How The Duggars Make (and Save) Money

Published: April 19, 2012

How The Duggars Make (and Save) Money, It costs nearly a quarter of a million dollars to raise a kid from birth to 18, according to the most recent calculations by the United States Department of Agriculture—and that’s before college tuition. Multiply that by 19 children plus mom and dad and it is a little mind bending that the Duggar family, of reality television fame, manage to support themselves without government assistance and, what’s more, are completely debt-free.

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These days, the family earns its money from their popular TLC program, 19 Kids and Counting as well as from real estate investments. E!Online estimates each episode makes them a cushy $25,000 to $40,000. However, even before the brood hit the big time on television, they were self-sufficient and lived comfortably. How did they do it?

Related: Michelle Duggar Doesn’t Believe in Overpopulation

Neither dad Jim Bob nor mom Michelle Duggar attended college. They married when he was 19-years-old and she was 17. They got their start as entrepreneurs by selling used cars which Jim Bob repaired himself. Then they launched a towing business. They sold the business in 1994 and went into real estate. One of their first lucrative deals was to convert an old chicken hatchery into 10 commercial rental units. They also leased land to a cell phone company for its transmission tower. While the real estate business grew, the family was scrupulous about living withing their means.


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