I don’t know about you, but every time I look at the Duggar family of 19 Kids & Counting, my mind absolutely reels at the thought of all the shopping that goes into keeping such a huge household supplied with even the basic necessities. Just stocking up on food staples like milk and bread must fill up five shopping carts.
Not surprisingly, saving money is high on the list of the family’s priorities. In her blog this week for TLC, mother Michelle explains how she, husband Jim Bob and their kids live thriftily yet well.
Their primary rule: Don’t buy new when used will do. You won’t find the Duggars in line at the mall; instead, they do most of their shopping in thrift stores, pawn shops and the like. They’ve gotten good deals on furnishings by going to yard sales and furniture auctions. “We try to get bargains on everything,” says Michelle. “We even buy our cars used because there is such a high depreciation on them.”
The lesson hasn’t been lost on oldest son Josh, who’s married and has two children of his own. His wife, Anna, just bought a backyard swing set on Craigslist for only $25. But the younger Duggars are following their parents’ example, too.
When the children want a particular treat for themselves, “I tell them to pray about it and then go shop for it, because, honestly, God provides in amazing ways,” says Michelle. A little patience can often pay off: If the item they want is too expensive or not available in their size, they hold off until there’s a sale or until the store restocks.
And if the Lord doesn’t provide right away, there’s a chance Mom and Dad will. “Jim Bob and I tell them that if they’ve saved up their money and they’ve worked for it, we’ll help a little for something special.” The child pays half of the cost, and Jim Bob and Michelle pitch in with the rest.
This penny-wise attitude has allowed them to maintain the debt-free lifestyle of which they’re rightly proud. But there is one exception to their “buy used” rule…the Duggars do buy all-new underwear and socks, usually in economy-size packs at the discount store. (Whew.)
What do you think? Do you go to garage sales more often than to Macy’s sales? And how much would you absolutely love to see the Duggars meeting the Pawn Stars family?!
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