June 08, 2011

Tightwad Gazette II - Day 33 - June 8th

Well, here it is, the last reading of the Tightwad Gazette II. Amy ends the book with a discussion of wealth and frugality. I quoted quite a bit of what she wrote because I wanted to get her point across.

Page 263 – The Twilight Phone Zone

In this article, Amy talked about the mire of phone companies and long distance rates and researching to get the best deal. This advice is still true today, except now there are cell phones and cell phone companies that we must deal with. Combine that with whether to have both a land line and a cell phone or to have a cell phone or a land line alone and you end up getting a little blurry eyed trying to compare companies and deals.

There are still bargains to be had today and you need to spend some time researching what your “needs” are. Do you need all of those minutes and extras? Can you live with a basic cell phone or do you “need” a smart phone? What can you live without and so on?

It may take time to do the research necessary to find a cell phone or land line service that fits into your budget. But the savings alone is with the time you spend doing this research.


When you have burned on gunk on pots and pans, simply put enough water into a pot to cover the stain. Add 2 tablespoons of dishwasher powder detergent. Boil for 15 to 30 minutes. This also works for dirty burner plates if boiled in a pot of water.

I have been doing this for years but without adding the dishwasher powder. Usually I pour hot water into the pot or pan and let it soak while we eat. If the “gunk” is still on the pans while I am cleaning up, I then boil the water. All of this can be done while you are cleaning up or eating and it doesn’t take long at all. Then I pour the boiling water contents down the drain. The boiling water helps to keep the drains unclogged.


A reader wrote in to say that instead of using parsley in a recipe, she uses chopped celery leaves.


Amy says that the title of the soup may not sound tempting, but it is actually one of the best soups she knows. “It is delicious and has an appealing orange-gold color.”

Tuna-Cheddar Chowder

2 carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the carrot and onion in butter until the onion is translucent. Mix in the flour. Add the chicken broth and milk. Heat and stir constantly until thick and bubbly. Add the tuna, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce and salt, and heat through. Add the cheese and stir until it melts. Serves 4.

If you don’t like tuna, I think that this would taste good with crab or imitation crab meat. We can get imitation crab at a fair price. You could always stir in some under cooked broccoli for a change too.


When Amy was growing up, her family lived in a large house, drank reconstituted powdered milk, took box lunches to school and ate oatmeal for breakfast. For a brief time, Amy was upset that she didn’t get to wear the latest fashion trends, but then she noticed something. Kids that wore all the new stuff lived in small houses and she lived in a big house.

Instead of feeling upset over not having the latest fashions she began to feel more fortunate due to their big house. Her simplistic view as a child was that people who wore new clothes lived in small houses and people who wore second hand clothes lived in big houses. Of course this isn’t always true.

What is true is that people who put their surplus money into short term extravagances rarely build the same wealth as those who put their money in things with lasting value.

Amy goes on to say that “we still think that frugality has to do with being poor, and that wealth and frugality are mutually exclusive terms. The fact is that income level has very little to do with whether a person chooses frugality.”

I have rented the series “Cranford” from Netflix and it is about the life of several women in a small town in England during the 1840’s. The women are constantly referring to how they live their lives with “elegant frugality.” I love that phrase and to me it means living a frugal life that is still a pleasant and elegant life.

Some people think that when they cut back, that they are now poor instead of thinking that they are living a life of frugality. It is all in the perspective. Some people think that living a life of frugality gives kids low self esteem.

“Wealth, on the other hand, is not how much you earn, its how much you accumulate.” A man did a study and said that the typical wealthy person lives in a middle class house, marries once and stays married, owns a small factory, chain of stores, or service company and lives his entire life in one town. His money is seldom inherited.

“Americans tend to think that frugality has to do with being poor, we see it as an admission of economic failure. We think only poor people go to the thrift shops, only poor people bring home a good find from the dump, and only poor people cut their kids’ hair.”

“Because we don’t want to be seen as economic failures, we spend our money the way we mistakenly think the wealthy do – usually on day to day extravagances.”

“It is true that most wealthy people buy a few more luxuries than do poor people, but the total percentage of income they spend on extravagances is extremely small. Consequently, a person with a low income and a wealthy attitude would live modestly as possible to create a maximum surplus to save and invest.”

“To be successful and happy in the frugal lifestyle, we have to be proud and confident in our choices. We must have a clear view of our goals, and we must understand the tradeoffs we’re making. If we do this, we’ll feel no shame about being frugal. Instead we’ll understand that we have a wealthy attitude.”

And so ends the Tightwad Gazette II. We start the Tightwad Gazette III next week. I need a few days to get some sewing done and I want to post about what I am sewing. I haven’t sewn for a very long time and I am anxious to revive my sewing skills.

I have enjoyed re-reading and getting a refresher course on all of Amy’s books. I hope it has been beneficial and encouraging to others.


Jean5643 said...

I like the way you explain wealth, I've never come across such a way of looking at this subject.
I think one can enjoy being frugal once you are weaned off luxuries as I find that I almost experience a purification of the soul and of my mind because your food becomes simpler, your relationships become more important and I become more industrious repairing my old clothes rather than buying new ones and improvising or making your own things rather than buying them.
My husband and I have just retired and we realize we have to cut our budget quite considerably as our medical expenses are rather high.
I now want to get rid of cable and rather subscribe to netflix which is +- $11/month, I'm going to cancel our cell phone contract and switch to Tracfone SVC for seniors which only costs $6.66/month for service and the phone $14.99, I'm buying a second hand bicycle with a front basket to go shopping on to save petrol and instead of eating out for entertainment we have started playing bridge on a Friday night.
I find living a frugal life is work in progress and can be an enthusiastic challenge and very rewarding.

Paula said...

"Marry once and stay married." I so agree with that. So much of the poverty I see is displayed by people who have taken marriage lightly, having multiple broken unions, and previous obligations carrying over into new relationships.

Even with the FIRST divorce, you suddenly have the same number of people requiring two places to live and two sets of utilities.

When people choose to live outside God's plan, they usually start paying the price immediately.