America's Cheapest Family shares ways to save money - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

America's Cheapest Family shares ways to save money

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Steve and Annette Economides, otherwise known as America's Cheapest Family, give people ways to save money in just about every aspect of life.

The Economides said that on average a family of ours spends $800 a month on food.

Annette Economides said one easy way to cut back on a food bill is to take stock of what is already in the kitchen.

"Because most people have more in their house than they realize, and if they just go through their refrigerator, go through their pantry, go through their freezer, they'll be like 'oh, I forgot this was in here,'" said Annette Economides.

Try to go a week without shopping, added Annette. It may take some creativity to make meals out of those unique items that have been sitting in a pantry for a long time.

The Economides suggest to check a few newspapers and see what's on sale.

"We're looking at what's on sale and what's on sale is usually 30 to 50 percent off retail price. If you buy your food and plan your menu according to what's on sale, that cuts your grocery bill 30-50 percent, right there," said the Economides.

When making a meal, it always helps to make extra and freeze it. If you have a meal in the freezer, families are less likely to go out to dinner.

The Economides have written a book, MoneySmart Family, that explains how to teach kids about finances.

One way is to make children earn their allowance, instead of just giving it to them for free.

"We would normally spend money on them. I mean how many parents would normally give their kids $20 to go to the mall. So what we said was OK, we're going to give them money anyway, let's have them earn it," said Steve Economides.

The couple came up with age-appropriate chores for kids so everyone in the family could chip in with the workload.

Kids would get points for jobs well-done and at the end of the week, they got paid according to how many points they earned.

With that money, kids can start to budget and buy some of their own necessities.

The Economides suggest that around 11 years old, kids could start to buy their own clothes and by age 16 they could purchase their own auto insurance.

"Remember we're slowly transferring the weight of adult responsibilities to the kids so that by the time they're 18 they're ready to go to college, and they know how to manage larger amounts of money," said Steve Economides.

When parents are trying to make every dollar stretch as a parent, the Economides said it can be a budget buster when it comes to high ticket items, such as cell phones, iPads and cars.

The Economides said even if a teenager can't afford their own car, it's a good idea to have them pay for their own car insurance.

"It's real important that kids pay for their car insurance because then if they decide to speed and they get a ticket, their car insurance goes up and they bear the consequences for those decisions," said Annette Economides.

Finally, the Economides have a couple ideas to make college more affordable for parents wanting to send their children.

"We basically tell our kids, your part-time job is to look for scholarships because you know a $1,000 scholarship that takes you 10 hours to ferret out... is $100 an hour," said the Economides.

Also, the Economides said to shop for books online, instead of at the college bookstore.

Books can often be a fraction of the cost.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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