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  • Frugal tips from America's cheapest family

    Do you need some inspiration to kick-start your money-saving habits?

    America's cheapest family urges Americans to check their kitchens before shopping for food.Check out how America's cheapest family, helmed Steve and Annette Economides, are padding their wallets by cutting on some of their daily expenditures.

    For example, Annette Economides told CBS Arizona affiliate KPHO that one simple way to cut a family's food bill is to take inventory of what is already stocked in the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.

    "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,'" she said.

    KPHO reported that the average family of four spends $800 per month on food, which comes out $9,600 per year. Imagine if you could save just 15 percent on that bill. You'd have an additional $1,440 in your savings account at the end of each year. The Economideses urge families to look at newspaper ads to see what might be on sale.

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

    A 50 percent cut on grocery costs for the average family would net them nearly $5,000 per year.

    Paying off debt
    The Economideses also have an interesting view on paying off debt. The couple told Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV to write down every person or establishment to whom you owe money, no matter how small.

    "Don't worry about interest rates because you have more success if you simply knock off the smallest balance," Annette Economides said.

    Steve Economides suggests getting a second job, working overtime or looking around the house for unused items that you might be able to sell. He said the family recently sold a three-year-old textbook for $30.

    Teaching kids about money

    The Economideses believe teaching children about money and good fiscal habits set the tone for the entire family. The couple has written a book, MoneySmart Family, that informs parents how they can go about teaching their children thrifty habits.

    "We would normally spend money on them," Steve Economides said of his children. "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.'"

    The family came up with age-appropriate chores around the house so everyone in the family could help out and be rewarded for their work in the process. Their children would earn points for a job well-done, and by the end of the week, they would be paid according to how many points they accumulated.

    The Economideses believe this sort of system helps children learn to budget at an early age. They also found that by the age of 11, kids could start to buy their own clothes, and by the time they turned 16, they could pay for their own car 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," Steve Economides said.

    The Economideses added that even if a teenager can't afford to buy a car, it's a good notion to have them pay for their own auto insurance if they use or borrow a car from a family member.

    "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," Annette Economides said.