The Economides clan of Arizona reveal how to recession-proof your finances
They’ve been called cheapskates, tightwads, misers, and just plain weird. But names that others would consider derogatory are embraced as badges of honor by Steve and Annette Economides.
The couple and their five children bill themselves as "The Cheapest Family in America" and "The Frugals." On Thursday they showed TODAY viewers how they, too, can have everything they need and live debt-free in an expansive home in one of America’s tonier neighborhoods — on less than $45,000 a year.
"The economy is in a tailspin, and we’re just perfectly fine," Annette Economides told TODAY’s Ann Curry in New York, adding, "I am the Warren Buffett of groceries."
Rummaging the racks
Annette was joined in the studio by her husband, Steve, and three of their five children: Abbey, Joseph and Becky. Before talking with Curry, the five Economides watched a video of themselves doing their Christmas shopping in stores that specialize in bargains near their Scottsdale, Ariz., home.
Annette rummaged through racks of clothing marked down to the bare minimum for clearance. She inspected tchotchkes, remarking on the prices. Elsewhere in the store, Steve was looking through sporting goods, his face lighting up when he found a Nike volleyball for $2.50 — a perfect gift for Abbey.
At the checkout counter, Annette paid with cash. "Twelve items for $17.15," she said proudly. The family’s total Christmas shopping bill this year was $90 for 27 gifts.