April 21, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 10 - April 21st

Today’s reading covers several tips and such but probably the best is doing what Amy calls “creative deprivation” when raising children. Let’s face it, it can be easy to over give your kids toys and let them sit in front of the computer or t.v. for a long time. In the end you are better off not over doing it and letting your children learn to appreciate things more. In fact I would say that children who learn this, will be the children that grow up into adulthood learning delayed gratification and will not have a consumer credit problem.

Well, let’s get at it.

PAGE 72 – FREEBIES – This article is outdated. To find free services such as tax advice, planning a trip or getting a free credit report, you do not need the addresses of the services that Amy gave. Now all you have to do is search the internet.


“Lentils are a cheap, filling source of protein, and because they don’t require soaking before cooking, they are the handy fast food of the legume family.”

I love lentils but no one else in my family does. I buy Progresso lentil soup when it is on sale so I can get my lentil fix. I grew up in a family that ate lentils and beans and we loved those frugal meals.

Amy tried several lentil recipes sent in by readers and the following two recipes passed the Dacyczyn family test kitchen.

Lentil Burgers for Bean Haters

2 cups cooked lentil – bulgur mixture (equal parts of lentils and bulgur – bulgur wheat can be purchased at health food stores.)
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
4 tablespoons mixed Italian herbs
4 cloves garlic (or 4 teaspoons powdered garlic)
2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons soy flour and 2 tablespoons water)
1/2 cup milk

Mix the first six ingredients. Mix in eggs. Add milk and mix well. Chill ½ hour. Make into patties and fry 10 minutes per side, or bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees, 10 minutes on each side.


Combine 2 cups cooked lentil-bulgur mixture with ¼ cup taco-mix seasoning (purchased in bulk at a warehouse store, ¼ cup costs about 35 cents).

Make tortillas as follows:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Add water, mix until just combined. Divide into 10 balls and roll out flat. Fill with filling, roll up and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*My tortilla recipe has additional steps such as rolling out and quickly cooking on a griddle, before filling and baking.

PAGE 75 – WHAT TO DO WITH . . . .

Ketchup gunk left in an empty bottle: Pour ¼ cup hot water into the bottle and shake vigorously until the gunk combines with the water. Pour the water into your freezer container for leftover soup. I do this and it gives a nice flavor to my homemade vegetable soup.

No longer needed Crib Sheets: Graduate them to car use. Crib sheets fit neatly over the backseat to protect it from spilled toddler drinks and crayon marks.

Old Mylar Balloons: Cut the seams off and use the two pieces to wrap small gifts. Place the gift in the center, pull up the mylar and tie with a ribbon.

Juice Lids: Glue a piece of magnetic tape (cheaper than magnets) to the back and a child’s picture to the front.


Clean windshield wipers with vinegar and water in order to clean away the dirt and grime that accumulates on the wipers. They will be almost like new when you clean them with this solution.


Amy went to a garage sale one day and a child was selling all of his GI Joe dolls, bazookas, rocket belts, tanks and everything else he had that was GI Joe. The son was selling the toys at ridiculously low prices and could care less about the toys that had cost hundreds of dollars.

Parents tend to give their children toys in excess and it doesn’t stop at toys. Parents allow their kids to be parked in front of a t.v. for hours. As a result of this kids come to view this excessiveness or overload as normal.

Amy instead is raising her children in what she calls “creative deprivation.”

“The idea behind creative deprivation is that every event should have space around it, so that the event can stand out and be appreciated.” Years ago a child received few toys and music was a special event because it could only be heard when musicians were assembled. Now flashy entertainment can come in to our homes 24 hours a day.

The best parents place limits on the stuff and the stimulation. They are tough enough to slow down the goodies – they limit what they give their children and they limit their access to the t.v. (and computer).

It is also wonderful to see a child thrilled by a simple pleasure. For our family it is a quick pick up game of basketball or the enjoyment of brownies fresh from the oven. It is going out to eat once a month instead of 3 or 4 times a week. Our family appreciates the fun of eating out since we do it so rarely.

The more you give your child gifts or experiences, the less they appreciate them. Limit the things that kids don’t need, but don’t limit what they do need.

We take trips in the summer that require a day or two of travel. When we had a minivan, we did not buy one with a d.v.d player. Instead our boys read or listened to some music or we talked and had a lot of fun talking about what we were seeing on the highway. We teased each other and played travel games and not once did we ever miss watching a movie to pass the time.

Tomorrow we will discuss pages 81 through 87. The topic of funerals comes up. No one likes to discuss this topic, but sooner or later we have to face it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am happy to comment on the part of watching a movie while traveling. This makes my SKIN CRAWL!!! to each their own, but we have NEVER had such a thing, and I am so thankful!! so many kids are "plugged in" on vacation travel, or just running around town with their parents. We spent this time, talking, making up games, or doing impromptu spelling quizes. It is a shame that some choose to watch a movie and choose NOT to interract and get creative!!!