June 02, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 30 - June 2nd.

In today’s reading Amy tells how her husband shops for groceries each month. Most of the grocery shopping is done by her husband, Jim. There are other great tips about an easy healthy snack along with how to make toddler pajama bottoms from a man’s knit shirt.


When talking about grocery budgets, Amy defines hers as purchasing strictly food. She has a separate budget for pets and toiletries/paper products. At the time of the writing of the book in 1995 her monthly grocery budget averaged $180.00 a month for their family of eight. How did she do it? They never ate out or bought hot lunches at school. They gardened and shopped sales and stocked up when there were good deals.

I remember the first time that I read this book that I was struggling to feed our family of 4 on $200 a month. I was in awe of how much it cost Amy to feed her family.

Her monthly budget for personal care items was $25. Her budget for pet food was $30.

They achieved their low food budget through a combination of scratch cooking, gardening, semi-vegetarianism, never wasting food and other strategies that were listed in her first book. The one most important tactic was smart shopping. She gave credit to her price book to compare deals at local stores. “We realized it’s possible to buy many foods for half of what most people pay, if we buy them at the right place and the right time.”

They shop a few stores to get their great deals but they don’t make special trips to these stores. Instead they always timed grocery shopping when they did other errands. They shopped a natural food store to get bulk spices and such, a surplus and salvage chain store that sells odd lots of food to pick up very cheap cereal, a bakery thrift store for bread products and a Shop n Save store that had a large selection of high quality store brands. They also shopped a Warehouse store. Each store had its advantages as to prices on certain products such as tomato paste and cheese. It was by compiling a price book that they learned what items were priced at the best price at each store.

They never went out of their way to shop. They always combined trips to the stores with trips to do other errands also.

Most people would say that they don’t have the time to drive “all over the state” to hunt down bargains. But Amy counters with the fact that when they go to all of the stores, this is a once a month shopping trip that takes about 4 hours along with the other errands. Side trips to the store for the rest of the month add up to another 2 hours. So they spend 6 hours each month grocery shopping which isn’t bad when you think about.

I agree with Amy’s style of shopping. If I have some time and I am passing Wal-mart or another grocery store in our town, I will drop in to see if there are any mark downs and unadvertised sales. I always keep my coupon notebook with me so that I can take advantage of a great deal matched up with a coupon.


Take ½ cup honey, ½ cup peanut butter and ¾ to 1 ½ cups of dry milk. Combine all of these ingredients and roll into small balls. Roll the balls in coconut, sunflower seeds or nuts.


This reader said that while stationed in Germany she found that the European coffee was ground to an almost talcum powder like fineness, which makes it possible to use much less. Because of this, this woman bought extra find grind and then re-ground it to a powder at home before using it in her coffee machine.


This is a really nice idea from a reader of the Tightwad Gazette. When the reader’s sister was married, she took the half-dead roses from her sister’s bouquet after the ceremony. At home, she rooted them by cutting off the heads, making a clean cut on the bottoms, dipping the fresh cut bottoms in a rooting hormone, and putting them in a pot that was half Perlite and half soil. She kept these moist until rooted and then planted them in a shaded location in her garden. Then on her sister’s first wedding anniversary, she presented her sister with 12 rose bushes from her wedding bouquet.

PAGE 237 – 20 – 20 TELEVISION

Amy was amazed how many people regarded cable TV as a necessity. The only situation Amy could think of at the time when it would be needed was if the reception in your area was so poor, it seemed to be the only way to rise above the “fuzzy blob.”

Amy suggested getting high powered “Rabbit ears” to solve the problem. As always Amy recommended seeking the minimum level or finding the cheapest satisfactory solution.

Well, today, you have more options than Amy did back in 1995. If you can’t afford cablevision, it’s no big deal in my mind. You can watch a lot of programs and movies on the internet. You can even “rent” TV programs from Netflix or better yet if you want a movie you can borrow it from the public library. If I could only afford one luxury and had to choose between cablevision and the internet, I would choose the internet.


A reader wrote in to say that you can make toddler pajama pants from hubby’s old knit shirts.

Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat. Use a pair of your toddler’s pants as a pattern and trace onto the shirt allowing extra for seams and the waistband.

Cut the two pant legs out. Sew up the side of each. Put one leg inside the other, right sides together. Pin and sew the crotch.

To finish, sew waistband down, to form casing for elastic, leaving a 1 inch opening to insert the elastic.

For June 4th, we will be discussing pages 240 through 249. I will post my response to yesterday’s Case Scenario on June 3rd. I also have had a really, really great week saving money on groceries and toiletries using coupons. I got several items free as I was patient to wait for sales to team up some really great manufacturer’s coupons. I will have to post how I did it sometime soon.

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