Here’s How the Duggars Really Make Their Money

One thing you might wonder when you see the Duggars, stars of the canceled TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, and its spinoff Counting On, is how they’re able to afford daily expenses. They claim they’re debt free and have never had to rely on government assistance, but how do they manage this? Well, we’ve got some answers for you.

Here’s how the Duggars really make their money, plus how one family member’s bad habit that could be putting their finances in jeopardy (page 8).

How much they spend

The Duggar Family

It costs a lot to feed all of them. | TLC

First, a little about how much it costs to have so many children. In their book The Duggars: 20 and Counting, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar revealed it used to cost roughly $3,000 each month to clothe and feed their brood (when all the children were living under one roof).

Each week, they went through 16 boxes of cereal, seven gallons of milk, and about 16 rolls of toilet paper. Their costs are likely a little lower now, since some of the older children have moved out and started their own families.

NextMost of their money doesn’t come from their TV show.

Jim Bob invests in real estate

Duggar Family in 2012

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife Karen have lunch with members of the Duggar family of the show 19 Kids and Counting during a campaign stop in 2012 in Appleton, Wis. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jim Bob Duggar, who was a Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002, is a real estate agent. He has been quite successful in his career. Jim Bob made most of his money from real estate investments.

As a result of his investments (in addition to other income streams), he managed to build a net worth of roughly $3.5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

NextSeveral family members have penned successful books. 

Book sales help their bottom line

Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" Book Signing

The book was written by the Duggar daughters. | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

The Duggar family has released several books. It seems like it comes with the territory these days if you have your own reality show.

Their books include The Duggars: 20 and Counting, Growing Up Duggar (written by the Duggar daughters), and A Love That Multiplies. Fans of the show seem to love their books. Most of the reviews on Amazon are almost five stars.

NextThe 1 way they’re just like the Kardashians. 

Influencer marketing may help pay the bills

Duggar family chickfila

They’ve been advertising for different brands. | Duggar Fam via Instagram

The prevalence of social media has made it another source of income for many reality TV stars. It is rumored the Duggars have followed in the footsteps of reality stars such as the Kardashians and Jenners by jumping on the social media influencer marketing bandwagon.

The social media platform of choice for the Duggars is Instagram. According to The Hollywood Gossip, fans have been noticing obvious product endorsements in their Instagram posts. Some products seen in their posts are Chick-fil-A, IHOP, and Promised Land milk.

Next: They’re making less for speaking engagements than they used to

A single speaking engagement earns them $15,000

Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting"

Jim Bob charges $15,000 per event. | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Jim Bob and Michelle also give speeches and hold seminars. Some of their children also speak at events. As of this writing, Jim Bob’s minimum fee is roughly $15,000 per event. This is down from $25,000 in 2015, during the show’s last year on the air. One of the couple’s recent speaking engagements was a seminar for Christian grandparents, which was part of The Heart of Grandparenting Conference.

Another reality couple that makes money from speaking engagements is Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Fixer Upper stars charge $30,000 for speaking fees, reports Romper. The price is steep, but it’s a significant discount compared to Joanna’s individual quote of $150,000 an hour.

NextThe family is very entrepreneurial.

The family has started several businesses

Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar Of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" Book Signing

They have quite a few businesses. | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Entrepreneurship is another way the Duggars managed to feed their family. Before the show, the couple started a few small businesses.

When Jim Bob and Michelle were first married, Jim Bob worked at a grocery store and Michelle held different jobs, including substitute teaching and serving as a Girl Scout leader, according to the Duggar Family fan blog. They later started a car lot business, and then a towing business, which was sold after a few years.

NextThe scandal that caused their earnings to take a hit. 

Jim Bob’s earnings took an unexpected hit

Josh Duggar 19 kids and counting

The family isn’t receiving income from the show because of Josh’s past. | Josh Duggar via Twitter

Although Jim Bob has been successful, his earning took a hit. TLC cancelled 19 Kids and Counting in May 2015 after In Touch reported Josh Duggar, Michelle and Jim Bob’s eldest son, had molested five girls when he was a teenager (some of his sisters were among the victims).

The TV network also stopped airing reruns, so the Duggars aren’t receiving any income from the show. Another source of income that suffered was Jim Bob’s fee for speaking engagements.

NextThe bad habit that could hurt the family’s finances 

Jim Bob’s rumored shopping habit

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

He’s reportedly a compulsive shopper. | Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

When you make a lot of money (and even when you don’t), it’s tempting to spend more than you should. This is said to be the case with one of the Duggar family members. A source close to the Duggar family told The Hollywood Gossip that Jim Bob is a compulsive shopper. The source also said Jim Bob is a hoarder who purchases property at a concerning rate.

The insider claims the reality star is cash poor. “Jim Bob has a lot of money in property. And he buys stuff, junk. He goes to these auctions and comes back with truckloads of chairs, and just whatever,” said the source.

NextHow the other Duggars are making a living

What the other Duggars do for a living

Josiah works in commercial real estate. | Josiah Duggar via Instagram

So, how do the other Duggars earn a living? John-David is a pilot and constable. In 2012 he received his pilot’s license. The following year he became a constable for the Washington County police department.

Josh works as a car salesman, Jinger is a wedding photographer, Jeremiah and Jedidiah work as interns, and Joseph and Josiah work with Jim Bob in commercial real estate.

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