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10 financial tips the Duggars use to raise so many kids without going broke

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar in a confessional.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have shared financial tips they’ve used throughout the years. Pic credit: TLC

As the Duggar family continued to grow, Jim Bob and Michelle had to figure out how to raise their children without going broke. 

Raising kids isn’t cheap, and as the cost of things continues to rise throughout the years, the couple has gotten creative. 

They have some tricks of the trade they have shared throughout the years, and some of them are pretty impressive. 

With so many years between their oldest child and youngest, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been able to fine-tune things. 

These are 10 financial tips the Duggars have used to avoid going broke while raising their big brood. 

Sign up for a reality TV show 

19 Kids and Counting changed the Duggars' lives.
The opening for 19 Kids and Counting. Pic credit: TLC

While this isn’t exactly a tip, it helped out the Duggar family tremendously. 

Before beginning their journey with a special about their family, which morphed into two different reality TV shows, the Duggars weren’t as well off as they are now. 

Money from the network helped the family afford some of the nicer things in life and often led to travel and other opportunities. 

Being a part of the reality TV world is worth the effort for the rewards it brings. Not everyone can swing it, though. 

Buy used and save the difference 

Jinger Duggar in the Duggar closet.
Jinger Duggar showing off all of the Duggar clothes. Pic credit: TLC

Clothing all of those children wasn’t easy for Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. They were all in different sizes at any given point, which put a huge financial strain on the family. 

From very early on, they adopted the philosophy of buying used and saving the difference. 

Shopping for clothes and shoes was done at thrift shops, resale events, and garage sales. Several episodes of 19 Kids and Counting showed the sisters shopping at various places for clothing. 

Some of the adult siblings still do this. Jill Duggar is often seen at thrift shops with her cousin Amy Duggar King as they look for various items. Many of the Duggar sisters attend the seasonal sales that are held for their children as well. 

Luckily, several of the daughters are handy with a sewing machine, so when clothing needs repairs, they can ensure it is fixed in a timely manner. 

Do as much as possible yourself 

Jessa Duggar is the hairdresser in the family.
Jessa Duggar cutting hair. Pic credit: TLC

Paying for services isn’t always cheap. With so many children, it would have been financially draining to pay for haircuts for all of them. 

That’s why many of the things people would pay to have done have been kept in-house. Jessa Duggar was the resident hairstylist. She learned to cut the boys’ hair and even put up a tutorial as she continues to cut her sons’ hair to this day. 

Aside from DIY haircuts, things like lawn maintenance, chores, and more were divided among the children to ensure Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar didn’t have to pay out for something that could have been done at home. 

Buy in bulk 

Jessa Duggar in the pantry.
Jessa Duggar showing off their stockpile. Pic credit: TLC

In the early days of the Duggars airing on television, they shared that they shopped at Aldi. It is a store that sells food for less than many other grocery stores. Canned goods can be bought relatively cheap, along with cereal, meat, and dairy products. 

The Duggar children would load up the carts on shopping day, and they would be able to buy mass quantities of things they would use in the future. 

Aside from Aldi, the family also bought in bulk at other places. They go through a lot of sugar, flour, and other staple products. Buying them en masse was smart, and it helped them to get ahead without breaking the bank. 

Make your cleaning items 

Michelle and Josie Duggar.
Michelle Duggar makes her own cleaning products. Pic credit: TLC

With so many children, laundry was a nightmare. Doing just one load a day wouldn’t help clear the piles, and washing clothing uses power, water, and soap. 

To combat the cost of laundry soap, Michelle Duggar makes her own. She has been making her combination of cleaning detergent for the household clothes for years. 

She can save on the high price of laundry soap when she washes clothing by making it herself. Their batch lasts a while, so she only has to make it a few times a year. 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Michelle shared with viewers that they made their own disinfectant. Wiping surfaces and cleaning more than usual became a habit, so making things themselves helped the Duggar family not spend a lot of money.  

Avoid debt 

Jinger Duggar paying cash.
The Duggars prefer to pay with cash. Pic credit: TLC

This is a big one for Jim Bob Duggar. He talks about paying cash for everything. If you can’t afford to pay cash, it isn’t something you need. 

From their house to their vehicles, going into debt wasn’t an option for the family. Staying out of money trouble was a huge point that was driven home by the parents, and today. Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, have avoided getting in over their heads while he went through law school. 

Not using credit cards is a huge deal, and it has seemingly worked well for the family. 


Homeschooling the children.
One of the Duggar boys doing school. Pic credit: TLC

Choosing to homeschool their children may have been something that had many benefits. 

Not only were Jim Bob and Michelle able to control what the kids saw and monitor what they are learning, but they were also saving money. Buying textbooks and school supplies for children can get expensive, especially with the number of kids they had. 

Textbooks can be reused, and often school supplies can be passed down. The Duggars don’t have to pay school fees, sports fees, or anything associated with a public or private school. 

Use family members for babysitting 

Grandma Mary on 19 Kids and Counting
Grandma Mary babysitting. Pic credit: TLC

Finding babysitters for all of the kids could have cost the Duggars a fortune. Jim Bob and Michelle often used his mom, Grandma Mary Duggar, to help look after the kids when they had to go out. 

They also devised the buddy teams. The older girls were all given their own team, and they rotated welcoming a new baby when Michelle would have another child. Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger were the team captains, and the younger siblings relied heavily on their older sisters. 

Kids eat free nights 

The Duggars in Japan.
Dining out isn’t habitual for the Duggars, but they do it. Pic credit: TLC

Going out for a meal was rare for the Duggar family, but they managed it occasionally. 

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would pay attention to when kids ate free at restaurants, and when that happened, they would enjoy a meal out with the family. 

This helped them save money and still experience some of the same things other families would without breaking the bank. 

Of course, cooking at home was always the best financial option, but kids eat free nights were also enjoyed.

Bartering and haggling

Michelle Duggar and the family hit up flea markets.
Michelle Duggar at the flea market. Pic credit: TLC

When trying to get something for a lesser price, bartering is something the Duggars are open to doing.

They will often trade services or items using the barter method, helping them to come out on top.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar aren’t above haggling either. Sometimes they will try and get something for less using the fact that they are paying cash. The children have mentioned being uncomfortable when their dad does this, but it has saved the family money and kept them from going broke.