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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Duggar Economics

According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will spend over $4 million raising their children from birth to age eighteen. Although they make an estimated $25,000-$40,000 per episode, the Duggars were self-sufficient years before being "discovered" by Discovery.

After working through Jim Sammon's Financial Freedom Seminar, Jim Bob and Michelle purposed to get out of debt, and they continue to live out their thrifty principles to this day. You have probably heard their "Buy Used and Save the Difference" motto. From ride-on lawnmowers to kitchen appliances--and everything in between--the Duggars are always on the lookout for bargains. Did you know that they have never purchased a new vehicle? The family currently owns two cars, one van, a 45-foot bus, and a fleet of five Suburbans. And you guessed it, no car payments. 

When offered a weekly reality TV show on TLC, the family of nineteen was living debt-free in their 7,000 square-foot home. Their sole income was earned by buying and selling commercial real estate.

To read more about how the Duggars stay financially fit, check out Sarah Weir's article on Yahoo! (Thanks, Sandy!)

47 Comments (Click Here to Add Yours):

Anonymous said...

You're welcome Lily and Ellie. I am always on the lookout for articles about the Duggars.

Sandy

Mother of 3 said...

When will the show start coming on again?

Mother of 3 said...

When will the show start back up ?

Jenny said...

Did I read that correctly as to how much they make per episode!? Does that mean the season or just each and every show they make that much money! That is a lot of money if its each and every show. Also, they must be very humble people to continue their thrift store shopping and whatnot. But do they do that because they still need to?

Jenny said...

The Duggars have done so well. Much hard work over the years has really paid off for them. Their witness for Christ has been amazing.

The only thing I think that would help them is if they did more freezer cooking. By getting more freezers and stocking the freezers with good finds at local farmers markets or cheaper discount food stores they would be able to save fresh veggies in the freezers and what not.... But then again I don't know how it is to run such a large family.

Lisa said...

I would like to learn more of these principles, because we struggle to raise and homeschool our 4 children on my husband's salary. The Duggars are now very wealthy, but I would love to read/learn more about when they weren't and how we can become more self-sufficient and debt-free. They now make more in 2 episodes than my husband makes in a year!

Jenifer Harrod said...

I have just finished reading your books from a friend and it was a breath of fresh air to this Mom of seven. It was so nice to see your perspective on paper and to see how you have made things work with the Lord's help. I have tried to put some of the principles in your book to work for us like the storing toys and how to put things out of sight. Plus some of the other tips. Thanks, I wish I could have kept the books:(

pretty girl said...

so if they really save the difference then they must have tons of money in the bank. also why dont the duggars have a garden or raise cows so they could have meat and veggies. they have a big land. also the duggars had help from tlc to build that house some fancy new york desingers came one time and help finsh their house.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know if they put a portion of their earnings from the TV shows into each of their children's bank accounts and how they work that out. But I wouldn't like anyone asking me that question so I would never ask them!

Ginger said...

We're currently working on paying down our mortgage, but it is such a huge blessing just not having car payments. I was raised understanding the money you throw away by buying a brand new car, so I've never had any desire to. That in itself was a huge blessing, even though neither of our parents taught us the value of living without debt.

katiesniche said...

I've been through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, so I'm sure that's much like the one they always refer too. It's great to strive to be debt free.

I do wonder about the whole "buy used and save the difference". Does that mean that if something cost $100 new but they buy it used at $45, do they put $55 into savings?? Or is it just that they saved on the deal??

I would think it's $25-40k per episode, some shows make so much more then that, so I'm not surprised, but I've been curious as to how much they made on the show.

I don't think they need to put it into savings accounts for their kids specifically. I think if they see them through college and help them get started in life...as I'm sure they did with Josh so far, that's great. But, I don't know if the kids would keep the same principles if they were handed a huge sum of money upon their 21st birthday.

Savannah said...

wow...they make about as much per episode as we make in a year...glad that they bless others with what they have :)

Lily and Ellie said...

@Mother of 3

Hi Mother of 3,

TLC has not yet announced the start date of the new season, but we will post it when they do.

Thanks for reading!
Lily and Ellie

Anonymous said...

