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Extreme Savers Greg and Tara: We Have Some Things in Common

This article was written by in Saving. 9 comments.

Greg and Tara BlackCNN Money seems to have switched its focus from “Millionaires in the Making” to “Extreme Savers,” and today they have an article about Greg and Tara Black. They earn $48,000 and live in Charlottesville, Virginia.

They shop at Kohls and JC Penney for clothing, as I do. Their entertainment comes mainly from Netflix, of which I am a member. However, I’m lazy about watching the movies and returning them. I can get more for my monthly $15 if I get around to watching the DVDs. On top of Netflix, I also have basic cable, for which I pay $16 each month.

Even though Tara doesn’t have a job, she stays at home and manages their money while keeping track of every purchase, making a job within itself. “It works out better in terms of money because she’s here working the numbers and managing the money and we don’t have to spend on other things like another car and gas,” Greg said.

They dine out only two or three times a month, so our similarities end there. If I discipline myself, I can start cooking (and eating healthier) rather than ordering dinner and going out to lunch every day. Lately, I’ve accepted my behavior as a “tragic flaw” as I’ve failed at every attempt to get into the habit of saving money on food.

Despite Greg and Tara’s saving, they find enjoyable things to do together. It sounds like they’re not missing out on life by taking this approach to saving money. If we are going to live on Earth, I think it’s important to enjoy life, and occasionally doing so will cost more money than one might budget. This is why I don’t keep a strict spending plan. I only plan on living once. Since I’ve never considered myself an “extremist,” it’s the balance between enjoyment and saving I try to seek.

Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published November 16, 2006.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I have to say — I prefer this series to the Millionaires series. I really dislike the term “millionaire” because it’s loaded, arbitrary, and breeds class envy.

But saving is something nearly everyone can do.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

It’s great the media is giving these frugal people some coverage. I have an idea for a TV Show called “The Biggest Saver”, I won’t go into it here but you can read about it:

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avatar 3 Anonymous

Yay, good for them! They sound like they are really grounded and have their priorities straight. I especially like the fact that she is a stay at home wife and sees managing the money and home as an actual job, that’s very cool!

Good for CNNMoney focusing more on examples of how people live more frugally. That’s way more inspiring than the millionaire in the making series they had.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

It is good that they have saved so much money, but they are not extreme savers. I don’t buy clothes new, I almost always buy used. They bought a new Corolla, when most PF advice says to buy used. Why isn’t she working? They could possibly double their income and it doesn’t even say they have kids. Tracking finances is not a full time job. I do it in my spare time.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

“It works out better in terms of money because she’s here working the numbers and managing the money and we don’t have to spend on other things like another car and gas,” Greg said.

That’s a pretty absurd claim, unless they don’t actually live in Charlottesville.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Fascinating. They have no kids and it looks like they have no plans to have any.

I’m surprised that Tara doesn’t work. Marketing studies? Sounds like she fills out surveys all day. Even a morning shift as a barista would add a lot to their annual income.

Buying a new car is just fine. Honestly, after all my car expenses this year, I’d be happier just selling the thing and getting a new one that’s headache free.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

We all have a ‘tragic flaw’. I can’t seem to give up my 1-2 cans of soda a day. But I mitigate it by buying it from the store instead of the machine at work.

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avatar 8 Anonymous

Mrs. L,

Maybe you should buy 2-liter bottles instead, and make sure you still limit yourself to about the same amount of soda a day. You will probably be able to double your savings, again.

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avatar 9 Anonymous

What the hey? Extreme savers? I earn minimum wage. I buy my clothes at Goodwill and Wal*Mart. I get my soda (pop) at the c-store where I work because employees get fountain drinks free. How do I get on one of these shows?

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