Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cheaper by the Duggars

Have you seen it? The new show on TLC that tops Jon & Kate Plus 8. It's 17 Kids and Counting, a look at the Duggar family, a very conservatively Christian family with 17 kids and one on the way.

I have to admit, they are the strangest family ever, complete with extreme morals (no kissing before marriage!), abnormally positive attitudes, long jean skirts and bad perms. BUT an episode that aired on October 20th completely changed my opinion of them - they are probably one of the most financially sound families in all of America. They feed, clothe and house 18 people while maintaining absolutely NO debt (that includes mortgages, car payments, etc). THAT is impressive, people.

If you have a tivo, I suggest tivoing the episode rerun asap (Cheaper by the Duggars, 17 Kids and Counting on TLC). They have some of the best tips for stretching the dollar. I'm going to share the ones that I remember and relate it to modern day living:

Duggar's Tip: Buy clothes and shoes used at a thrift store.
Bryn's Tip: Buy clothes and shoes used at a thrift store.

Okay so it may be the same tip - but I wouldn't suggest buying ALL clothing used. There are, however, some staple items that are great to find at thrift stores:

- Button down shirts (women's or mens)
- Belts
- Vintage boots
- 50's-80's style pumps
- Jeans (if you are lucky!)
- Dresses (if you are lucky!)

If you don't have a thrift store near you, eBay is another great alternative. Doing a quick search just now, I found these items:

Duggar's Tip: Make your own laundry detergent.
Bryn's Tip: Double uses for everyday toiletry items.

The Duggars have a great recipe for their own detergent; you'll have to catch the show to get it. However another economical tip is to double up your everyday item usage:

- Use your hair conditioner as shaving cream
- Share a razor with your husband (if he isn't grossed out about it)
- Wash your hair every other day
- Buy a big tub of Vaseline and use it for both lip balm and hand cream (it works wonders for dry hands!)

Duggar's Tip: Grow your own vegetables.
Bryn's Tip: Shop Ethnic markets for your produce.

I'd really love to be able to grow my own veggies, but to be honest - I have a better talent at killing plants than growing them. But I do shop the local Korean market to buy all my produce. They often have sales 2 lbs for 99 cent sales - you read that right! They practically give away their produce.

I hope you find these tips useful, and also thank you so much for the great posts you left in my previous post. I'm thinking about drawing three, maybe four names now since the turnout was so great. A reminder - the contest will be open until Friday night!


  1. I saw that episode and I was amazed as well that they don't have debt!

  2. YAYAYA! I love this post! Thanks for the great tips.

  3. I have seen these people on the news before and I am always amazed at how happy that mother is. I'm sorry you cannot be that calm and happy with 18 children. I want whatever drugs that woman is on :)

  4. I love that show too! It's one of my guilty pleasures...I loved all their great tips, and yours too. Thanks for the always interesting posts.

  5. This family is so odd to me. May be because it is so hard for me to relate to them (being that I don't have 18 kids, and my parents thought it was "adorable" when I excitedly told them about my first kiss at a school dance at 15).

    They remind me of the cult like evangelist in the documentary "Jesus Camp" (which you should watch if you haven't seen it yet). I have many friends and in-laws who are Christian and do not have such an alternative (almost Amish-like)lifestyle, so the whole thing is just weird to me.

    I am happy for them that they are debt free currently, but what will happen when they have to send so many children to college at the same time?? Could you imagine?

  6. I find the Duggars refreshing. As a Christian myself, I appreciate the values they have. Obviously, not every Christian family is that extreme! Anyone, regardless of their views, can appreciate that they are wise, especially in their financial management. Thanks for pointing this out!

  7. Just saw this last night -- I've been "obsessed" with this family ever since I first saw one of their "specials" -- they're fascinating. (I actually blogged about it here). I have to hand it to them, they're kids are super well-behaved. My husband even commented about how Michelle talks to the kids about her expectations of their behavior before they go somewhere (like the thrift store.) Gotta hand it to her, there's a lot to admire with her methods.

    They're a little too conservative for our tastes, but we do love watching the show!

  8. and that should be "their" not "they're kids." Duh -- sorry!

  9. Sorry, that family gives me the creeps. It seems to me that they use the older children as personal house slaves and tiny mothers to the youngest ones. As if making the kids wear those outfits weren't enough!

    Now Jon & Kate plus 8 are a totally different story. I love them.

  10. I find their ability to be frugal fascinating, but being legally declared "a church" (yes, the family is, because they're big enough) and getting off without paying taxes must help some.


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