April 04, 2011

Tightwad Gazette I Refresher - Final Reading - April 4th

Well here it is the last post on the Tightwad Gazette I. It has been a great journey and along the way I have received encouragement from Amy Dacyczyn and her book and also from the many comments left on the various postings.

I know you will enjoy her second book as it has more information that is invaluable to living a frugal life. Remember, that all of this information came from Amy Dacyczyn and where I directly quote from the book, I have noted so. All of my comments I have underlined.

As always I appreciate any additional comments you would like to make. Let’s wrap this up.


When Amy’s husband turned 40, she decided to throw a birthday party with a “cheap” theme (not to be confused with tightwad). They made all of the decorations from household discards. All of the presents he received were $1.00 and were either joke presents, yard sale finds or homemade. One of the gifts that Amy made for him was curtains for his office. She had purchased the fabric months before and her husband had been wondering when she was going to get around to sewing them.

Some of the decorations included paper chains made from sale flyers, newspapers and brown bags and they were hung haphazardly. She used toilet paper to wrap one of his gifts and made the bow from a plastic bag cut with pinking shears. Another package was wrapped in a sale flyer and the bow was made with plastic wrap. The table cloth was newspaper that was attractively arranged and taped.

You get the idea. I think it was very, very clever and it looks like a fun idea.


These crackers taste something like wheat thins.

3 cups uncooked oatmeal
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water
Salt for sprinkling

Mix ingredients and roll out onto two cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt, lightly roll again to press salt in. Cut into squares or diamonds. (Amy used a pizza cutter for this.) Bake at 350 degrees. After 20 minutes begin checking. The outer ones are usually ready first. Remove crackers as they turn golden brown and hard.


“It happens. There will probably come a time when you don’t need to be a tightwad anymore. The scenario is most frequently played out by a couple who, after decades of pinching pennies, one day finds that the mortgage is paid off, all the kids have completed college, and they’ve saved a sufficient amount of retirement. It happens because tightwaddery really works.”

Amy goes on to say that when this happens you will receive some pressure from people who will tell you that you need to lighten up and go out and buy that special car, etc. Just because you have more money, does it mean you need to spend it?

“The answer is to understand that the tightwad life is not only about spending less, it’s about spending in a way that reflects your values, and that should not stop if you have a billion dollars. Having more money simply means you can pursue your values in a larger and even more satisfying way.”

So before you completely abandon tightwaddery, make sure you have touched all your financial bases such as sufficient insurance, savings for current emergencies and for all future goals, and no debt whatsoever.

1. Spend in ways that are environmentally sound. Having surplus income does not mean that you should be wasteful with the planet’s resources.

2. If you live in an economically depressed area, buy locally even if it costs a little bit more.

3. Consider charitable giving.

4. “Even when we can afford to spend more money, we must also consider the legacy we pass on to our children.”

5. Consider retiring early.

“The bottom line: spend money in ways that are consistent with your personal values. Don’t let others pressure you into spending according to their values.”

When I was reading and writing the summary on this section, I had to quote a lot of what Amy wrote as putting it in my own words would not do her justice.

What happens when the economy improves, when unemployment decreases and things go back to “almost normal?” Will those who have adopted frugality in order to get by during the hard times, throw caution to the wind and go back to old spending habits? I think that a good number of people will go back to their old spend thrift ways and others will never want to go back to putting finances and their family into jeopardy. Some will learn from their mistakes and others will grow tired of “feeling deprived” instead of seeing how this frugal life has brought them “independence and freedom from debt.”

It will be interesting to see what happens to blogs such as mine when there is no longer a big need to talk or post about frugality. I will still be doing it, as I am glad for the freedom that living below our means has brought to our family.

Living below your means, being frugal or calling yourself a tightwad should never be considered a fad, but instead it should be considered a happy lifestyle.

For me and my family, I know there will come a time when we will have more income as we pay off debt. We won’t change the way we are living because we need to set aside more in savings and in our retirement. Besides, I enjoy saving money and seeing how long I can make things last. Also finding bargains is like a quest or game and I enjoy winning by spending less than I expected on certain items.

Well, that ends the Tightwad Gazette I. I’ve really enjoyed sharing this refresher reading with you and I hope that those of you who have never heard or Amy Dacyczyn or read her books were able to glean some good ideas, tips or encouragement from her.

We will start on the Tightwad Gazette II onWednesday, April 6th by reading page 3 through 11. I won’t be covering as many pages in the posts this time as it was almost too much information for one daily posting.

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