‘Counting On’: How Can Joy Duggar and Austin Forsyth Afford Such a Nice House?

The Duggar family’s finances have remained a mystery for the better part of their reality television career. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar built a massive, 7,000 square-foot home as soon as their reality show fame started, but it was pretty much understood that their TLC money couldn’t have paid for all of it. Of course, we now know that Jim Bob Duggar has had a very successful real estate career — but what about his kids?

Joy Duggar and Austin Forsyth
Joy Duggar and Austin Forsyth | Austin and Joy Forsyth via Instagram

It’s always been unclear how the Duggars get paid for their television show

Every reality show cast member makes some amount of money, though their actual salaries are often never revealed. For TLC, it’s been suspected that most shows pay between $25,000 and $40,000 per episode. At this point, the Duggars have been on television for a while, so they’re probably making closer to $40,000 per episode. From there, though, it gets murky. Does all of that money go to Jim Bob and Michelle, where it’s then split among the kids? Or does TLC write a separate check for every family member, which then totals to roughly $40,000 per episode?

The true answer has never been revealed, but with 21 members of the Duggar family and an average of about nine episodes per season, the family as a whole probably makes around $360,000 per year from the show, and the kids each get a cut. However, divided among the major Duggar families (Michelle and Jim Bob, John and Abbie, Jessa and Ben, Jinger and Jeremy, Joy and Austin, Joseph and Kendra, and Josiah and Lauren), it would only result in about $50,000 per family each season. 

Fans recently wondered how Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard could afford to build a new home

Earlier this year, Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard announced they had built a brand new home. Though some fans were thrilled, others were confused as to how they could afford it. Dillard is in law school full time, and Duggar is a stay-at-home mom. The two don’t film for the show, so they shouldn’t get a cut of the money. However, Duggar does occasionally advertise products on Instagram, so it’s possible that’s a source of their income. Some also suspected Jim Bob gave them the money, but nothing was ever confirmed.

Joy Duggar and Austin Forsyth are renovating a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home

Recently, Joy Duggar took fans inside the home she’s renovating with Austin Forsyth — and it’s beautiful. Though it’s far from complete, the kitchen cabinets alone are enough to know how nice the house is. Joy and Austin likely do get a cut of the Counting On money, plus they have a home flipping business, where they remodel homes to sell them for profit. It’s possible that their reality show fame has earned them a good reputation, which results in a lot of business for their house-flipping endeavor. This might explain how they can afford the house, but at such a young age, it’s hard to imagine they can afford something so nice all on their own.

Some suspect Jim Bob Duggar gifts homes to his children

Though it has never been confirmed, some fans suspect that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar gift houses to their kids. On one Reddit thread, a user claimed to have looked into the Duggars kids’ homes through public records and learned that Joy and Austin’s new house was sold to them for $1. That dollar amount is common when the home sale is merely for transfer of title.

Another user claimed to have seen on public record that Jessa and Ben’s house was sold to them for $10 — another common way of transferring title. Plus, Jedidiah Duggar’s political campaign has raised questions about how he could possibly own property within the district he’s running in (his parents’ house is not in that district). All of the scenarios have painted the picture that Jim Bob is actually the one paying for all of his kids’ homes, though nobody in the family has ever admitted it.