The Duggar family, stars of TLC’s hit reality show 19 Kids and Counting, have long touted their debt-free status.
But, with 19 kids (and counting?) how do they really make ends meet? As Shine from Yahoo reports, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, it costs nearly $250,000.00 to raise a kid these days – and that’s before college tuition!
Multiply that by 19 and that’s what Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are dealing with. Sure they make the big bucks from being on television, but the family lived comfortably debt-free before reality TV stardom came… But still, you want to know how much they make from TLC, don’t you?
Let’s take a look at how the Duggars make it work.
E!Online estimates each episode of 19 Kids and Counting makes the family $25,000 to $40,000. But that’s not the only money coming in. Jim Bob and Michelle married when he was 19 and she was just 17. They started selling used cars Jim Bob repaired on his own. Then, as Shine reports, they started a towing business they sold for a profit years later. In 1994 they began their real estate career. The first big score was converting an old chicken hatchery into commercial rental units. Not bad for a couple who never went to college and married in their teens, eh? Another clever move? Leasing land to a cell phone company for its transmission tower.
But it isn’t just bringing money in that keeps the family debt-free, it’s living frugally that really helps them save their dollars. A few things they do to live within their means:
Buy everything used: As I originally reported in 20 Facts About How The Duggars Run a Household With So Many Kids, the Duggars have never owned a new car. Michelle also shops at garage sales and thrift stores for the kids clothes.
Pay In Cash: The Duggars borrowed to purchase their first small home in which they raised five children. It took them seven years of saving, but they bought their 2,000-square-foot second house, which they were living in with 17 kids when their reality show began, outright for $65,000. Their current house sits on 20 acres and is 7,000 square feet. The family divides itself over four bedrooms and shares one super-sized family closet.
Make What You Can at Home: According to Shine, the Duggars make their own laundry soap costing about $2 for 10 gallons which pays off as Michelle says they do 35-40 loads of laundry a week. (Click here to see their recipe for laundry soap.) They make their own bread and they also make their own baby wipes. (Click here to see how to make baby wipes.)
DIY - The Duggars give each other haircuts to cut down on hairdresser expenditures.
For more on what the Duggars do to stay financially fit click on over to Shine from Yahoo.
Photo Credit: Duggarfamily.com