dinsdag 26 november 2013

America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams - Steve Economides (Boek)

*****
Do you have too much month at the end of your money? Is your credit card screaming for relief? Are you tired of robbing Peter to pay Paul . . . whoever they are?

Meet Steve and Annette Economides. They’ve been called cheapskates, thriftaholics, and tightwads, but in these tough economic times, Steve and Annette have managed to feed their family of seven on just $350 per month, pay off their first house in nine years and purchase a second, larger home, buy cars with cash, take wonderful vacations, and put money in savings. Without degrees in finance or six-figure salaries, Steve and Annette have created a comfortable, debt-free life for themselves and their children. In America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, they show you how they did it- and how you can do it too.

Steve and Annette share many down-to-earth principles and the simple spending plan that they have used since 1982. They have taught this economizing lifestyle to thousands of people worldwide through seminars and their newsletter, and they include lots of real-life stories to make you feel as if you’re having your own private coaching session. Not only will you find solutions to your financial dilemmas, you’ll also discover a whole new way of life.

You don’t need to be a CPA or a math wizard to learn their revolutionary system, which will teach you:

- hundreds of ways to save money on everyday household expenses, including groceries, clothing, and health care
- how to save in advance for major purchases such as homes, cars, and vacations
- how to stop living paycheck to paycheck
- how to eliminate debt . . . forever!

America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money puts meeting your financial goals- and living well at the same time- in reach for every family.

From Booklist
There's no doubt that today's families can use some help in balancing the household finances, and the Economides family, headed by a former ad sales exec and his homemaker wife, deliver the goods here. To an extreme. As founders of the HomeEconomiser newsletter, the couple offers plenty of helpful tips on shopping and menu planning, saving, reducing debt, and cutting back on utilities. Most of Middle America, however, will probably find their habits overly harsh. Take, for instance, their shopping routine: they make one monthly trip to the grocery store, which takes up to five hours but costs them only $350. By freezing such items as milk, bread, and cheese for later in the month and using the more perishable fruits and veggies early in the month (saving such things as apples and carrots for the latter weeks), the Economideses feed themselves and their five children based on this one trip. Even though some tips advocate what others might consider garbage picking and mooching, any family with money issues will find useful information here. Especially helpful are their household budgeting techniques, adaptable to any home. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review
“Of all the how-to-do-it books ever written, the best and most constructively useful are the Bible, Voltaire’s Candide- and this one. The time is right, right now, for somebody to give us all a top sergeant lesson in practical economics: ‘There is no free lunch.’ Congratulations, Annette and Steve Economides: I pray your readers will practice what you teach.”
- PAUL HARVEY, legendary American radio broadcaster and host of The Rest of the Story on the ABC Radio Network

“If your family is struggling with debt or you find yourself spending more money than you can legitimately afford, pick up and READ this book today! Implement the strategies you find and enjoy a lifetime free of financial anxiety!”
- Glinda Bridgforth, financial coach, Oprah Debt Diet consultant, and bestselling author of Girl, Make Your Money Grow! and Girl, Get Your Credit Straight!
About the Author
Steve and Annette Economides launched their popular bimonthly newsletter, The HomeEconomiser, in 2003. They are frequently quoted money-saving experts and have appeared in Good Housekeeping as well as on National Public Radio and Good Morning America. They live in Scottsdale, Arizona, with their children.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
one

America’s Cheapest Family

We’ve been called “America’s Cheapest Family,” “the First Family of Frugal,” “cheapskates,” “thrift-a-holics,” “tightwads,” or one of many other less flattering terms. Even calling us by our real last name, Economides, relates to saving cash. Yes, that’s our real name—it’s pronounced “econo-mee-dis.” It’s Greek and means “son of the steward.”

As the nicknames make clear, we don’t like to spend a lot of money. But we don’t economize just for the sake of skimping. We have big dreams—goals that together we are working toward. We are living proof that even in tough economic times, it’s possible to:

•Raise responsible kids
•Purchase a home and pay it off in nine years
•Buy cars for cash
•Enjoy fabulous debt-free vacations
•Feed a growing family on a grocery budget of just $350 each month
•Put savings in the bank

What’s more, all this was done during the first twelve years of our marriage on an average income of less than $35,000.

A Wish Fulfilled

This is a book we wish had existed when we were starting out on our financial journey. We’re not going to bog you down with pages of hard-to-follow economic theory and calculations. Instead, we focus on practical advice that even the most financially challenged can easily implement. America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money will show you how to buy groceries smarter and less expensively, create a household budget that really works, buy affordable cars and homes, find alternative sources for dressing fabulously, deal with medical care and expenses, discover fun recreational activities that are free, plan and take great vacations that don’t break the bank, teach kids to earn and manage money, build a great savings plan for the future, get out of debt and emerge from the vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, and so much more.

Neither of us has a finance or accounting background. Neither of our parents taught us to manage money—they were frugal, but by no means financial wizards. We are just an average couple who have discovered the secrets to living well on way less than most people can imagine.

Many people believe that thrifty living can be more easily accomplished in a rural setting. We are here to tell you that it just isn’t so! Living in the suburbs all of our lives, we can strongly say that there are great bargains to be had at every turn. With a dense population comes greater opportunities to scoop up steep discounts and free items.

