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The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle [Paperback]

Amy Dacyczyn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 15, 1998
At last--the 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 house¸ Halloween costumes from scrounged materials¸ Thrifty window treatments¸ Ways to dry up dry-cleaning costs¸ Inexpensive gifts¸ Creative fundraisers for kids¸ Slashing your electric bill¸ Frugal fix-its¸ Cutting the cost of college¸ Moving for less¸ Saving on groceries¸ Gift-wrapping for tightwads¸ Furniture-fusion fundamentals¸ Cheap breakfast cereals¸ Avoiding credit card debt¸ Using items you were about to throw away (milk jugs, plastic meat trays, and more!)¸ Recipes galore, from penny-pinching pizza to toaster pastries¸ And much much more . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

At last--the 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 house, Halloween costumes from scrounged materials, Thrifty window treatments, Ways to dry up dry-cleaning costs, Inexpensive gifts, Creative fundraisers for kids, Slashing your electric bill, Frugal fix-its, Cutting the cost of college, Moving for less, Saving on groceries, Gift-wrapping for tightwads, Furniture-fusion fundamentals, Cheap breakfast cereals, Avoiding credit card debt, Using items you were about to throw away (milk jugs, plastic meat trays, and more!), Recipes galore, from penny-pinching pizza to toaster pastries, And much much more . . .
Three books in one--a $38.97 value for only $19.99!

Product details

  • Paperback: 959 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1 edition (December 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375752250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375752254
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (433 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Admittedly, the author is the diva of frugality, taking tightwaddery to a high art I wouldn't care to achieve...but she also discusses how the way we spend our money should--but doesn't always--reflect our own priorities, values, and goals. The author makes it clear that the book contains a full spectrum of tips for saving money to accomodate a wide range of frugal styles, and that not every idea in the book is for every person. There's no preaching, just cheerleading!
Probably the most pleasant surprise in this book were the essays discussing the tightwad philosophy. The author addresses gratification, temporary vs long-term fulfillment, learned perceptions about "clean" and "dirty", the true "cost" of a double-income household, hourly "wages" based on money saved, and other interesting aspects of money attitudes.
A recurring theme examines how frugality isn't about living a deprived scrimping lifestyle, but rather how to spend and save money in ways that reinforce your financial goals. Practical examples give tips for getting good deals, finding hidden treasures within your budget, and how to think "outside the box" when it comes to obtaining goods and services.
In all, while this book contains a wealth of "how-tos", it is also a springboard to help you launch your own ideas on how to meet your life goals and find creative ways to do it.
A fantastic and truly entertaining read.
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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book -- helpful, practical, fun! April 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The first time I read one of the earlier Tightwad Gazette books, I surprised myself by immediately finding a savings in our family budget of $50 per month. I was further inspired to try some other new money saving ideas, and before too long our family was living well within our means and actually climbed our way out of serious consumer debt -- COMPLETELY!
Of course, I don't credit this book with all the personal hard work and discipline that it took to reduce our family's consumer debt, BUT our goal of being debt-free (inspite of a limited income due to lost earning potential from an injury and chronic illness) wouldn't have happened as quickly as it did without the inspiration and practical guidance found in the pages of the Tightwad Gazette books and newsletter.
Many of the ideas were a bit too "out there" for me personally, but there's such a large quantity of information in this resource, that it's easy to find things that WILL work for different individuals and their personal situations. While there's a good chance you won't want to start stockpiling styrofoam meat trays (or go dumpster diving!), maybe you'll discover some new tasty, simple (and VERY inexpensive!) recipes. And keeping a "Price Book" might be just the ticket to cutting down regular expenses in your own family's financial situation.
The three previous Tightwad Gazette books have been compiled into this single edition with the addition of the last few issues of the Tighwad Gazette newsletter (those issues never made it into any of the previous books).
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a historical piece of literature December 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read the other reviews and most of them are polarized - people either really love this book, or they really hate it. The people who love this book seem to be typing from a place of nostalgia and/or are already tightwads; whereas the people who hate it can't stand the author's personality or consider her methods extreme. There has to be a middle ground somewhere.

