Author Archives: Steve Economides

About Steve Economides

Steve Economides is a NY Times Best Selling Author of 3 books, dad of 5 grown kids and a household finance and frugality expert. He and his wife Annette have been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dr Phil and dozens of other national and international TV shows.

Gifts for Grandchildren: Creative Ideas for Grandparents Tend to Endulge.

When grandparents give too much. A pile of white presents wrapped with red bow.

A reader wonders how to deal with a grandparent who is overly generous. Are there rules for gift giving etiquette?

Reader Question About An Overly Generous Grandmother

How have you had to struggle over members of your extended family giving too many or inappropriate gifts to your children?

A good friend of mine has a struggle with her mother-in-law giving expensive presents to her son.

My friend and her husband are on a budget and they want to teach their son that Christmas isn’t about presents but about traditions, family, and charity. But this is difficult with a grandmother who wants to indulge their … Read more »

16 Thanksgiving Activities for Families Who Want Crazy Fun

Thanksgiving Activities for Families with Kids can be Fun & Frugal.

Are you looking for some fun Thanksgiving activities for families with kids? A few of these fun activities can really make the day special and memorable.

Even with concerns about Covid-19 this year, you can still have a small gathering, social distance and have fun.

The activities we plan are some of the best ways to keep kids and parents engaged and looking forward to this holiday.

If everyone or most everyone participates, the fun memories created will last a lifetime.

Whether you are a kid, teen or adult, coming up with activities to share on Thanksgiving is a very doable undertaking.

Thanksgiving is … Read more »

Top Health Insurance Companies for Open Enrollment

Top Health Insurance Companies

Sifting through the right health insurance companies to find the right one for you and your family can be an overwhelming task.

A variety of factors will determine the ability of a healthcare company to meet the needs of you and your family. The task at hand may seem enormous, but I will explain the different factors that will go into choosing a healthcare company successfully.

Once you know a little bit more about the different elements to consider, we will outline the best healthcare companies in the market. With this combination of information, you will be able to successfully … Read more »

Paying for College With No Money or a Trust Fund

How to Pay for College with no Money - College graduate

A Reader asks How to Pay for College With No Money and without a Trust Fund.

Question: My daughter is a senior in high school and is preparing to head off to college. We have no money saved for her college expenses and feel like loans are the only option we have. What should we do?

MoneySmartFamily: You have more options than you realize.

1. Get Government Grants

Fill out a FAFSA application – it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – StudentAid.ed.gov

Do this even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any student aid. FAFSA weighs many … Read more »

What Are Health Share Plans? Is Medical Cost Sharing for You?

Mom holding a baby's hand - medical cost sharing.

Many people have asked what the difference is between Health Share Plans and traditional Health Insurance.  We’ll answer many questions about the medical cost sharing industry in this article.

Things like:

What’s the Difference Between Medical Cost Sharing and Traditional Insurance?
How Long Has Medical Cost Sharing been around?
What types of things do cost-sharing programs cover and not cover?
How much can you save with Medical Cost Sharing programs?
Who are the biggest players in Medical Cost Sharing?
See an example of what a large medical expense would cost you with a cost-sharing account.

Problems with Affordable Care Act Insurance

It happens over and over again. People crying … Read more »

College Savings: 10 Out of the Box Ways Cut the Cost of Education

10 Out of the Box Ways for BigTime College Savings!

Are you’re looking for college savings when trying to get a university education? This blog will give you plenty of out of the box and unconventional options for college savings.

If you take to heart just a few of these ideas it could save you $10,000 or more.

The college landscape is changing so rapidly that savings can be found in the most unusual places. Especially if you’re willing to research and question conventional thinking and dig a little deeper.

This is blog #5 in our College Savings Series. Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the entire series.

College Prices … Read more »

How to Get The Most FAFSA Money and Pell Grant Awards

Maximize FAFSA and Pell Grant Money.

If you want to legitimately get the most FAFSA money for your college education, follow these tips and tricks. You’ll get maximum federal student aid in Pell Grants from following our research when you fill out your FAFSA application.

Debt-Free College Series # 4 – FAFSA and Financial Aid

We have  5 kids who have attended college, and we have filled out FAFSA applications with every single one of them.

As a matter of fact, we’ve filled out the FAFSA application several times with each of them.

In the process, we’ve learned several tips from our own experience and from financial aid experts.

In this blog, … Read more »

Money Gifts to Adult Kids? Good, Bad or Crazy?

Do Money Gifts to Adult Kids really help them?

Will money gifts to Adult Kids really help them? Do financial bailouts enable our children and make them dependent on us as parents? Here are 8 ways to help without enabling them.

Money Gifts for Adult Kids — What Should We Do?

A website visitor asked:

We have three grown kids. Two are doing fine, but the youngest one is married with two kids and is struggling financially. They are behind on their mortgage and credit card bills and they are constantly coming to us asking for help . . . and we’ve been giving it.

What should we do to help … Read more »

Is Swagbucks Legit, or is it a Scam? Our Review [Earnings Reveal]

Is Swagbucks Legit? It is a survey company, search engine, shopping portal, movie previews, playing online games, and trivia contests online!, and something for everyone!

