April 14, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II reading - Day Six - April 14th

Its Amy D. time again. I’m curious to see if anyone that didn’t own the books have gone out and bought them. I refer to them quite a bit.

There are a lot of tips in today’s reading. The tip that a reader sent in to show their savings on electricity in a year is eye opening to say the least. I am always turning off lights that have been left on and I am constantly reminding my family that if it is daytime and sunny, you don’t have to turn a light on when you enter a room.

Well enough about my family, let’s get to some great tips that can help you and your family save some money.


Amy wrote about buying items at Army Surplus stores or Amy surplus auctions at very reasonable prices. You can get wonderful deals on camping equipment for example. Now you can simply go online and find the nearest Army Surplus store and see the list of items they are selling and at what price.

My father was a veteran of World War II and we had some items from his time in the Army. I remember an enclosed mosquito netted hammock that he slept in while stationed in New Guinea. We hung it up between two trees in our backyard and we would get in it and read books in the warm summer evenings.

We also had our share of scratchy wool army blankets. They weren’t scratchy for long as my mother covered them with fleece and made pulled quilts out of them with the wool blanket for the batting. These flannel covered wool blankets were the warmest blankets in the winter time.

As a side note, I have all of the V-mail letters that my dad sent home to his mother during the war. I have an old suitcase from that time period filled with them along with his army portraits. I have his canteen, his new testament that he carried around and more items.

When the living room is done being painted and when the graduation party is over next month, I want to somehow scrapbook those V-mail letters. I have even thought about starting another blog and post a V-mail letter each day.


A reader wrote in to say that his transmission went out on his car. He goes to a local mechanic who is very trustworthy. The mechanic called him and said that the only used transmission he could find would cost $600. So the reader called every salvage yard in the area and in10 minutes he located a transmission at a salvage yard some 40 miles away for only $200. When he called his mechanic, he wasn’t surprised. The mechanic said that he didn’t have the time to call every salvage yard nor did he have the time to drive such a distance. The reader drove the distance and picked up the transmission and saved $400.


A reader wrote in to say that she had figured out a way to use the last stub of lipstick by turning it into lip gloss. She puts the lipstick stub into a little microwave bowl with an equal amount of petroleum jelly. I know there are a lot of people that warn about using petroleum products in any beauty products, but I kind of liked this idea and felt it should be shared.


A reader wrote to Amy to tell her how much money they had paid on electricity before they began their tightwad regime. Their annual cost for electricity was $1,443.64. Then they started to do the following:

1. Air drying all of their clothes instead of using the dryer;

2. Used their air conditioner only when the internal temperature of the house went over 85 degrees; and

3. Being vigilant about turning off lights.

The end result was that their yearly bill was reduced to $609.58. They saved $934.06.

This goes to show that turning off lights, unplugging electronics and other small appliances when not in use and by doing the above, it makes a difference. All of these things led to a savings of $2.56 per day. Now that sounds like a small amount but as it has been said, take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Amy talks throughout her books about all the small things that she does that add up to big savings in the end. I truly believe it and have come to live my life by it.


(There isn’t enough room to list 26 tightwad examples so I will highlight a few.)

A is for Apple Oatmeal Bars

1 cup oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups chopped apples
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the first five ingredients, and pat half into an 8 inch by 8 inch pan. Layer on apple and sugar. Crumble remaining mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

G is for Grocery Store Scale

When buying produce by the bag or piece instead of by the pound, weigh several to determine the heaviest. I do this, especially with lettuce. The last time I bought lettuce I was able to buy one that weighed ¼ lb. more than the majority of them.

R is for Rubber Spatula

This is a basic kitchen tool and is very valuable. You can use it to get the last little bit of peanut butter out of a jar for another sandwich and to scrape a bowl when you are making any kind of batter. I can always get at least 1 more pancake or muffin when I scrape the batter bowl with a rubber spatula.

Y is for Yeast

Yeast is one of the best bulk deals available. At the time Amy was able to get bulk yeast for $2.56 a lb. In March I bought a 2 lb. bag of Red Star yeast for only $4.99 at Fareway. Can you believe it? I beat Amy’s price on yeast. I store the yeast in the freezer and when I am ready to use it, I measure out what I need in a bowl and let it come to room temperature.

Tomorrow we will read pages 51 through 57. Some highlights of tomorrow’s reading is saving money at the grocery store versus investing in the stock market. Now that is an interesting combination. Also, Amy writes about meals using the humble potato and how to make good use of what space you have in your home.

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