First for the good stuff.

Amy Dacyczyn is smart, funny, creative, and articulate. Her style is direct and honest, which is refreshing. It cannot be understated that she blazed the trail of tightwaddery during a time when openly trying to save money meant incriminating onself with the pain and shame of poverty. Dacycyzn not only changed our national dialogue about the practice of thrift, she also served as a role model for current and future economic nonconformists that refused to acquiesce to the status quo.

If I were to rate this book on that, and the feelings of nostalgia it creates when I pick it up and start reading, I would rate it a 5. However, this book is also a product, and people read reviews to make a decision whether or not to purchase it. That decision would be based on how useful it might be to someone who is reading it for the first time in the deuce-tens.

Starting with five stars, I subtracted one star because the book is clearly, painfully outdated. Dacycyzn retired in 1997, so at the time of writing this review; the information in this book is at least 15 years old. Businesses, addresses, and in some cases products (like floppy disks) are going to be a thing of the past. Not that google couldn't pick up where Amy left off, but the reader still has to flip and wade through it all.

I subtracted another star for the lack of organization.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Dumpster Diving September 28, 2004
Format:Paperback
It was a rare sunny day in an upper-middle class suburb in Oregon. While taking my fiance's trash to the apartment's central trash compactor, I noticed the huge bin of rejected, non-compactable items. A clean, sleek, high-end looking lady's computer case was perched on the edge--trembling, almost in anticipation of that intrepid woman who would simply put out her hand and take it...

That woman was me. Of course then, I didn't know that I was supposed to be too fastidious for this, that it was "extreme" and "far-fetched" to take something that was still in good shape but had clearly been abandoned by its owner. I looked around quickly, almost as if the Waste Police were about to rush in and collar me. But there was nothing but spilled soda on the ground and a lazy fly buzzing around. I snatched the case and almost ran back to my fiance's apartment-!

This is a dramatic reenactment, of course. But the warm glow of victory lingers. I get as much of a rush from a great bargain as some die-hard mall mavens get from shelling out $500 for the latest Coach purse. Is it a sickness? Are we really wackos? Did I really Dumpster-dive without even knowing it?

I know a gal who has a $9000 Nordstrom credit card balance. Is she sick? Is the best way the moderate way, to buy your clothes on sale and to shop at a co-op, as I did until recently? To answer these questions for yourself, you have to enter the world of Amy Dacyczyn.

I heard about this lady years ago and thought she was a nut. Now, exactly five days after reading only her second book of tightwaddery (which I picked up at Goodwill, figuring I'd get my 2.99 back somehow), I can hardly believe my good fortune.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fun to read and some new information that only the truly tightwad will use on a regular basis.
Published 8 hours ago by Howard C. Wiggin III
2.0 out of 5 stars Common sense for the most part, pretty boring read
This book is very dated and had very little useful information.
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good information
Published 19 days ago by jennie
4.0 out of 5 stars Got a used copy which was in very good condition! I've enjoyed reading...
Got a used copy which was in very good condition! I've enjoyed reading through this book. There are many frugal tips in this book that I never would have thought of.
Published 1 month ago by Pat Schomann
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book
An enjoyable book with many ideas to save money and ideas to incorporate in your life. Lots of things I already do, but I am always happy to learn new ways to save for our family.
Published 1 month ago by Debi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
we are giving this as presents to all of our family
Published 1 month ago by reviewer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Came with the cover bent..creased X2.Must have been stored that way.
Published 1 month ago by Debra A. Strey
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ seller!
Thank you just what my Mommy wanted!
Published 1 month ago by sandy buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars so nice to see here in person
I have read this book many times before from my public library. They were no longer carrying it, and I just had to have a copy of it.
I could read it over and over. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Leianna Logan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So very happy with this purchase! I can't wait to implement some of these ideas into my daily life.
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Ruehling
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