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The Duggar Family Interview, Part 5: Buy Used, Save the Difference

We hope you enjoyed our interview series with the Duggar family! In Part 4, they discussed how they stay organized and how they let stuff slide. In Part 5, we'll learn their money-saving secrets!

5) "Buy Used, Save the Difference"


"We have a lot of family recipes that save us money, like tater tot casserole and ice cream cake and that kind of stuff. But we also have recipes for homemade laundry soap and homemade wet wipes." --Jim Bob

How do you save money?

Jim Bob Duggar: Back about 18 years ago, we went through Jim Sammon's Financial Freedom Seminar. We advise any family --

Michelle Duggar: -- or young person --

JD: -- to buy this DVD set. It has 20 sessions you go through and it encourages how to get out of debt. It taught us all kinds of things about finances and saving money. From there, once we got out of debt, we were able to save up for seven years and we paid cash for a house. It took us about a year to fix it up and make it livable. From there, we started investing in commercial real estate. As far as money saving tips, we would recommend buying used.

MD: Buy used, save the difference. That's our family motto.

JD: We've never bought a new vehicle. We've always bought used vehicles. We buy them at an auction, wholesale. We can drive them for several years and turn around and get our money back out of them.

MD: We'll get a vehicle that still has a lot of life in it.

JD: We bought our 21-passenger bus on a sealed bid for $2100. They're usually, like, $50,000 if you want to buy a new one.

MD: We get our clothes at thrift shops. You can find really nice name-brand stuff. Our girls love it. They will find tons of stuff.

JD: We have a lot of family recipes that save us money, like tater tot casserole and ice cream cake and that kind of stuff. But we also have recipes for homemade laundry soap and homemade wet wipes. We've saved a lot of money that way.

MD: It costs $2 to make 10 gallons of laundry detergent that will last us 2 months. We spend $1 a month on laundry detergent.

JD: We used to pay, like, $12 for a jug of it.

MD: You can cut corners when you realize that you have a certain amount to work with. The trap when you're in debt and you're using credit a lot, is that you think they sky's the limit. You're in that mind set. But then the payments begin to fall on you, so there really isn't that freedom. That's why they named that seminar "financial freedom" because it really is a freedom when you're not borrowing.

JD: Romans 13:8 says, "Own nothing but love." There are times we've had hospital bills and stuff like that or unexpected expenses that we've had to pay off for a little while.

MD: But our goal is to not go into debt. But then you live within a certain budget and you're much more creative about how you're spending it. You look for a bargain and you learn, "This really wasn't so important" when you look at the price tag. Or you find it used in a thrift shop or a pawn shop.

Do you have a budget for every day things like grocery shopping?

JD: I usually give Michelle a limit so that she can kind of estimate -- each cart costs so much money. A lot of times she can go shopping and get a month's worth of groceries in bulk. Usually someone is running into town every day, five days a week, to get milk or bread or eggs or something like that.

MD: We can't keep fresh fruit. We go through it so quick.

JD: We keep a list on the refrigerator of things to buy and which store to get it from.

MD: Typically, we purchase the things we need for our meals, except for like the sour cream or stuff we have already bought. You can save a lot by buying family packs.

I read that once, your hospital bill didn't exactly add up so you asked for it to be itemized -- and realized you had been charged for 86 bars of soap! Do you pay extra close attention to what you're being charged for?

MD: Yeah, definitely. For hospital bills, phone bills, anything -- ask for everything to be itemized. Especially cell phone bills, they always add extra expenses. They automatically put stuff on. We call them and get them to take it off. You have to keep an eye on every one of those.

Part 1: Finding Me Time
Part 2: Managing Expectations
Part 3: Chore Charts!
Part 4: Organization