When we first heard about the Swagbucks website, we had to ask ourselves, “Is Swagbucks legit? Or is it a scam?”

We had tried some of the other survey sites and were really disappointed. So we started researching this site to find out.

A blogger friend mentioned how she earned hundreds of dollars in gift cards through Swagbucks. We really doubted the validity of her claim.

We Googled “Is Swagbucks Legit or a scam?” and found some very interesting blogs. Some people didn’t like this website, but others praised it. The positive reviews also claimed to have earned gift cards and cashback through … Read more »

33 Places that Buy Used Cell Phones for Cash – Broken or Working

Trade in Used Cell Phones for cash.

Have you ever wondered, “who buys used cell phones?” Many stores are willing to buy used cell phones for cash.

Do you have some old cell phones sitting in a drawer? Would you like to turn that outdated technology into cash?

This article will help you turn your unneeded phones into needed money.

We’ll share stores that are nearby where you can get cash today for your phone.

And we’ll also share several online options where you can get a quote and then mail your phone in for a cash payout.

Best Places to Sell Old Phones Online

If you don’t want to drive to a … Read more »

Free Stickers! Wow—174 Confirmed Easy Ways to Get Them

A mac laptop with free stickers on it.

Are you looking for free name-brand stickers from companies you, or your kids’ love? We are!

At MoneySmartFamily we love free stuff. Especially free things that our kids love or that can be given as gifts.

We’ve researched hundreds of companies and created this easy to use list. We update it every couple of weeks to keep it current and to make sure all of the sites still offer free stickers. 

98 Companies with sticker request forms on site. (page 1)24 places to send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) (page 2)19 places with a Contact Form to … Read more »

Garbage Soup: Soup from Leftovers—A Frugal Recipe that Failed

Tapioca Garbage Soup - an attempt at frugality that failed miserably.

Soup from Leftovers and Garbage Soup are usually really delicious. Out of the thousands of meals Annette has prepared over the years, fewer than five have gone uneaten.

This is the story of an infamous one that has become a family legend.

The Concept of Soup from Leftovers / Garbage Soup

That’s right, Garbage Soup. It doesn’t sound appetizing, but in reality, it can be.

Several years ago, Annette read about the concept of saving small portions of leftovers to make soup and decided to incorporate the practice into her money-saving habits.

Whenever she had less than one serving of green beans, corn, mixed veggies, … Read more »

56 Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies

Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies #InterestingHobbies #InexpensiveHobbies #FunHobbies #INeedaHobby #AffordableHobbies #MakeMoneyHobbies

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a hobby.” Are you looking for some fun, inexpensive, or interesting hobbies to try?

Hobbies are a great way to challenge you, learn a new skill or provide some extra income. And they’re especially fun if they don’t cost a lot of money to get started.

If you’re looking for something new, check out these 53 choices.

Fun & Interesting Hobbies that Became Successful Businesses

Check out this list of people whose hobbies turned into huge earning potential. They each created a successful business from a hobby started at home.

Read more »

18 Places To Cash A Personal Check Fast and Without a Bank Account

Writing a check with a gold pen.

Have you ever wondered how to cash a personal check when you don’t have a bank account? Or where you can cash a check right now and what the charges would be?

You might need to cash a check from a friend because you’re traveling out of state, or you could have an online bank or you may simply not have a bank account at all.

If someone writes you a check and you don’t have access to your own bank, you may have a problem.

Don’t fret, there are several ways you can cash a personal check without a bank account.

Here’s how … Read more »

A Grocery Budget Makeover? The Easy Way to Budget for Food

A Budget Makeover with Groceries is the fastest way to find cash!

If you’re looking for a Budget Makeover – start by changing how you shop for groceries.

Because most of us go to the grocery store several times each week, making a few changes in how you shop is one of the fastest ways to rehab your finances.

How can I lower my grocery bill so I can get ahead on my budget?

Question from an Email Subscriber:

I want to start rehabilitating my finances that will include a budget makeover with groceries. So following your advice, I’m revamping my grocery shopping. I homeschool our 4 young children and they tend to drink a … Read more »

37 Garage Sale Tips and Tricks: A Guide To Hosting Great Yard or Garage Sale

Wooden yard sale sign posted on a wire fence. Guide to Hosting Great Garage Sales.

If you’re looking for Garage Sale Tips and Tricks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve hosted and participated in dozens of very successful garage sales.

We’ve written this Garage Sale Guide to help you turn your unwanted treasures into cash. There are 37 ideas presented on this page to help you run an efficient and profitable yard sale at your home. Or to host a rummage sale for a charitable organization where you volunteer.

Hosting A Garage Sale – Where to Start

Have you ever wondered how to host a great and profitable garage sale? We’ve hosted dozens of yard or garage … Read more »

Amazing! 10 Stores That Will Price Match Amazon Today!

Stores that Price Match Amazon - Amazon Box with store logos on it.

Do you know which stores will price match Amazon near you?

What better way is there to save money than to find retailers who will match or even beat one of the low price leaders? If you want your order TODAY or want it cheaper keep this list handy.

