June 04, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 31 - June 4th

Cuban Bread
Today’s reading has probably the most interesting advice that Amy could give and that is her analysis of Feast or Famine spending. I quoted a lot of that article as everything she said was so important and putting it into my own words would have watered down Amy’s advice. I need to read that column more than once as I fall short many times so sometimes I need a little kick in the pants to get back on the frugal band wagon.


Amy gives her recipe for Cuban bread which takes only 1 ½ hours from start to finish.

Cuban Bread

5 to 6 cups all purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups hot water (120 to 130 degrees)
1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds

Mix 4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Pour in hot water and beat 100 strokes, or 3 minutes with a mixer. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead 8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Divide into two pieces. Shape into two round loaves, and place on a baking sheet. Cut an X ½ inch deep on top with a sharp knife. Brush with water, and sprinkle with seeds. Place on the middle shelf of a COLD oven. Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until deep golden brown.


Put your dented ping pong balls in boiling water to pop the dent.


Amy used powdered laundry soaps as she felt it was cheaper per load and that liquids were more expensive. More and more people were buying liquids because it was easier to pre-treat clothes by pouring some of the detergent directly on to the stains. So in an effort to see if powdered was really the least expensive, Amy went to the store armed with some very high value coupons.

Amy found out that trying to compare what liquid detergent is the better buy can be difficult when each of the caps are different sizes.

Now the liquid laundry soaps let you know the “load” size per bottle so you can easily compare loads to loads instead of trying to figure out how much detergent fills a cap. I use less per load than what is recommended when I use liquid detergent. As a side point lately I have been able to get name brand laundry detergent very, very cheap as there have been some great high value coupons along with some great deals. Recently I bought three 150 oz. jugs of Purex laundry soap for only 99 cents each.

To get the most out of your liquid laundry soap, after pouring the measured detergent into the cap, toss the cap into the washing machine to get every last drop of detergent out of the cap. Just remember to remove it before you put the clothes in the dryer.


Amy makes an interesting comment in this article that I think needs to be pointed out first. “Frugality and bad economic times are so closely associated that I can actually gauge the severity of a drop in the G.N.P. by the boost in the number of media inquiries I get. People spend lavishly during good times because they believe that it’s better to have splurged and gone bust than never to have splurged at all.”

Amy calls this style of spending Feast or Famine. Here are some of the problems that can arise from this style of spending:

1. It leaves you with little to survive the times when your income drops. If you save money during the good times, then you will be able to weather the bad times.

2. “Continually changing rules creates stress.” For example, if your kids are used to getting whatever they want and you become unemployed, their constant whining about not being given money for anything they want is stressful.

3. “Although some frugal activities can be quickly adopted in times of famine, others can’t.” Examples of these activities are gardening which might take a year or two before it produces well. It may take more than a year to stockpile yard sale clothing so you will only rarely need to buy new again. “It takes time and patience to convert uncooperative family members.”

4. “When frugality is practiced only during unemployment, it acquires a stigma. Family members associate meatless meals and yard sale clothing with bad times. Often the terror of unemployment isn’t about not having enough to eat or losing a house, but about having to do all that ‘low-class penny-pinching stuff. Conversely, when frugality is practiced even in good times, the family learns to enjoy it and stretch the possibilities with their creativity.”

Amy goes on to say that “a tightwad tends to be fearless in an uncertain economy. He knows that as long as there is enough money for basic needs, he can live quite happily without luxuries. He knows that there will always be Christmas because he can create it from nothing. He knows he can wring more miles from his old car. He knows he can feed his family well from his extensive repertoire of hamburger recipes. Most important, he doesn’t feel like a victim of economic circumstances beyond his control. While he might dip into savings for a period of time, his lifestyle need not change. He is in control.”

We will cover pages 250 – 259 for our discussion on June 6th. We are coming close to the end of this book and I am wondering how everyone feels about moving on to the Tightwad Gazette III. I would post about 3 times a week from that book instead of nearly every night. Let me know how you feel. Remember if you don’t want to leave a comment, you can always e-mail me.

1 comment:

Antie Eboo said...

I read the Complete Tightwad Gazette that I borrowed from the library (more than once). I don't own a copy, so you posting all these gems online makes it easier to reference for me.
Please continue!