10 responses

  1. Four Pillars
    September 29, 2009

    The one part that bothers me is one of their few splurges is for professional hair styling for the mother.

    I suspect that ‘hair styling’ really means getting her hair dyed which is in a different category. 🙂

    I’m always skeptical of this kind of story since it’s impossible to prove they did or didn’t earn/spend $x. Kind of like the Derek Foster story.


  2. Mr. Cheap
    September 29, 2009

    Well, they’re certainly selling a product, so they have an incentive to make it look like they’re living as cheap as possible. I get the feeling they’re being pretty sincere though…


  3. The Rat
    September 29, 2009

    Interesting post; feeding a family of 7 on $350 /month of groceries must translate into an assload of hot dog wieners, kraft dinner, cans of beans, and items in discount bins. Whatever the course of action, you got to admire the thriftiness. Paying off a mortgage in 9 years on a 35K salary would be considered a miracle by some.

    Alan Cory, author of “Million Bucks by 30” also gives some funny stories of living on the cheap on his road to success. I did a book review on one of my earlier posts last year in case you may be interested.

    P.S. Four Pillars, glad to see you’re still blogging away. Site is looking good. I had a hiatus for a while but The Rat is back.


  4. Mike
    September 29, 2009

    Thanks for the compliment Rat.

    Yah, I would have added “roadkill” to your food list as well….I don’t even want to know what they ate. 🙂


  5. Hazy
    September 29, 2009

    I fail to see what the big deal is with this.
    The way I was raised,this sounds very ordinary to me.
    We didn’t have much money and we had to make do with what we had.

    These people were making 35k/yr back in the 80’s,
    not exactly a poor man’s wage at the time.
    I was making 4 bucks/hr when I started working in the early 80’s.


  6. The Rat
    September 30, 2009

    Hazy, I think you’re missing the point. While Mike and I seem to admire how this family lived, the vast majority of the population out there do not save their money these days as they should. A lot of consumers have a boat load of debt and credit cards maxed out.

    If you want to get into details, I grew up on wild meat for a large part of my childhood up until the end of my high school days and i’m very proud of the fact that my father raised a whole family on one salary, and it was definitely considerably less than 35k a year. But does that mean I should live the same way now if I can finally afford to live a bit more comfortably? All I’m trying to convey is that you don’t hear these stories these days and unless you grow up on a farm, its gonna be hard to feed a family of 7 on nutritious food with that kind of income. Most healthy food these days, like fresh produce can be fairly expensive depending where you live – a pack of wieners can go the distance and doesn’t spoil fast, neither do KD and canned items. I think its an admirable story and its just that there probably weren’t a lot of options in terms of living a little more comfortably. There’s nothing wrong with it, we’re just observing.


  7. Hazy
    September 30, 2009

    I think it is good that this people live within their means.
    I just don’t think it is special enough to get them on national TV.
    But perhaps it is a sign of the times.

    I am a little bothered that they would be quoting their income from 25 years ago.
    Considering inflation,you can pretty much double the value of that income.


  8. The Digerati Life
    September 30, 2009

    Thanks for spotlighting this family. They’ve been an inspiration to me for a while now! Interesting comments on the possible income inflation. Well, I take away the big message from this family, which is — we all can live below our means with a few adjustments.


  9. John DeFlumeri Jr
    September 30, 2009

    They did it, they are unique. They are in good health from eating lean I bet.


  10. K Long
    November 7, 2011

    I am the daughter, and to clarify a few things:

    I’ve never owned a pickup truck. Not sure where that came from.

    More importantly – my mother never went for a professional hair cut in all the years we lived this lifestyle. She cut her own hair just as she cut it for the rest of us. And to this day I’m certain that hair dye has never come anywhere near her head.

    Oh, and trust me – the story is sincere. We were dirt poor. And it had an effect on us, at least myself – being the girl. But it certainly developed a sense of character, thick skin and infallible resiliency.

    We didn’t eat KD, weiners and beans though – again I’m fairly certain my mother has never eaten KD, much less served it. We grew everything – I was raised on chickens, rabbits, goat and pig. With the occasional experimental raccoon, groundhog, pigeon etc. thrown in – but thankfully, not usually repeated.


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