April 27, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 14 - April 27th

Without much of a preamble, let’s get straight into the reading for today. I love the article Amy wrote on Selective Squeamishness. Here we go.


Amy talks about finding cheap places to sleep on a vacation. For her family of 8 they have no desire to go on a long trip and if they did, they have relatives that have told they would be happy to host them.

Amy gave some options for cheap travel lodging.

I’m going out on a limb here with Amy’s article as I have no idea if all of these options are still available.

1. College Dorms – Most rooms are empty during the summer.

2. YMCA Lodging.

3. Hostels

4. Vacation Home Exchange

We stay at hotels on vacation and we get discounts through AARP or AAA. We check to make sure we are getting a good deal on the room and we always make sure we are getting free breakfast and coffee. At breakfast I always take a banana or apple along with a bagel for a snack during the day.

When we were first married our vacations involved travelling to visit family, (my parents or my in laws) so we stayed in their homes. Other times we would tent camp.

My advice is to do some research. One time we were going to rent a cabin but found out that a hotel room each night was cheaper than the cabin. That was fine with me as there is one thing I don’t like to do when we are taking a vacation break, and that is cook and clean.


Amy wrote in this article about saving money on sanitary products by purchasing a reusable rubber cup called the “Keeper” to replace tampons. She and her female staff members tried it and liked it. They saved money and kept more garbage from the landfill. This rubber cup comes in two sizes – before childbirth and after childbirth.

Amy also suggested that if you didn’t like this idea, but needed to save money and also wanted to keep more garbage out of the landfill, you could make your own sanitary napkins.

I am coming to the point in my life that I hope that I won’t need these products much longer. Yea!!!!! So, I would not invest in a rubber cup to replace tampons. However, for a light day, I have definitely thought about making my own sanitary pads.

Here is the “Keeper” at Amazon.

And here is another version called the “Diva.”


Amy wrote an article about how manufacturers’ are shrinking package sizes. And it is still going on today. It makes you wonder if pretty soon there won’t be anything in those packages at the store.

Amy reminds us to use unit pricing to compare prices from brand to brand.


Call carpet stores for carpet samples. You can use them in cars, bathrooms, doorways or cut to fit benches or chairs. When I was in college I bought a bunch of these carpet samples for about 10 cents each. I think I spent around $4.00 for 40 of them and used duct tape on the back to “attach” them. The end result was a huge area rug that went in my dorm room over the cold tile floor. When I left college I sold it to an underclassman.


When one of her children didn’t finish an apple, Amy would put it in the fridge and then make a personalized microwave apple crisp for that child later on. When she shared this with a neighbor, the neighbor responded with “I wouldn’t put her germy apple back in the refrigerator!” Amy wondered if this woman ever kissed her child if she was afraid of germs.

Amy termed this Selective Squeamishness. When she was on the “Phil Donahue Show” Amy shared that she would take a cookie with a burned bottom and scrape off the burnt area so it could be eaten. The audience responded with “Eeeew.” My grandmother would do this with toast if it got burnt and then she would butter it and hand it to us. We didn’t think anything of it. Makes you wonder if these people would have ever made it through the Depression.

On the same show Amy explained how you could take the jam that remains in the bottom of a jar and warm it, add milk to the jar and shake it and then freeze it for a popsicle. The audience groaned.

I remember watching this show that day. I had just bought her first book and I was excited to listen to the interview. I was shocked at how the audience reacted to her, but I do remember something Phil Donahue said at the end of the show. He told the audience something to the effect of yeah, you may disagree with Amy and think she is different, but I bet you don’t have your house paid off and a lot of money in the bank like she does.

“People have expressed squeamishness over my practice of making soup from leftovers, yet if the same soup had been assembled from virgin ingredients, they would regard it as good home cooking.”

Some people would never wear garage sale clothes because they feel that they are germy. However they will try on brand new clothes in a store that have probably been tried on by other people.

Germs are unavoidable in our lives. We can get them from telephones, eating in restaurants, on door handles and kitchen counters.

“The things that we regard as odd or germy are often unique to our culture.”

“So . . . next time an idea about saving money seems gross to you, consider whether you are merely being selective, and whether you accept a similar activity as okay. In other words, think before you squeam.”

For tomorrow read pages 117 through 127.


HDNelson said...

My gosh - the apple thing is a great idea! I've got a six-year-old who sometimes takes a bigger piece of fruit than he really can eat.

I never have gotten too concerned about the germ thing...after all, that's what heat, microwaves, and hot water are for.

Granny said...

This is a great post. For years I've made soup from leftovers. To me it's the smart thing to do. The past few years people have become so infatuated with using antibacterial soaps that their systems can't build up an immunity to germs.

I just discovered your blog and love reading all the information you share.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I remember watching this show on Phil Donahue and how impressed I was with this family. They had a rule of buying only one item of junk food per grocery trip. They lived off the land to a degree and bartered excess, for things they needed more of such as such as extra berries for fish a neighbor had caught and had too much of. They also told of how they bought basic food substances in bulk.It didn't sound as if they used convenience foods at all. I was shocked when in spite of all this an audience member stood up and said something to the effect of "Your children are malnourished!" I think he was either jealous or a planted troll.