Writing from the perspective of a family, we hope to bring our message to every age group. The younger generation needs to hear that there is an alternative to today’s credit-charged lifestyle—frugal living can be fun and very rewarding, something our children know well. Those in the throes of the middle years, whether raising kids, building careers, or both, need to hear that work doesn’t need to own them. We can vouch for the fact that they can live on less and still reach incredible goals. And as we edge our way toward retirement, we can offer guidance to seniors, many of whom live on Social Security or are learning to stretch their savings. As economizers, we proclaim that no matter what your financial state, and regardless of what the economy is doing, you can not only survive but thrive.

Three Principles for Getting you Right on the Money

There will be three themes that you’ll see recur throughout this book: avoid debt like the plague, live below your means, and embrace the thrifty lifestyle.

Avoid Debt Like the Plague

Why avoid debt, especially when many financial experts advocate credit card usage to establish a good credit score? Because the overuse of credit actually lowers your standard of living. After spending freely, eventually you’ll have to pay back what you’ve borrowed. This will have to be done with money that could better be spent on today’s needs rather than yesterday’s desires. The restriction of your cash flow after experiencing credit-enabled “freedom” is always a bitter pill to swallow. The average American family has a credit card balance of over $7,000, and we have seen the dark side of credit abuse in which relationships and families crumble under the heavy weight of unpaid debts. The good news is that most people can be debt-free (with the exception of their home) in about eighteen months if they develop a plan and stick with it. We’ll show you exactly how it can be done!

While some call us naive to live without the “benefits” of credit (that’s right, we don’t have any credit cards), we’re here to say that it can be done—and life can be good! We have more things than we need, experience more good living than we deserve, and thoroughly enjoy all that we can afford. Can life be any better than this?

Live Below Your Means

This important principle is best accomplished by using a written budget. This is really much easier than you think—and in Chapter 3: Budgeting we’ll show you how you can use a budget to set aside money in advance of all your expenses. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, spending can easily get out of control. A budget is a great tool to manage spending and makes living below your means achievable. How do you know when you are living below your means? Is it when all the bills are paid and you’ve still got money left over? We think it’s much more than that. Budgeting is the cornerstone of family finances. In every chapter we’ll build upon that foundation with loads of ideas to free up money that you didn’t even know you had.

Embrace the Thrifty Lifestyle

Being thrifty means that we should always strive to be efficient and resourceful with what we have. (Uggh! That sounds about as exciting as oatmeal.) But in reality, we look at this lifestyle as a game and the savings in time and money as the prize. Every chapter will contain tips, secrets, and new skills you can learn to help you win every time.

Many people say that avoiding credit, living below your means, and being thrifty are a waste of time. Ha! We say that as you experience success in reaching your financial dreams (and you will), you’ll be so convinced these practical principles work that you’ll never go back to the way you were living before. And you’ll leave the scoffers behind you, eating your financial dust!

How “America’s Cheapest Family” Got Started

When we dreamed up the idea for the HomeEconomiser newsletter in March 2003, we had no idea that our thrifty advice would be so warmly embraced. There was tremendous interest from the media, and within one month several newspaper stories appeared, as did TV spots and radio interviews. In the next eighteen months the story spread from Phoenix across the United States and even to London, Hong Kong, Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand.

We were first hailed as “America’s Cheapest Family” when we appeared on Good Morning America in 2004. Initially we flinched at the use of the word cheap. Ugh! We have never thought of ourselves as cheapskates. We think of ourselves as deal makers and bargain hunters. But in a language that has no positive adjectives to describe people who live within their means, are careful to evaluate every purchase, and always have money in the bank, we can understand the dilemma. To a world that loves to spend, those of us who love to save just aren’t looked upon in a positive light. What options are available to reporters try- ing to describe a family they believe to be the ultimate in our line of work? Are we the Frugalest? The Most Miserly? The Tightwaddiest, the Thriftiest, the Most Parsimonious? The Economical Economideses? Or the Super Skimpers? If they called us Smart Shoppers, then what would that make everyone who didn’t shop as we do? After a long evaluation and numerous discussions, we decided that if being “America’s Cheapest Family” provided us with a platform to help many thousands of families break away from financial enslavement, then we would be willing. (Besides, it’s much easier for most people to pronounce than Economides.)

Necessity Is the Mother of Economizing

Annette was raised in a large Italian family on Long Island, New York, and Steve grew up in a large Greek family on the South Side of Chicago. We met in 1979, married in 1982, and began our frugal journey together. As a newly married couple, we received lots of advice. Some family members recommended that Steve should work two jobs and Annette ought to work as well—all this so that we could save our money and purchase a house in three years’ time. But Annette wanted to learn to make our home and we wanted to be able to spend time together as a newly married couple, so we chose to do things differently. Steve worked just one job, while Annette stayed home and stretched our money until it begged for mercy.

By our first wedding anniversary, our family had grown to three. Steve was earning a whopping $7 an hour as a graphic designer. Annette worked diligently following our spending plan—pinching pennies really paid off as our savings grew. In his best-seller Life’s Little Instruction Book, H. Jackson Brown Jr. wrote the following to his son: “When starting out, don’t worry about not having enough money. Limited funds are a blessing, not a curse. Nothing encourages creative thinking in quite the same way.” This quote describes our early years to a T, and we certainly did feel blessed.

Almost exactly three years later, with baby number two on the way, we purchased our first home—a four-bedroom repo-fixer-upper. We put 15 percent down and then began aggressively paying down the pr...

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