I hate to disagree, but TLC paid for huge portions of the Duggars furnishings. TLC paid for the expensive blinds -- you can watch it on an episode. TLC paid for a lot of the kitchen. This is aside from what the Duggars earned per episode. I agree the Duggars are frugal (not as frugal as they used to be when they had no choice), but please don't let people believe that TLC did not pay for a lot of the furnishings and appliances in the Duggars' household and that TLC does not pay for some trips--because they do. To not reveal this is sort of like lying to your bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Lily and Ellie: Other than what the Duggars make from TLC per episode, are you able to tell us how much "extra" they receive such as the episode where TLC installed the expensive blinds for better lighting? Did TLC pay for any of the kitchen equipment, etc. in addition to the "per episode" money for the house? Thanks.

pega127 said...

Sarah's article has one mistake in it (I think). She states the Duggers were living debt-free in their 7,000s.f. home when TLC began televising them. That's not correct; TLC was filming them as they were building it!

Anonymous said...

I love watching the Duggars but I can't help but think that it's a bit hypocritical to be talking about debt-free living while bringing in $25,000-$40,000 per episode, and then calling it their "ministry". I wonder if they would be so enthusiastic about having their own show and spreading their message about Christianity...for free?

Lily and Ellie said...

@pega127

Hi pega127,

Our post says the following: "When offered a weekly reality TV show on TLC, the family of nineteen was living debt-free in their 7,000 square-foot home." The Duggars were already settled into their new home when the first episode of "17 Kids and Counting" was filmed.

Hope that answers your question. The post that we wrote uses facts from Sarah Weir's article but also includes other information.

Lily and Ellie

Lily and Ellie said...

@Anonymous

The Duggars moved into their new home during "16 Children and Moving In," which aired in early 2006. The house took almost four years to build, which means that they were already committed to building the house (debt-free) before TLC approached them about filming their first documentary (aired in September 2004).

Where in our post do we state that TLC did not pay for any of the Duggars' household items? That was not the subject of the post. Can you list, with certainty, each of the household items that TLC paid for, how much they cost, and the terms upon which they were provided?

Lily and Ellie

Janice said...

@Anonymous

Why does everyone think that Christians should be poor? The Duggars are living a good, Christian life and are blessed by God. What is wrong with that? If you stop the jealousy and put God fist in your life, like the Duggars have, you will also be blessed. Blessed does not only mean financially; it means a whole life with nothing missing, nothing broken. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain.

Charity said...

well said "Janice" God only promises us spiritual healing thru his Son Jesus Christ and nothing more.....Having a right relationship with Him is whats most important in this life and if we seek that everything else will work out for our good and his glory! :)

Anonymous said...

I am certain that they give a good portion of that money away. They know that in the end all of what they have is God's..They are doing this show to spread the word of God and only that. ~Mary Beth

ycfan said...

The Duggars obviously have money at this point with the earnings PER EPISODE they make! And, as part of the first early special about their house, they did get a professional designer, some furnishings, piano, and food to stock the pantry for the big reveal paid for them (I believe Jim Bob & Michelle talked about this in one of their interviews) HOWEVER,
something the article mentions, and what I hold in high regard, is the fact that they have been debt-free and lived thrifty as a family with all those kids on their own Before TLC came along. And what I also respect is they do still look for bargains at thrift stores, etc. even though the big money keeps rolling in. If the girls (or guys) want to walk into a mall and buy something new off the rack, so be it!-In the past, they've bought their clothes second-hand, and even made them. But just because they're rich, I still see them as genuinely wanting to keep sticking to their original principles.

ycfan said...

Add to my post-SOME food was given to them for the pantry reveal, and I believe it was Campbells that helped out, since there was a lot of their soups and other products of theirs (V8, Pepperidge Farm, etc.) But most of the food was The Duggar's own as well.

Andrea said...

"I am certain that they give a good portion of that money away" from Mary Beth. Sorry, Mary Beth but what makes you think that? We’ve witnessed on television the Duggar’s volunteering their time, but I’ve never seen mention of them donating financial.

Also, to "Why does everyone think that Christians should be poor?" I don't think anyone thinks that. I think the issue with the Duggar's is they claim to be a frugal family yet splash out on expensive iPhones and holidays. These are luxuries that the average family cannot afford. Secondly, I think as Christians we are commanded to give monetarily to causes, which we’ve never seen the Duggar’s actually do. This would mean write cheques to a homeless shelter, a women’s shelters, a school, or any of the other thousands of charities that exist in the United States.