We’ve researched 14 of the largest retailers who advertise price matching policies and have found those who will match Amazon’s prices and a few that won’t.

Amazon’s Market Dominance

Amazon was founded in 1993 as an online bookstore. In 1998 it started to really take off and now Amazon has disrupted and transformed the retail … Read more »

112 Successful Dropouts from High School and College

College and Highschool Dropouts who became great successes!

You won’t believe some of the people on this list of successful high school and college dropouts.

Can dropouts from high school and college become successful contributors to society?

People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and MGM co-founder Marcus Lowe are prime examples of successful people. These are people who didn’t go to college or didn’t finish college.

Is education important? Yes of course.

But is a formal education; public, private or parochial school and college—are they critical to success. Yes . . . and no.

While researching the education chapter for our book The … Read more »

Couponing for Beginners: How to Find & Start Using Coupons

Couponing for Beginners

Are you looking for couponing for beginners with tips and tricks? Have you ever wondered how to start couponing so you can start saving some money?

Or are you just a beginner in couponing and want to up your coupon game to save even more money?

Learning how to maximize the use of coupons is a great skill. Because the retail landscape is always changing – learning about coupons will be an unending journey.

Starting to Coupon – Overview

There are several strategies when your beginning to use coupons.

Many readers have asked us how Annette organizes her coupons. While her method may … Read more »

Cheap Vacation Ideas: How to Travel on a Shoe String Budget

Camping in the Forest - Vaction on a shoe string budget

Are you looking for some inexpensive vacation ideas? Have you heard of bloggers who travel on a shoestring budget and have lots of fun?

Have you ever thought about great vacations with limited funds?

And what about this summer with Covid issues all around, could you still get away?

If you’re thinking you can’t take a vacation, think again. We’ve got lots of frugal and cheap tips to make your vacation memorable on a shoestring budget.

If your only option is to travel on a shoestring budget, you still create a fun and enjoyable memory!

Here’s how we and several other frugal … Read more »

Buying Used Stuff: 7 Reasons We Love Buying To Save & Make Money

Buy Used Things - 7 Ways to Find the Best Deals!

If you buy used stuff, it’s a great way to keep money in your pocket. It also increases your buying power further than you imagined. And it can also be a great way to make money.

Buying used things is a great benefit to you, your budget and the environment.

We’ll share why we love buying used things, and where we find the best deals.

We’ll also share how we sell used things we no longer need … and the sites we use to do that.

You’re going to save a ton of money reading this article.

If we’ve missed a resource that you love, … Read more »

Head of Lettuce – What is the Best Price, Weight & Nutrition

Buying Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce? Which Lettuce is best to buy?/ #BestLettuceDeal/ #BuyingLettuce/ #BuyingProduceCheap/ #BuyingProduceOnABudget

Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce . . . do you know which type of lettuce costs more?

Have you ever tried to calculate the best price for lettuce? Do you know which type of lettuce is the most nutritious? We answer all of these questions in this blog.

There are several ways to save money when buying lettuce. We outline a couple of our tricks on this page.

Finding the Best Deal on Lettuce is More Complex Than You Might Think!

Calculating the best price on lettuce is more than simply looking at the sale flyer. To determine the best deal we consider the price per … Read more »

How to Get Ink out of Upholstery Fabric: 3 Easy Solutions That Work

Before and after picture if ink stains on upholstery

Do you have an ink stain on fabric or upholstery? There are several inexpensive ways to get the stain out of fabric.

We had a microfiber ottoman that was giving to us. It had blue and black ink scribbles on it. In the video on this page, we show the steps we used to return the ottoman fabric to like-new condition.

In this post, we’ll share several options and show you the two that worked best for us.

Step 1: Test the Fabric

Not all fabrics are created equal. If you have the manufacturers tag still attached to the fabric you should be able … Read more »

Entitled Kids: 7 Things to Stop Spoiling & Raise Self-Sufficient Kids

Entitled Kids - how to build self reliance and sufficiency

Is it possible that our good intentions and generosity could end up entitling our kids? No parent intentionally sets out to create dependent children who expect to be given everything they desire.

If you want to raise kids who aren’t entitled but are empowered – keep reading. We have 7 ways we helped our kids to become Financially strong, fit and independent.

Kids are kind of funny. If we offer to pay for something, they’ll gladly let us do it . . . forever and ever. If we don’t pay, they’ll carry on about how “mean” and out of touch with reality … Read more »

5 Secrets to Surviving a Financial Crisis or Economic Downturn

5 Ways to Survive a Financial Crisis.

Are you going through a financial crisis or cut in pay? Has the Covid-19 issue created financial hardship for you?

If your income were to dramatically drop tomorrow, would you survive?

Would you spiral into a financial crisis or would you be able to keep your head above water?

Many financial experts say that Americans who live paycheck to paycheck could be 3 months from homelessness.

We’re going to give you 5 Secrets that we’ve used to survive job layoffs, cuts in pay and a nationwide financial downturn. 

How are you doing Financially?

If you were to ask ten different people in your town, “How are … Read more »