Lavish on budget: Family escape financial ruin after mum transforms into extreme cheapskate – becomes web celeb
A family who fell into financial ruin were able to turn their lives around – after becoming extreme cheapskates.
Jordan and Bubba Page were left penniless after a housing project fell through and they were unable to get their money back.
The couple turned to credit cards to survive as they failed to adjust, racking up thousands in debt on just a low income.
So Jordan from Draper in Utah, USA, forced herself to become ultra-frugal – cutting back on everything.
In one year she was able to pay off $15,000 (£10,000) in credit card debt by doing everything from watering down juice so it lasted longer to rationing food.
But despite their improving finances they continued the frugal lifestyle – scouring the web for money-back offers and smart purchases.
Instead of big family holidays Jordan will visit friends so they can stay for free and she is even happy to take food from neighbours when they go away rather than it going to waste.
They have a giant haul of free and bargain items in their $1million (£660k) house – which they claim as their biggest bargain after buying for a cut-price $400k.
In an effort to further reduce the house price they even sold the BASEMENT to her parents to use as a holiday home.
Now the mum-of-four is aiming to redefine frugal – showing people they don’t have to spend big to enjoy life.
She is the creator of www.funcheaporfree.com where half a MILLION people read her money-saving tips.
Thousands of people follow Jordan on social media, attend her money-saving boot camps and she has even signed a book deal.
She said: “Being frugal is not about giving up everything you love but learning to get everything you love the smart way.
“It began when we emptied our bank accounts and qualified for a loan far larger than we should have to build a house.
“There were issues and we ended up not buying it but couldn’t get any of our money back.
“At the same time my husband quit his salaried job to start a business which pushed us from two full-time incomes to one.
“We also started a family and I became a stay-at-home-mum which brought us from one full-time income to only a sporadic, entrepreneur’s income which is inconsistent.
“We had to live off of credit cards because we didn’t know how to shift financially quick enough.
“We had over $10,000 on just one credit card alone, no savings and hardly an income.
“So becoming ultra-frugal was a necessity – we cut back on just about everything and it worked.
“In one year of only making $32,000 (£21,000) we paid off all our debt – except our mortgage – which was about $15K just on credit cards.
“We cut back on our spending but by being so extremely frugal we didn’t have to lose out on much in life.
“We found ways to eat out for free or cheap, enjoyed discounted movies, free events, we won contests and got free stuff, we learned we could live on very little.
“But our house is the biggest bargain. It’s a 5,200 square foot colonial dream home in a multi-million dollar neighbourhood.
“The owners before us bought it for nearly $1million. It eventually became a short-sale and we were patient.
“It took 12 months of fighting through various issues but we finally got it for $400,000 – we then sold the basement apartment to my parents who were looking for a holiday home.
“Our mortgage is now only $225,000, roughly $1,300 per month which is less than we paid for our two-bedroom town home in a dumpy neighbourhood as newlyweds.
“The weirdest thing I got us a 15ft professional bouncy castle for free which lives in our house – it’s huge.
“I love proving my sprawling fashionable wardrobe, the good food we eat, the beautiful home we live in and fun things we do as a family are because of how frugal we are, not in spite of it.
“My blog is all about sharing our personal experiences and showing how we’ve broken the ‘frugal mould’.
“By living the way we do we spend roughly half of what other people spend – between groceries, car expenses, mortgage, and clothing and shopping.”
Jordan admits she has always been frugal – thanks to her mum who taught her to get excited about finding a deal.
As a child she would even go door-to-door picking flowers from neighbours’ yards and selling the bouquets back to them.
She added: “Buying something on sale, the joy of finding second-hand items and stretching money – mum taught me everything.
“I was considered the cheap one of my friends in college because I’d pack food rather than buy lunch every day.
“But it wasn’t until our financial disaster I learned what it really meant to be frugal.”
Jordan acknowledges many people turn their noses up at her perceived ‘cheap’ methods of living.
But she is able to enjoy everything other people do albeit with a slight twist.
She said: “The greatest compliment is when I go to a business event or a blogging conference and people ask if I’m a fashion blogger.
“When I reply ‘no, I’m a frugal living blogger’ the stunned look on their face is priceless.
“It’s one thing to preach about it, it’s another to show it first-hand.
“All someone needs to do is read my blog for 5 minutes to see that it’s not only possible, but it’s a preferred, even desired lifestyle.
“I’ve become an everyday finance expert, a successful professional blogger and just signed my first book deal.
“I have been featured on local and national TV and have travelled around the country teaching and speaking.
“I see a lot of success stories from sharing my tips.
“Recently someone who attended my Frugality Boot Camp annual conference was on the brink of financial ruin.
“She and her husband now live in a great apartment paying $300 less than their last, dilapidated place.
“They are building up savings and now know how to afford basics for their family – with five kids – they ‘couldn’t afford’ before so her life has completely changed around.”
Jordan’s next big money-saving conference is this weekend called MECCA: Making Every Cent Come Alive.
She added: “People can come and learn everything they need to know about frugal living and saving money in a fun, energised way.”