I also have to disagree with your statement about " The Duggars are living a good, Christian life and are blessed by God." I've seen Jim Bob act in some very un-Christian ways. I namely think of the bargaining techniques he employs with purchases, etc. Obviously, we don’t know if the adult children are getting paid to appear on the show, but frankly if they are not it again would be an example of Jim Bob and Michelle’s un-Christian like behaviour. Anyone working on a television program earning $25K an episode should be paid. He's a businessman, first and foremost and you would be foolish to think otherwise.

To Lisa and her comment: “I would like to learn more of these principles, because we struggle to raise and homeschool our 4 children on my husband's salary.” Please know that the Duggar’s are not self-made, other than this television program, which is actually profiting off of the cuteness factor of their children. Jim Bob came from money. He’s father had a number of real estate investments before Jim Bob. Good luck with your four children. I'm sure you're a lovely family!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous

Yes, I believe they would still be enthusiastic about it---even to do it for "free".

~MW

Morgan said...

@Andrea

Andrea,

The Duggars give generously. A couple years ago, they gave one of their vans to a missionary family. And most recently, they got behind Rick Santorum because they believe in his values. Driving a 45-foot bus around the country is not free. Encouraging people to take control of their destiny and vote is not small feat. What about all of their mission trips to El Salvador, bringing toys and clothing to the kids there? As for writing checks, most people would not make their donations while the cameras are rolling.

There is nothing wrong with bargaining. Many stores welcome it.

Jim Bob did not "come from money." His family struggled to make ends meet and even had their house foreclosed on but, by faith, made it through.

If you do the math you will find that the money the Duggars make from the show is enough to raise their kids, with a little bit leftover. It is not enough to set them up for the rest of their lives, hence the fact that Jim Bob still has his real estate business.

Jenny said...

I respect the Duggars very much because they lead a godly and right life. Contrast their lifestyle, morals, and character to that of other Hollywood (or documentary) families - there is no comparison.

I would watch them and cheer them on if they were dirt poor or rich beyond means - their money doesn’t matter, its their character that really shines bright.

ycfan said...

I have to agree, the Duggars aren't quite as rich as one might think. They pay $3,000 on groceries a month alone. And, I think Jim Bob said Michelle's emergency helicopter transport with Josie was $30,000 (insurance doesn't cover) Of course, they don't have a mortgage or car payments, but there are probably a lot of other expenses related to being famous we don't know about, like insurance, legal, etc. Don't get me wrong, IMO I'm sure they've got plenty-for now anyway. In a couple years though, the excitement of the Duggars might have run its course, the fame will be dried up, and they'll be glad they banked that money, especially since they'll still have 10 kids left to raise and provide for.

Anonymous said...

Do the Duggars pay for the trips to El Salavdor or does TLC pay for them? When the Duggars are shown traveling to various destinations, do the Duggars pay for those trips or does TLC pay for them?

blmcd said...

Goodness, some of these comments seem very mean spirited! We're all fans of the show after all :)

Andrea said...

Michelle uses always the same clothes, so I suppose they are still living a normal life, without vanity (despite all the money that they receive). If they take good care of the money (saving, making investiments, etc), I think they will be able to raise their children without problems. They are very good people and I think they deserve that!

Franicia White said...

Whether she is rich or poor, I love Michelle Duggar's heart and her spirit. :-). She exudes many things I aspire to be as I mature in my Christian walk as a wife and mother.

I feel so blessed that Michelle and Jim Bob have dedicated some of their precious time to be featured on episodes and to write helpful books. Our family has been abundantly blessed with these materials and their sweet precious examples.

Not only have we gone through Financial Freedom because of their recommendation, but have also been introduced to another sweet like-minded family such as Gil and Kelly Bates. From the little contact I've had with Kelly over the past half year, it is easy to see why her genuine love and life is a painting of rare beauty.

They are sinners yes but saved by God's grace and are all such beautiful people. We teach our precious children that they are beautiful because of their hearts, no matter what their physical appearances are like.

We pray that we may meet and have fellowship with these sweet families and other like-minded ones in the future who use their mouths to build and encourage others in the faith, who have a deep love for people especially children, and whose lives are committed to honor the Lord according to His Holy Word.

