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The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle Paperback – December 15, 1998
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Though tightwad seems like a derogatory term, author Amy Dacyczyn wants to assure you that it's okay to be a penny-pincher. This self-styled "Frugal Zealot" wrote and published The Tightwad Gazette for over six years to spread the frugal gospel. Each issue contained tips from her personal experience and from her many readers. The wealth of information contained in all these issues has been compiled into one volume for the first time. You'll find literally thousands of ideas for saving money, from the simple or practical to the difficult or bizarre. On the simple, practical side, Dacyczyn advises would-be tightwads to keep track of price trends at several stores in a "price book" and to buy in bulk when prices are low. Other, stranger offerings include tips for turning margarine-tub lids into playing-card holders, old credit cards into guitar picks, and six-pack rings into a hammock or volleyball net. More helpful are inexpensive recipes for making homemade versions of pricey, well-known products and ingenious ways to fix broken or damaged items. The book's disorganization encourages browsing, but the detailed index will point you to the exact page for specific items. Dacyczyn's occasional "thriftier than thou" tone is balanced by the friendly support for frugality that infuses every page. She even reminds her readers that it's okay to "sweat the small stuff"--because this small stuff is the essence of frugality. --C.B. Delaney
From the Inside Flap
long-awaited complete compendium
of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!
In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life." Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips and topics, such as:
¸ Travel for tightwads ¸ How to transform old blue jeans into potholders and quilts ¸ Ten painless ways to save $100 this year ¸ Picture-framing for pennies ¸ A comparison of painting versus re-siding your
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The book provides generic recipe outlines that you can use to make a variety of foods from that bare-bones recipe (like "1 cup main ingredient, 1 cup second ingredient" etc, with some suggestions for what those ingredients might be), which allows you to use what you have on hand instead of needing to buy specific items.
There are suggestions for gardening, Christmas gifts, remodeling fixer-upper houses, and many subjects in between. There is quite a bit about children, as others have mentioned; however I felt there was a nice mix of other infmrmation as well so it wasn't overwhelming for people without children.
My only complaint about the edition I have (which is a 1998 Villard paperback edition) would be the reference page numbers located in the articles. The actual pages of the combined "Complete" book are 1-959; the pages in the individual books are Book 1 1-297, Book 2 300-576, and Book 3 579-834 ("The Last Issues" and the index make up the remaining pages). However, when an individual book references something in itself it starts with page 1. So (for example) if you're in Book 2, it will say something like "see page 32" which is actually page 332. It's a little worse in Book 3 since it doesn't end with such an even number; there it will say "see page 32" and it becomes more like page 611. It's not a huge problem and the numbers on the index page are correct, it just takes a little figuring out to see exactly where a referenced article is located. (It may just be the edition I have, but it's something to keep an eye out for if you're looking for an article but can't seem to locate it.)
Other than that one flaw, which is minor in my eyes, this book is excellent and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for creative ways to reuse materials (a variety of objects from milk jugs and juice lids to plastic rings off soda packs, etc) or for anyone looking for ways to save money.
Now, if you think it's too much trouble to hang laundry rather than use the dryer, or aren't willing to give up your prepared foods, or must have a new car every four years, or aren't willing to wear yard-sale or thrift-store clothing, this book won't help you a damn bit. However, if you're facing a desperate situation, and need to cut costs to the bone just to survive, and you have an open mind, then this book will show you how to survive, maybe even thrive.
One of the best things about this book is that she ties together the benefits of living with less stuff, not only for your financial health, but also because it produces less garbage/stuff sent to the landfill. She promotes responsible living that includes recycling and reusing items. Plus, she points out that such a way of life should empower you, not make you feel deprived. I hate the word "empower," but that's exactly how I feel when I read this book--I feel in control of my financial future, and also feel quite positive about it, and I do not feel deprived.
My husband and I are likely facing a forced early retirement, so we need to cut our expenses as far back as we can, to make it on our savings and investments (and possibly, jobs at Wal-mart) until we're both old enough for Social Security and Medicare. This book is my go-to financial survival guide. God bless you, Amy Dacyczyn!