Over the years, former 19 Kids & Counting stars the Duggar family has had 21 mouths to feed and over 20 acres of property to maintain, so you might think the family would be in a lot of debt. But, the Duggars have the well-known mantra of “Buy used, save the difference,” and it has helped them live a debt-free life. But, it’s not just buying used that has allowed the Duggars to avoid the IOUs. Instead, it’s a total lifestyle that keeps them from owing anyone money.
According to Romper, the reality TV family are always shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, and discount grocery stores, plus they love DIY projects, and cut their own hair. They buy in bulk when they can, pass clothes down to younger siblings, use coupons, stay away from credit cards, and don’t have a cable bill because the Duggar parents don’t allow the kids to watch TV.
The family’s entertainment comes from their trampoline, an indoor playscape, and a pool table. They also mix some learning into their fun time with educational software games and piano and violin lessons.
Jim Bob and Michelle have always driven older cars instead of purchasing new ones, and he says they spend less on clothing than a family of four does. Plus, for seven years, they lived in a 900-square-foot home to save money, so they could pay cash for their second house.
“We went to a financial freedom seminar when we were young,” Michelle said back in 2008. “It was about getting out and staying out of debt.”
The mom-of-19 says that you have to have the right mindset to live debt-free. You can’t go out and buy everything new, but instead shop for used items in pawn shops, thrift stores, and on sites like Craigslist.
Before they started earning royalties from their TV series, the Duggars bought several commercial real estate properties which became their main source of income. Jim Bob rented out a cell phone tower to phone companies, and he turned a 37,000-square-foot chicken hatchery into 10 rental units.
On top of that, the family built a media empire over the past decade that has resulted in Jim Bob and Michelle having a net worth of $3.5 million. Before TLC cancelled 19 Kids & Counting, the couple was bringing in between $25,000 and $40,000 per episode. Now, they manage their multiple businesses while their adult children star on the spinoff, Counting On.
The Duggar family returns in new episodes of Counting On later this summer on TLC.