Steve and Annette Economides have lived in the Phoenix area since 1982. The Arizona Republic is their home town newspaper. Several different reporters have written articles about the Economides family and their frugal lifestyle. This page contains several of those articles starting with the first one from 2003.
Arizona Republic — The Cheapest Family In The Valley (2003)
They may be the cheapest family in the Valley but in the best way possible.
Steve and Annette Economides and their five children have mastered the art of living virtually debt free.
The family has lived off Steve’s take-home pay averaging $40,000 a year for the last several years.
But they have no car payments, no credit card bills and their sprawling ranch-style house is almost paid off.
Here’s how they do it:
• Stay within a budget: Steve and Annette stay within their food budget of just $350 a month, including household products like toilet paper and dish soap.
• Find the deals, then choose the meals: Most families do the opposite: They decide what they’ll eat that week, then buy it. That wastes a lot of food and money. Annette begins her monthly food roundup by finding the bargains in coupons and grocery flyers. Then she checks her huge pantry and freezer to see what she’s running low on, and finally, she picks the meals that will work with those ingredients from her list of 92 menus.
“I’m not just buying for this month,” Annette says, “I’m buying for this month and the month after that and the month after that.”
• Stay out of the store: The more you shop, the more you spend. Steve and Annette get all their shopping done for the month in a single, five-hour marathon night – out the door at 7 p.m., back home by midnight.
• Leave the kids at home: You won’t find any of their five kids, ages 9 through 20, anywhere near the grocery. They’d just slow things down. Besides, they’re too expensive. “It’s worth every penny you spend on a babysitter for how much you can save at a grocery store,” Annette says.
• Every store is different: Shoppers assume that regional or national chains price products the same in all stores. Steve and Annette’s travels take them to many stores on shopping night. Steve says he’s found store managers have a lot of pricing leeway, especially when there’s a competitor across the street. For example, he’s found some Safeway stores that will put meat on sale a few days before the “Sell By” date, rather than on that date. Also, Walmart has a price match policy that helps Steve and Annette save. The chain will match certain sale prices at competitors as long as you bring in the sale flyer.
Related Article: Stores that Will Price Match Amazon Today!
On the night we shopped together, Steve and Annette’s deal-hunting cut the grocery bill in half.
Now Steve and Annette are turning their saving secrets into a small business. Visit their website www.AmericasCheapestFamily.com where you’ll find hundreds of money and time-saving tips.
Brahm Resnik is a fantastic reporter and a relentless and tireless worker. He starts his work days at 3:45 am. The day we taped our shopping trip, we kept him working until after 9 pm. What a trooper! He summarized our shopping strategies in a simple straightforward manner and made it a fun experience for us and the viewers.