May the Lord continue to bless them richly,
Franicia White

Anonymous said...

Don't the Duggars still have the jitney bus-at one time they had a red one? Why do they need a fleet of Suburbans? Not like anyone other than John needs a vehicle to go to college or work. And what about the car insurance on all those vehicles. What kind of deal is Jim Bob getting? He is probably getting good deals on his vehicles because he probably kept his licence to sell cars uptodate and buys all his cars at auctions.I do not think he has even bought a vehicle from Josh. Is that true that the first bus he bought from the hockey team he only paid $2000.00 or was that a typo?

Anonymous said...

As a christian,i know for a fact that u will probly never c them saying or giving money in front of cameras,cuz if they go by the bible as they obviously do,it says" let not the rite hand see what the left hand doeth",in other words u arent supposed to tell people how much money u give,as its not rite to take the glory an recognition of giving money,that is between urself and God

Anonymous said...

@Morgan
Actually after working for several different retailers of different kinds of products, I can tell you that they don't like nor welcome bargaining. In fact it is found to be annoying and rude because usually the person you are trying to bargain with has no control over what you pay for the product. If the Duggar family has to bargain for something and can't pay full price for it then maybe they shouldn't be buying it. Also they may be Christians, but being a Christian doesn't make them better than anyone else nor hold them to a higher standard than anyone else. So who cares what they do with their money! The only thing I think is bad that they are so used to the money and seem to be scared of losing the source of income that they continue to have children at the risk of the mother's and child's health. At a certain point Michelle and Jim Bob knew that continuing to have children was a danger. I am also from a very large family and my parents who are only slightly older than the Michelle and Jim Bob aren't still trying to have children because they know the risks! My parents even believe in sex for procreation not recreation. That obviously means they gave up sex because they also don't believe in any form of contraceptives. I could go on and on with my disdain for this family but it falls on deaf ears so who really cares!

Anonymous said...

The reason TLC paid for the blinds is because they needed to block out the sun for better filming. The Duggars did not request for the blinds. It was a necessity for filming.

Anonymous said...

Thank You!! If people watched all the episodes they would know the Duggars give ALOT, both time and money to charities and other ministries.

Anonymous said...

Discovery Networks paid for and built their house once the frame had been ordered by Jim Bob. They also furnished appliances and food. I'm sure MANY more things have been donated just because of who they are.

Anonymous said...

That was just a special before they ever signed on for a tv program.

Anonymous said...

They were debt free before they started their own program and they do teach people cheaper ways to do things as they did before tv. They did have a life before tv, they still had to learn to save n do things before they got money but now they r getting paid for what they learned before this money!!!!

Anonymous said...

The article said "When offered a weekly reality TV show on TLC, the family of nineteen was living debt-free in their 7,000 square-foot home. Their sole income was earned by buying and selling commercial real estate."
I'm not sure that's true because they were on 14 kids and counting, 15 kids and countin etc. and I remember watching them build their new home. Sole income was not from selling real estate if they already had some shows in the bag.

Anonymous said...

@Andrea
Do you really know the Duggars, or are you basing your statements on "something you read or heard", basing them on "what you think", or anything but knowing them or their close friends. I am loathe to criticize their Christian stand based on "bargaining techniques". Since they usually shop in thrift stores, many people actually DO bargain there, as the item may have been there awhile or the owner may have placed a "price range" on the item.

I have a good friend who is friends with the Duggars; their daughters watch her children sometimes, and the families are well-acquainted. My friend has nothing but good things to say about the Duggars, and how hospitable, kind, generous, and caring they are to anyone they come in contact with. Sometimes I wonder what happens to those who claim they are Christians, but can't wait to criticize others who are supposed to be their sisters ad brothers in Christ, and point out their many "faults".

Anonymous said...

I have read that Jim Bob was worth 3.4 Million before the show even started. Where he was in politics.

tired of the duggars said...

Jim Bob doesn't think college is important. Those poor girls are forced to raise their siblings. He makes decisions for everyone in the family and you can tell that some of the kids don't always like his decision but they would never dare say anything. It's time for this show to end.

Anonymous said...

They make more in one than we make a year!

Anonymous said...

Maybe they don't nesscarily need to but they probably put the savings back for their kids' education and future retirement!

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