The Dr. Phil Show — Financial Tips and Tricks

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The Dr. Phil Show called us and we were amazed. It was an awesome opportunity to help families around the country to get more for their money and learn how to make frugal living fun.

The Big Surprise

When we found out that the entire show they were putting together was going to center around our book and our family we were astounded. And when Robin McGraw leaned over to her husband (Dr. Phil) and quietly said, “That was a really good show,” as they walked off the set, we were astonished!

It was a great show, but unfortunately, we can’t yet post the video here. But we have lots of other information about what we shared on the show bel

with Dr. Phil after the show
After the show, we had the opportunity to get this family photo with Dr. Phil and were able to spend just a couple of minutes chatting with him.
Green Room with Jen from Dr. Phil
Here’s a picture of us in the “Green Room” at Paramount Studios (just prior to taping) with Jen – the associate producer of the show. Your right, Joe was trying to be funny . . . it kind of worked.

Below is the write up they did for the show:

About the Frugal Economides Family

The Economides clan is proud to call themselves America’s cheapest family. Starting off with very little when they got married, Steve and Annette have mastered the art of living frugally. They’ve raised five children and paid off a home in nine years while earning $33,000 a year. They currently live in a 3,500 square-foot house, buy designer clothes for their kids and go on vacations, without going into debt or spending more than $44,000 a year.

“Finding a great bargain is the ultimate prize,” Steve says.

“We want to encourage others that frugality is not a life of deprivation,” Annette says.

They share their best tips for saving money while enjoying life at the same time.

Three Important Concepts People Should Follow

1. Avoid Debt like the Plague

”People think that debt actually increases their lifestyle because they can buy the nice stuff, but in reality, you’ve got to pay for it eventually,” Annette says.

2. Live Below Your Means

Understanding how much income is coming in on a monthly basis is imperative. “It’s a numbers thing,” Annette says. “You look at your numbers, you look at your expenses and what you’re setting money aside for, and you know that the sum total has to be less than what you’re bringing home.” She adds that it’s much easier than people may think.

3. Embrace a Thrifty Lifestyle

Learn to enjoy the process of finding a good bargain, and realize that you can still enjoy life and have great experiences while living on a household budget.

Secrets to Saving

Only Carry Cash

Operate on a cash system and don’t use credit. “If we don’t have the money for something, we don’t buy it,” says Annette.

Use Coupons

“They can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year on your groceries,” Annette says.

Invest in a Freezer

“Freezers are a great tool. It allows you to stock up,” Steve says. The family often buys extra items they consume often, when they’re on sale, and freezes them to use at a later date.

cash envelopesSet Aside Money for Every Possible Expense

Create a budget and include unforeseen payments that may arise. Their budget system helped them pay off their home in 9 years, pay cash for all of their cars and send their kids to college without any student loans.

Buy Clothes at Thrift Stores
Kids at the thrift store

Go with a list; don’t just go to browse. When you find an item you like, check the item to make sure there are no spots or rips. “If there are stains, and you think they’re washable, ask for a discount,” Steve says. Thrift stores often have deal days, so make sure you’re at the store during those times to get better bargains.

Buy at Discount Prices

Shop at garage sales and online Web sites like eBay, Craigslist, OfferUp and Freecycle.

Tips to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

Have a Plan for the Grocery Store

“It is absolutely critical to have a plan when you head to the grocery store,” Annette says.

Make a List Before You Go to the Store

“The grocery list helps you to look through your pantries and take stock of what you already have in the house and your freezers, and then come up with what you want to pick up,” Annette explains.

Look at Food Ads Before you go to the store

“They are like your lottery ticket,” Annette says. Peruse the papers to learn sale prices and non-sale prices of items, so you know when you’re getting a deal

Plan a Week’s Worth of Meals

Review the Food Ads
Shopping smarter

“If you spend 15 minutes a week just planning a week’s menu, life will be less stressful, and you’ll save money too,” Annette says.

Specific Tips and Tricks for Slashing the Grocery Bill

  • Buy Bread from Bakery Outlets
    • Sometimes you can find same-day bread on sale. If you’re buying day-old bread, and it’s made with good-quality wheat, you may not even notice the difference.
  • Shop in Multiple Stores
    • Search around to see which stores have the best prices on different items. This may require going to a few different stores to meet all your needs.
  • Buy in Bulk and Freeze Extra Items
    • If you’re freezing meats, make sure they are vacuum-sealed in heavy plastic, and they will last for a year or more.
  • Stock Up on Sale Items
    • If there’s an item you enjoy, and you find it on sale, buy more than you need at the present time, and store the extra for the future.
  • Eat Leftovers
  • Learn Which Fruits and Vegetables are in Season and Buy at the Lowest Prices
    • Don’t buy produce that is flown in from a different country. If you wait to buy that delectable when it’s in season, you will pay less for it.

Tips for Saving on Utility Bills

  • Put a Jacket on Your Water Heater
    • This will keep it from losing heat.
  • Close Vents in the Rooms You Don’t Use
    • This will prevent heat or air flowing into rooms you don’t occupy.
  • Put Self-Closing Hinges on Your Doors
    • This will keep cold air from entering your house.
  • Water Selectively
  • Give your plants enough water to survive, but keep greenery to a minimum.
  • Put a Water Bottle in the Toilet
    • This will help insure you use less water when flushing the toilet.
  • Install Low-Flow Showerheads
  • Take Shorter Showers

Fun and Free Ways to Entertain Your Familyroasting marshmellows in the fireplace

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun,” Steve says. “There are so many options. You can stay home and watch movies, play board games, or roast marshmallows in the fireplace. You can just do all kinds of things at home. We just need to be creative.”

  • Attend Concerts at Local Colleges
  • Go to Museums
  • Check out Community Events
  • Go to the Park
  • Borrow or Rent Movies
  • Bowl at a college or university (usually very inexpensive)
  • board gamesTry Backyard Camping
  • Play Miniature Golf
  • See Movies at Discount Theaters
  • Play Cards and Board Games
  • Have Christmas in July When Goods are on Sale
  • Take Free Tours

Their Frugal Philosophy – Little Things Add Up To Big Things

“It’s not about each little penny here and there,” Annette says. “It’s the total sum as you learn a lifestyle of conservation, where the pennies add up to dollars, and the dollars add up to hundreds of dollars. And it helps the environment as well.”

“If Money is tight. You’ve got to get ego out of the way. You’ve got to get emotion out of your finances, and do what you can do,” Dr. Phil says.

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