America's Thriftiest Family (On Oprah Today) - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > America's Thriftiest Family (On Oprah Today)
Porcelain Interior's Avatar Porcelain Interior 05:14 PM 10-08-2008
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.)

llamalluv's Avatar llamalluv 05:28 PM 10-08-2008
Parade article about the Heinz family:

http://www.parade.com/articles/editi...rifty_Families
Jessie D's Avatar Jessie D 05:46 PM 10-08-2008
Quote:
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.
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 05:55 PM 10-08-2008
I'm just so disgusted that they are called one of America's thriftiest families.

Quote:
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.
LoMaH's Avatar LoMaH 06:03 PM 10-08-2008
Hmm
LoMaH's Avatar LoMaH 06:21 PM 10-08-2008
hmm
fek&fuzz's Avatar fek&fuzz 07:01 PM 10-08-2008
And according to the article, they over pay their taxes every year to get a "windfall."
Jessie D's Avatar Jessie D 08:09 PM 10-08-2008
Quote:
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.
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 08:59 PM 10-08-2008
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..
MJ13's Avatar MJ13 09:09 PM 10-08-2008
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?

ugh!
: 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...
UberMama's Avatar UberMama 09:20 PM 10-08-2008
$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.
pitter_patter's Avatar pitter_patter 09:49 PM 10-08-2008
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.
Baby Makes 4's Avatar Baby Makes 4 09:52 PM 10-08-2008
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.
StrawberryFields's Avatar StrawberryFields 10:15 PM 10-08-2008
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."
thixle's Avatar thixle 10:58 PM 10-08-2008
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...
baileyandmikey's Avatar baileyandmikey 11:22 PM 10-08-2008
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!
Porcelain Interior's Avatar Porcelain Interior 12:00 AM 10-09-2008
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.)
raingyrl's Avatar raingyrl 12:15 AM 10-09-2008
I just want to know what the $5.00 a month cell phone plan is!
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 12:22 AM 10-09-2008
Quote:
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.
Amys1st's Avatar Amys1st 12:29 AM 10-09-2008
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.
Lisa85's Avatar Lisa85 12:40 AM 10-09-2008
I don't think it's THAT unpractical to say an average family of 6 would spend $500/year on haircuts. $20 haircut including tax and tip which is actually pretty darn cheap x 6 people x 4 or 5x a year = between $450 and $600.

She did give one recipe for the $4 meal - 1 whole chicken, potatoes, veggies, olive oil, and bbq sauce. Sounds about right if it was on sale.
PaytonPlace's Avatar PaytonPlace 12:49 AM 10-09-2008
Okay so the family that was being helped on the show said their monthly income was $8000, that's $96,000 in net income! Now, the wife said she had recently been laid off so I'm assuming the $8000 is only the husband's income??? Definitely not an average American income.

I missed the first part about the "thriftiest family in America" so I'm not sure what all their tips were.

I know most of these shows don't really cater to the people on this board that already live frugally by nature. However, I think they are helpful to "average" Americans. Americans are so excessively wasteful. It is sad that we have to have shows like this and there are people that really don't know what they are spending money on every month.
hollytheteacher's Avatar hollytheteacher 12:55 AM 10-09-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa85 View Post
I don't think it's THAT unpractical to say an average family of 6 would spend $500/year on haircuts. $20 haircut including tax and tip which is actually pretty darn cheap x 6 people x 4 or 5x a year = between $450 and $600.

She did give one recipe for the $4 meal - 1 whole chicken, potatoes, veggies, olive oil, and bbq sauce. Sounds about right if it was on sale.
huh??? we just bought a whole chicken a few weeks ago and it was almost 20 dollars! Where are you finding four dollar chicken?!
TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 12:57 AM 10-09-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by StrawberryFields View Post
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."
ITA. You said it much better than I.

I do know people who don't shop clearance, wouldn't use coupons, don't care about prices, etc... But, they definately aren't "average" income (they are usually two income, high wage, often no kid households). Living on $58K after taxes a year isn't frugal, it's barely "average" to me.
RoundAbout's Avatar RoundAbout 12:59 AM 10-09-2008
I also didn't think the haircut thing was way out of line.

DH (military) $7x 50 weeks = $350
Me = $30 x 6 times a year = $180

Luckily, my toddler doesn't mind me cutting his hair. I refuse to pay $15 at one of those kidcut places.
enkmom's Avatar enkmom 01:47 AM 10-09-2008
The chicken looked to me to be leg quarters at 49cents/lb. I saw mostly thighs and legs. I did see a big 49cents/lb sign.

I have never seen a $20 chicken. The cheapest I can get whole chicken though is $1.69/lb at the Mennonite butcher.
Girlo's Avatar Girlo 04:25 AM 10-09-2008
OMG!! Whole chickens costing close to $20!!! The cheapest whole chicken around is $1.69/lb!! <<faint>>

I buy whole chickens here when they go on sale for $.58/lb or less (sometimes I get them for $.29/lb). Granted they are non-organic, just plain/regular chickens.....but still. We'd probably never eat chicken again if we had to pay close to $20 for a single, whole chicken. I usually pay around $3.00 (-ish) for a whole chicken when I buy one.

Anyhoo.....to comment on the thriftiest family, I did read the Parade article months ago. They were doing very little different from what I do and what other *thrifty* people I know do in their daily lives. Maybe Oprah should put Amy Daczygen (I know I didn't spell that right......) on her show sometime!
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 08:18 AM 10-09-2008
What? A $20 whole chicken?? They don't even cost that much if you get it rotisserie here! A raw whole chicken is often on sale for around $5 here, and sometimes we can get a rotisserie chicken from the deli for 2.99.
mamamelia's Avatar mamamelia 09:53 AM 10-09-2008
Quote:
She’d love to send the three oldest boys to science camp, “but $500 is $500. I have to think about what we could do with even half that money.”
i don't understand this bit. if my home and car were already paid for and we were bringing in 4800 net a month, you'd bet that i'd send my kids to science camp if they wanted to go even if it cost $500. i don't see not sending them as being frugal, i see it as being tight. sure enough they are trying to pay debt off.. so are we.. but if there was an enriching oppurtunity that my dd's wanted to go to and we could clearly afford it (like this family can), then i'd have no hesitation in sending them and delaying that $500 extra debt payment till the next month.
i don't know.. this just kind of peeved me off about the article. there is a fine line between being frugal and smart with finances and just being plain ole tight.

[putting my flame proof suit on]
aaronsmom's Avatar aaronsmom 10:50 AM 10-09-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa85 View Post
I don't think it's THAT unpractical to say an average family of 6 would spend $500/year on haircuts. $20 haircut including tax and tip which is actually pretty darn cheap x 6 people x 4 or 5x a year = between $450 and $600.

She did give one recipe for the $4 meal - 1 whole chicken, potatoes, veggies, olive oil, and bbq sauce. Sounds about right if it was on sale.
20 dollars a haircut? Are you serious? Sheesh, we spend 7 dollars a haircut for DH but that's only in the winter. In the summer we use clippers at home. Same for DS. DD doesn't have enough hair yet and I just have my mom trim mine.

And there's no way I could get a whole chicken, veggies, olive oil and bbq sauce for four dollars. That would cost me at least 20 dollars here.
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