and keep it from getting dry and tough? We recently purchased filet mignon from Costco, ate two of them (they were delicious) and froze the others. When we defrosted and cooked them, they were awful. Is there is a better way to store them to preserve … Read more »

Linen Closet Organization Ideas: 9 Brilliant Tips, Tricks (and Hacks)

Linen Closet organization tips and hacks.

Reorganizing your linen closet probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list! But this task can really free up time and mental energy – here’s why and how.

The Last Time We Reorganized our Linen Closet

For us, it had been about 10 years since we organized our linen closet. With raising five kids,  writing books and speaking around the country, we had little time to think about this type of organizing task. We truly had lost track of what was in the linen closet.

 Watch the video at the bottom of this page where … Read more »

Dressing Up for the Holidays for Less: Holiday Party Outfits Savings

Holiday Clothing that looks great but doesn't cost a fortune!

Holiday party outfits can be expensive, and everyone wants to look fantastic for the holidays. How can you get a great Holiday look without spending a fortune of money? We’ll share how you can dress up for the holidays with a minimal cash outlay, and look fabulous in the process.

Reader Question About Holiday Clothing Expenses

I know that I’ll be invited to several holiday parties this season and will need to get dressed up. And there isn’t money for new clothes right now. But I want to look good, and not put a balance on my credit card. What should I … Read more »

Grocery Store Sales Cycles: How to Save a Ton Of Money Stocking up with Holiday and Monthly Deals

Grocery Store Sales Cycles - brown grocery bags stacked on the floor and counter full of sale items.

Knowing the Grocery Store Sales Cycles by month and for each holiday is a great way to save tons of money on food and to fill your pantry and freezer with bargain-priced groceries.

One of our best money-saving grocery strategies is to stock up on loss leaders around the holidays. Grocery stores drop the price on various food items each month and on each holiday to entice shoppers to come to their store. That’s the time we swoop in and pick up deals to last several months.

Every holiday brings an opportunity to find great bargains because most grocers put traditional foods on … Read more »

Buy Meat in Bulk Online & Easy Way to Save Money

Buy Meat in Bulk to save money/

We have always thought about buying meat in bulk online, but have never jumped in until now. We were recently introduced to The Savory Butcher and their local fresh meat deliveries.

You know that we are bargain shoppers. However, the quality and the pricing that The Savory Butcher offers really piqued our interest. This is a really great way to lock in a good price on a large quantity of quality meat. If you don’t have time to hunt for meat bargains in the traditional way, this could save you a lot of time and money.

What is Savory Butcher?

Read more »

How to Do a DIY Property Tax Appeal and Lower Your Taxes

DIY Property Tax Appeal - how to lower your monthly payment.

Doing a DIY Property Tax Appeal is not something many homeowners think about. But, if you own a home or are getting ready to buy one, you should consider what you will pay in property taxes.

And you should probably look into what similarly sized homes are paying.

When you purchase a house, be aware that many counties base their revised valuations, in large part, on the sale price. The basis for the valuation may be correct, but the details of your property may be misrepresented, which can result in higher taxes.

No matter what the economy is doing, taxes don’t seem to … Read more »

Foods That Freeze Well – Save $2000 Using a Freezer

You won't believe how much money a freezer save your family on grocery purchases! It's amazing!

Are you looking for a list of foods that freeze well? Do you want to stock up on sale items and turn your freezer into a huge money saver for your family?

Those are great goals. And we’ve got the answers for you.

The $2000 Chest Freezer is the final article of a 5 Kitchen Tools series designed to empower you to save thousands of dollars on your food budget.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared how we save with the humble SpoonUla, a set of glass bowls for lunches, a slow cooker, and a Meat Slicer. We’ve calculated the annual savings … Read more »