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America's Thriftiest Family (On Oprah Today)

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Today Oprah is doing a show on "America's Thriftiest Family" and I looked on her website and the thrifty family moves in with a mom having severe money problems and teaches her the ropes.

Hopefully it's not an hour full of coupon tips.

(I would have posted in the TELEVISION forum, but it belongs here more imo.)
post #2 of 88
Parade article about the Heinz family:

post #3 of 88
Currently hidden in the cupboard, ready for next Easter, are 90%-off, foil-wrapped eggs
I'm sorry, but that's just gross, choclate that was made a year and a half ago, but not even kept in the freezer? bleh.
post #4 of 88
I'm just so disgusted that they are called one of America's thriftiest families.

After taxes and retirement contributions, Sue, 37, the part-time conductor of a youth orchestra, and her husband, Brett, 41, a software engineer, support their family of six on $58,000 a year.
So, they make well over the median household income (remember, that $58K is AFTER tax & retirement and in 2007 the US median household income was $50K), they have way less than is ideal, given their ages, in their retirement and they don't live in a particularily high COL area. I'm just not that impressed.

Sure, we only have two kids but we take home less than that, live in a higher cost of living area (for one our house cost almost 2x as much) and have more in retirement. AND I don't feel we are super frugal. I mean, there are people out there with 4 kids who are making it on $25-30K a year.

I just didn't feel like this was a very good example of truly thrifty living. There are millions of Americans who only dream of making that kind of money.
post #5 of 88
post #6 of 88
post #7 of 88
And according to the article, they over pay their taxes every year to get a "windfall."
post #8 of 88
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
And according to the article, they over pay their taxes every year to get a "windfall."
Yea, what happened to simply putting your money in a savings account? I know they don't pay much, but it's still better than letting the gov't keep it for free.
post #9 of 88
If she was super thrifty, she'd know how to get those eggs for free (I am being serious here). In our house, the rule is usually that we don't buy things we don't need unless we have coupon(s)+sales=FREE or mere pennies at most.

I believe I've heard of this family before.

More later..
post #10 of 88
I was also less than impressed.

I also thought the family they helped that had a budget of $8700 a month was a bit ridiculous. I know everyone is at different stages of the game here but if you need someone else to tell you to stop spending $650 a month on clothes at the dept. store you're aren't feeling the pinch too bad.

And I thought it was odd how she kept saying they ate "healthy nutritious meals for $4 a meal" but could never give one example of that?

: How about doing a show where people are being creative and really "shaving" money ($10 or $100) here and there because that's they only way they can live and not rack up CC debt and be materialistic. Not "shaving" 2k off. a month...
post #11 of 88
$650/month on clothes? Yeesh. We don't even spend 10% of that on clothes each month!

Oprah is still on here..

I mean, I wouldn't even want to be on there and getting help because even with one income to feed our family of five.. it's median in America but a lot to me (even when we're dirt poor, lol). But $8700/month? I can't imagine.
post #12 of 88
I'm watching it now. Yeah, the family they "helped" annoyed me a little. Did anyone catch what their food budget was? If they spend $650 on dept. store purchasese I'm guessing they spent 2-3x that for food/dining out.
post #13 of 88
I watched it until the part where they said she saved $550 per year by cutting her family's hair at home. Tips like that are useless when you don't have a "haircut" line in your budget in the first place.
post #14 of 88
Well, I didn't watch the show, but the Parade article sounds more like "America's Most Average Family" to me. Honestly, nothing in the article really stood out to me. I don't exactly hang with people who consciously pinch pennies or live a thrifty life but most everyone I know buys their kids clothes second hand or on the Target clearance rack. No one I know hires out for home repairs, has a fancy new car with a DVD player, or waters their lawn. I thought it was all a part of being regular, ordinary members of the working & middle class. Little did I know that it would qualify people who I don't even THINK of as pinching pennies as "the MOST THRIFTY family in ALL OF AMERICA."
post #15 of 88
I caught the part with the lady who was saving on her electric bill by religiously unplugging everything she wasn't using. Went from $200-something a month to $60-something a month on her electric bill. Tips like that, I can use (hey, DH, your phone is charged, UNPLUG IT)...

Then I got up to get a glass of water and heard "See how this family of 6 makes it on $58,000 a year..." so I unplugged the TV and went back to making cloth diapers $58,000 a year, holy cow, that's a lot of money from where I'm standing, and we aren't doing too bad

And $550 a year on HAIRCUTS?!?! $650 a MONTH on clothes?!?!?!
Yep. I also watched an episode of Oprah once when she went to Wal-Mart for the first time and was blown away that pillows were $15... don't know why that stands out in my mind...
post #16 of 88
Lol... we would be living large if we could spend 650 a month on clothes, man right now we are lucky to hit the goodwill for 6.50 every two months!
post #17 of 88
Thread Starter 
I didn't think it was so awful, it was slightly entertaining. Low on real info though.

The lady doing the unplugging......I don't believe her. I unplug EVERYTHING and since doing that I've seen a marginal drop in my rates- enough to be satisfied with, but not $200. I think that savings must have come from becoming conscious of energy use including heat/ac not just unplugging appliances. The phantom load isn't THAT great. Unless she had like a recording studio or 5 pc's on all the time. I just found her a little less than credible on that since I've actually done the whole unplugging thing. I mean I can't say for sure- it just seems kind of unbelievable.

The family spending money- they made me chuckle. The dad in wonderment over using a debit card? He'd never had one? Huh? What? Buying $650 in clothes each month? Sheesh that'd be nice eh?

I liked the saving money family- yeah they aren't all that radical or thrifty, but they seemed nice enough.

I am just confounded at us as people though, going from a thrifty save save save nation of penny pinchers to this world we now live in. It's crazy.

What generation failed to teach us do ya'll think? Was it after the 50's? The drugs of the 60's fryin brains? The excesses of the 80's intoxicating our minds?

(My mom was raised in the late 50's and 60's and she's super frugal, like scary frugal, but she didn't tell me anything about it. I just knew the answer to everything I asked for was gonna be NO.)
post #18 of 88
I just want to know what the $5.00 a month cell phone plan is!
post #19 of 88
Originally Posted by raingyrl View Post
I just want to know what the $5.00 a month cell phone plan is!
Probably a tracfone used only for emergencies? Or virgin mobile or whatever?

When we had a cell we did it that way, and I don't remember the exact numbers but it was something like you had to recharge at least every 3 months and at least a certain amount, I want to say $20?

I like that Oprah is trying to help us all through these hard times but, yeah, that woman definitely was NOT the 'thriftiest woman in america'. They should get some folks from this forum to really teach people a thing or two.
post #20 of 88
Confession, My DH makes more net (after retirement is taken out and med benefits) and we do not spend $650 a month on clothes. $500 on haircuts??? Nope.

Well I have to catch the 11pm showing of Oprah. Since my mood is sleepy, I seriously doubt I will make it.
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