A frugal couple with nine children who own a home in upstate New York, have no debt and spend just $364 a month, say they’re coping with the country’s record high inflation by doing what they’ve always done has: no money to spend.
The Shillito family of Burnt Hill, New York, grows fruits and vegetables in their garden and their grocery shopping is limited to buying bulk, discounted items, and shopping directly from restaurant supply stores.
Americans have begun to change their spending habits as inflation hits pockets hard and economists warn a recession is inevitable.
But frugal families like Art and Janelle Shillito, who have nine children ranging in age from 2 months to 19 years, say they have a few tactics that could help Americans save some money.
“It doesn’t affect us that much because we shop,” Art Shillito told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the way they save money isn’t always easy, which not everyone likes.
“People find what we do interesting, but when they find out how complicated it is, they’re not interested. They want some simple solutions.”
The Shillito family of Burnt Hill, New York grows fruits and vegetables in their garden and their purchases are limited to buying in bulk and buying directly from restaurant supply stores
The Shillito family has shared their tactics on a blog and the Parsnips and Parsimony YouTube channel for years
The New York couple told WSJ they’ve spent an average of $364.74 a month this year to support their family of 11. That amount is below last year’s monthly average of $500.
As high inflation hits Americans’ pockets even harder, the average American is more interested in how extreme money-saving measures can help, as more than 80 percent of consumers plan to cut back on spending, the WSJ reported.
The Shillito family has shared their tactics for years on a blog and YouTube channel called Parsnips and Parsimony.
The channel documents food shipments, gardening tips and DIY projects.
Some of their secrets are: checking wholesalers for heavily discounted “distressed” groceries with damaged packaging; establish consumption-free months in which they refrain from buying non-essentials; and examining one or two expense categories to see where they can cut costs.
Art Shillito recently repaired the roof of the family home himself, spending only $1,065.34, which is significantly less than the $7,356.08 estimate they received for someone else.
Art Shillito recently repaired the roof of the family home himself, spending only $1,065.34, which is significantly less than the $7,356.08 estimate they received for someone else
The New York couple told WSJ they’ve spent an average of $364.74 a month this year to support their family of 11. That amount is below last year’s monthly average of $500
The breakdown included shingles/nails $666.81, capping/drip edge $124.20, elevator rental $200, garbage disposal $124.20, nail gun/air compressor $0 (borrowed). They saved $6,290.74 according to their blog.
According to figures from the Department of Labor, food prices rose by 11.9 percent in May compared to the same month last year.
The Shillitos noted that a gallon of milk, which now costs them $3.89, is up 8 percent since January, when they paid $3.59.
They didn’t want to cut back on the milk drink, so they save money by running a milk club at a local dairy that gives them a half gallon of milk for free after they buy five gallons.
The family also has 38 chickens, which provide them with eggs, another commodity that has risen in price.
Janelle points out the fresh produce growing in the family’s backyard in upstate New York
The Shillito family grows fruit and vegetables in their garden, which saves them money
The family has a YouTube channel documenting grocery hauls, gardening tips, and DIY projects — including creating a compost pile
“Frugality is definitely in fashion right now,” Amanda L. Grossman, a board-certified financial education instructor in El Paso, Texas, told the WSJ. “But be frugal in good times and bad. That’s how you get ahead.’
The data shows that many large purchases have scaled back, with flight bookings plummeting 2.3 percent and car sales falling 4 percent.
Citizens have cited rising costs, likely fueled by the country’s skyrocketing inflation rate, as reason to scale back vacations, restaurants and routine services like haircuts, manicures and house cleaning.
Economist Larry Summers, who served as US Treasury Secretary under Barack Obama, has also warned that “by the end of next year we will see a recession in the American economy.”
He argued that President Joe Biden’s administration must take action to “reduce inflation” and “give some relief” to American consumers.
Although consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the US economy, remained strong in April, analysts expect the buying craze to be ending.
Retail sales slowed last month for the first time in 2022. Most notable was the 4 percent drop in auto sales.
Credit card spending analyzed by Barclays shows that both high- and low-income Americans have begun to withdraw from routine spending, particularly on services.
“Throughout 2022, the narrative was that as COVID abated, households would increase spending on services,” Barclays analysts told The Boston Globe. “And indeed, that narrative has been true for much of this year. But . . . Spending on services appears to be decelerating significantly.’
Spending on travel and restaurants, which had grown more than 30 percent since 2021, has now slowed to half that pace, the analysts said.
The high rate of inflation has led to increased prices for groceries, gasoline and housing – areas that concern most Americans
Businesses across the country have also reported a drop in customer spending.
A Virginia salon said clients who used to come every four weeks now go up to 12 weeks between appointments.
Other clients opt for less expensive services, such as partial hair treatments or highlights, rather than all-over coloring.
The salon said overall sales fell about 20 percent from a year earlier, and tips fell from 20 percent to 10 percent.
Meanwhile, economist Larry Summers warned of an impending recession.
“You see, nothing is certain and all economic forecasts are uncertain. My best guess is that a recession is coming,” he told Meet the Press on Sunday.
“My rationale is that we’ve never had a situation like this, with inflation above 4 percent and unemployment above 4 percent, without being followed by a recession within a year or two.
“And so I think the Fed will hike rates enough to push the economy into recession to do what is necessary to stop inflation.”
The former US Treasury Secretary said there was “no historical precedent for inflation at the levels we have now” but argued that “all precedents point to a recession”.
“If you look at a whole range of indicators, if you look at what’s been happening in the markets, if you look at relative interest rate levels at different maturities, if you look at surveys of consumer expectations, and if you look at the simple fact Since supply and demand drive inflation, supply doesn’t change as quickly. So what you need to do to reduce inflation is primarily to reduce demand. And this is a very difficult process to control. And so that usually leads to a recession,” he explained.
“All of this tells me that although I would not expect to be able to judge the timing, the prevailing probability is that we will see a recession in the American economy by the end of next year.”