Penny Pinchers

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Paul Squires admits he might be Australia's tightest man... "Do you ever feel embarrassed quibbling about that? no, no, cos don't make it a duel to the death" and his might be Australia's most frugal family. "We cut out all the wasteful type of spending that sometimes people do"

A multi millionaire who has weekly black out nights with his wife Krystina and children Aiden and Laura. Playing cards by candlelight - to save on the power bill. You've heard of "never pay retail" - Paul says go one better in the saving game - avoid shopping - buy new stuff only when old stuff wears out and never take the kids. "We've found no need to have to come out and bring them out and there's less temptation and inclination to buy extra or things they'll see"

To indulge us, Aiden and Laura came along, but Mum and Dad always do the choosing. Two, fifty dollars t-shirts, already marked down to just nine-ninety-nine. Good buy? Not to Paul. Watch and learn shoppers...He goes for the DOUBLE discount. Two fifty dollar t-shirts for nine bucks a piece - that's 82% off. Paul says - you don't ask, you don't get. "I've found 70% of the time, you'll get a yes 13.38 and what do the kids think? initially, sometimes they've rolled their eyes - but then what are parents for - they gotta embarrass" And he's not too embarrassed to ask on even the smallest item - like these five dollar fifty socks, Laura likes. Paul asks - and gets - 15 per cent off. 82 cents is still 82 cents.

Thrift is something the whole family practices - 27 dollars for kids track pants? No way. "I can get tracky pants for the kids from other stores for about 8/9 dollars that look just as good and they have all the stitching and they have the pockets and they have all the tie bits, so for 27 dollars I can get three pairs"

Fifty dollars for a brand name t-shirt for Aiden - ah, no. And he's already well on his own road to riches. "I'm already 10 years old, going on 11 and I've already saved about 11 thousand" He thinks he'll use it to buy shares when he's older - which is probably just as well 'cause he and Laura know when it comes to money, Mum and Dad will practice some tough love. Krystina says "we're not going to buy them a property, we're not going to buy them stuff and don't wait for us to drop dead either" Back shopping - this time, the supermarket... every item, price checked.

At home - two Mercs in the driveway prove Paul's point - every cent not spent is a cent you can save .He says they could afford to drive something even better, but choose not to." I nearly played a joke on Krystina once, organising one from a dealership to have it sitting in the garage when they came home but - I would kill you - laugh" They eat in most of the time. Have hot dog nights to entertain mates. And Laura's 7th birthday will be a pizza shared in a park. No lolly bags, few presents.

Paul reckons 'keeping up the Joneses" is costing Australians financial fitness. "I tell you now, fit is having that sensational feeling inside when you know you've paid with cash and it's not been banged onto your credit card that comes to visit you at the end of the month when you feel sick inside your stomach over the statement" He says prosperity has meant too many Aussies are used to having too much. "It concerns me and annoys me that debt is so easy and so many people are getting hooked into it too early"

His saving tips - ask for discount, avoid impulse buys by sleeping on it - if you still love the item the next day, and then buy it. Have days where you don't spend a cent, forget about keeping up and practice black out days - good for your bank balance and probably your blood pressure.

For more information go to Paul Squires' website: