April 06, 2011

TIghtwad Gazette II Reading - Day One - April 6

Today we begin the Tightwad Gazette Book II. Over the past month I have been taking great care to really put into practice what Amy has suggested. What I mean by this is that I am looking at resources differently and re-purposing and using things up. I’m not just talking about glass jars, but I’m also talking about food and clothing.

I have saved some of my husband’s old jeans that I plan to make into jean skirts. Yeah, I’m looking at everything and I’m having fun doing it.

As in Book One I have underlined my comments. I have put into quotation marks any direct quotes from the book. These are all ideas from Amy Dacyczyn’s Book the Tightwad Gazette II and these are not my ideas nor do I claim that they are.

Let’s get started on Book II.


“Teaching people how to save money through creative use of their resources is much like teaching multiplication.” Once a student masters the process of multiplying, they will be able to solve every multiplication problem they encounter for the rest of their lives.

Many of us have unique problems that we solve with our own unique resources. “When I decided to write about frugality, I made a conscious decision to approach the subject in a unique way. Some of my predecessors wrote about frugality as a collection of tips. But, like answers to multiplication problems, random tips are hard to remember and have limited application. Other predecessors wrote about frugality as a philosophy or process.”

Amy works for a balance in her books of specific examples and a process/philosophy. Even if an example to one person isn’t useful, the larger idea is reinforced.


Do you ever wonder if frugality is more acceptable in one part of the country than in others? Amy wondered about this so she took her mailing list and reviewed where her subscribers lived. The top four areas of the country were Maine (but since this is where they live she didn’t really make a big deal out of it.) The next three areas of the country were New Hampshire, Vermont and Alaska. The least amount of tightwads were located in South Dakota, Washington, D.C., Mississippi and Hawaii.


With the cost of prescription medicines on the rise, Amy wrote this article about the possibility of saving money by getting your prescriptions from “mail order” pharmacies.

Now we have the internet and you can order prescriptions online. However, you must be careful. Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic and an article about the to do’s and don’ts of ordering prescriptions online.

I am presently taking two prescriptions. I get these prescriptions filled at Wal-mart and the cost is only $4.00 each for a 1 month supply. $8 a month in my mind is a bargain for prescriptions. I can order refills on line and have them shipped to me if I want. There is also a reminder for getting the prescriptions refilled.

This is one of those areas where everyone needs to do some research to decide which pharmaceutical source is the best choice for them.


The Tightwad Gazette II was published in 1995 and at the time Amy’s husband could make two cheese pizzas for under $1.00 each and in less than 20 minutes of hands on time.

Amy’s husband uses a food processor to make the dough as he doesn’t have to hand knead it. Here is the recipe:

Thick and Chewy Pizza Dough

1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 pkg. (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine 1/4 cup of the water with the yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast, and let stand until bubbly, about five minutes.

Put the flour, oil, and salt into a food processor, and process about five seconds with a steel blade.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and process about 10 seconds, or until blended.

Turn on the processor and drizzle just enough of the remaining water through the feed tube so the dough forms a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl. Process so that the ball turns around about 25 times.

Put the dough ball onto a 15 inch greased pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or a bowl, and let stand 10 minutes.

Pat the dough out so that it covers the pan, leaving a ridge on the edges. Spread with pizza sauce, and add cheese and toppings.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.

Spaghetti/Pizza Sauce

12 onions
6 green peppers
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
36 tomatoes, skinned
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons each: oregano, sweet basil and thyme
12 bay leaves
5 – 12 ounce cans tomato paste

Grind (as you would with a meat grinder) onions and peppers, and simmer in vegetable oil. Add black pepper.

In a large pot place tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, herbs and onion-pepper mixture. Bring to a good rolling boil. Add tomato paste last, one can at a time. Pour into canning jars and process in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. Or sauce can be frozen. Makes 7 quarts.

I make homemade pizza every Friday night. Here is the link to my post on making homemade pizza.

PAGE 9 – WHAT TO DO WITH . . . .

“Keep this in mind, you don’t have to save every toilet paper tube in the hope of finding a use for it, but if you a need and a toilet paper tube works, why not use it? The point is that you should look to the available materials you have before you spend money.

Several years ago I took toilet paper tubes and cut them into thirds. I covered these with fabric for napkin holders. I know it sounds cheap looking but they turned out great.

Bread Tabs – Use for stitch counters on knitting needles. Or use as a divider on index cards. Secure with tape on both sides.

The Serrated Edge on Wax-Paper Box – Make a picture frame hanger. Cut into small sections, and bend into needed shape. Nail onto a frame with two tiny nails. The serrated edge already has holes for nailing.

Old Blue Jeans – Make coin purses out of the pockets for kids. Remove two pockets from pants, sew a zipper across the top and stitch the sides together.

Old Shower Plastic Liners – I use them as drop cloths for paint jobs or they can be used in the back yard to rake leaves into. Just pick up all four corners and dump the leaves into your pickup truck for dumping or burning.

Worn Tube Socks – If the toes wear out, first turn them inside out, cut off worn toe, and resew on a curve. Same sock, just shorter.

Margarine Containers – Using a paper punch make holes in the top
of the lid at one side. This makes a great shaker container for cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on toast.


A friend told Amy about his theory that waxing a car frequently would prevent rust. Amy decided to see if this theory was correct. She consulted the experts, Consumer Reports.

Here is what they found, if you lived in the snow belt areas of our country and you washed your car infrequently, 25% of those cars would suffer significant rust. However if you washed your car frequently, only 8% would get significant rust.

Of the frequently washed group, those that were also waxed often were not better off in terms of rust.

So the lesson is to keep your car washed and be careful to rinse road salt off of the underbody and from under the fenders.

During warm weather, I wash my car the old fashioned way – with a bucket of soap specifically for washing your car and a garden hose. It doesn’t take me long to wash my Kia Sportage and I always feel I do a better job than the automatic car wash. I save around $5.00 each time, even using my own supplies and water.


Put three pieces of charcoal in your refrigerator and three pieces in your freezer for absorbing unwanted odors. Replace every month and put the old ones in the grill.


Save the liquid from a jar of pickles when the pickles are gone. Add a thinly sliced cucumber and pack the slices back down in the pickle jar with its liquid. Refrigerate for four days and you have a jar of pickles for the price of a cucumber.

For April 7, read page 12 through 19.

Tomorrow’s reading covers something that is very important in order to figure the price of baked goods. Amy gives a chart to show the breakdown of the costs of baking supplies such as flour, oatmeal, baking powder and so on. She goes into detail to show how you can compare the cost per pound, per weight per cup, price per cup, price per tablespoon and price per teaspoon.

Also Amy goes into detail about making a solar box cooker. I found this article very interesting.


HDNelson said...

I did the leftover pickle juice/cucumber thing last weekend, and we tried them last night - they were great! My daughter was amazed!

How long, though, can I keep reusing the juice?

Lisa @Cents To Save said...

I am enjoying your review and opinions of Amy's Books. Very interesting. Are you going to make a Solar Cooker?

Martha said...

@HD Nelson - Since the pickles are originally pickled in a brine which preserves them (the pickle juice that is), I would say you could reuse it several times. Sooner or later the pickle juice will get used up.

I would probably use it 3 times and then it wouldn't be enough to use with additional vegetables.

But if you're in my household you would definitely have to tell everyone to only use a fork to dig out the cucumbers and not to use their fingers as this would add bacteria to the mixture.

Since we are coming into "potato salad" season, mix in a little pickle juice with the mayo for flavoring. That is really good. Also try adding some other vegetables to the pickle juice such as some thinly slice carrot sticks.

@Lisa@Cents to Save - I am thinking about it. It sounds like it would be interesting to try out, although my biggest problem would be to put it in a location where my black lab couldn't get into it.