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The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy…
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The Complete Tightwad Gazette

by Amy Dacyczyn

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The Complete Tightwad Gazette has got to be the best purchase I have ever made, with the possible exception of my kindle, and I didn't even pay full price. Thanks to a gift voucher I won for Powell's Books, I was able to acquire this book for the cost of postage.

When I first received this book, I was advised to read it cover to cover first, then go back through it with a notebook and write down all tips I think are relevant to my family. I have just finished reading it for the first time and I can understand why I was advised to read it this way. This three-in-one book is so chock full of useful information that I would have quickly been overwhelmed if I had started copying tips from the get-go.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette is not a dry, boring list of hints and tips. Rather it is a seemingly random selection of articles, written in an engaging and personal style that keeps the reader entertained and prevents boredom. The length of book seems daunting at first, but the articles capture the imagination so well that, despite the more than nine hundred pages, one is left hungry for more.

Off the top of my head, my top ten tightwad gazette tips are:

• The universal recipes. I love these because they are so easily adapted to utilise whatever I have in my cupboard.
• Selective Squeamishness. So your potato has a brown bit on it. Cut around it - the rest of the spud is still good. Same goes for fruit that has had one or two bites taken out - no need to discard the entire thing.
• Dumpster Diving (or scrounging trash piles left out for pick-up). It is absolutely amazing the stuff people will throw away. We have found some perfectly good toys, clothes and furniture this way - some with minor faults (such as a missing draw handle), others in brand new condition. We even got ourselves a perfectly good working vacuum cleaner this way.
• Thrift Stores and Garage Sales. Second hand does not mean second best. Plus, your wallet will love you!
• Price Book. Having a price book is a great way to keep track of when and where various food items are cheapest.
• Learn to Sew. Knowing how to repair that small tear will make your kids' clothes last so much longer - and you will be able to utilise the material when clothes are no longer useable.
• Make time to cook. Even if it means getting up a little earlier in the morning. Home-cooked snacks are a lot cheaper than store-bought and your kids will like them much better.
• Libraries. Join your local library. They generally stock the most popular books. If, like me, your tastes are a little less common, you can still save money by getting what you can from the library and only buying those books they don't have.
• Re-use. With a little imagination and a small amount of effort, almost everything that comes into your home can be re-purposed. Turkey nets can be used to drain bath toys, a bunch of six pack rings tied together are strong enough to make a hammock, old milk cartons can be used to make dog toys or toss-and-catch games.
• Use Less. Products (like laundry detergents, shampoos and so on) generally have a recommended amount per use. However, these are not always accurate. There are two reasons for this. First, they want to sell more product and the more you use at one time, the sooner you will have to replenish. Secondly, they are unable to take account of your individual circumstances - how dirty your hair is for example or how hard or soft your water is. Experiment with different amounts of products until you find the minimum amount you need to do the job. Doing this will save you loads of money.

Not every tip in this book will suit every reader, but I challenge you to read it without finding a single article useful. ( )
  seldombites | Apr 21, 2013 |
This has been a very enjoyable book to read. I have been able to save more money then I ever have using her principles. Another great book that I would recommend is called, "1001 Best Ways, Volume 1" by author Paul D. Angles. This is a collection of responses to life's changes and challenges. Here is a good tip on saving money: "Avoid eating out at work. If you can bring leftovers from the previous nights meal, or make something at home and pack it to take with you. Packed lunches are MUCH cheaper than 10-15 for a meal daily. You’ll only spend 2-5 by packing." http://1001bestways.com/
  Robyn26 | Jun 26, 2012 |
This book is pretty darn comprehensive if you're looking for tips and tricks to save money. I would suggest it to folks with kids, as many of the tips were about bringing up children (cloth diapers, cheap toys, how to feed kids for less, etc) or home/car owners (how to fix your cars and homes as cheaply as possible). The book is a compilation of newsletters written by Dacyczyn in the 90s, and it definitely shows in the many anachronisms in this book. Hilarious to read about 29c stamps, earning 5% interest in savings accounts, and saving on "long distance" phone calls! ( )
  lemontwist | Dec 20, 2010 |
I am still trying to get through this enormous book of information! During a downturn in the economy like this, everybody should read this book. It has so many helpful hints and tips for saving money--things I should have been doing many years ago, but didn't. For instance....if you have a pair of pantyhose with a hole in one toe.....cut the "bad leg" off at the thigh, and wear with another pair of pantyhose with one good leg....making one entire pair of pantyhose! ( )
  edorman75 | Jul 16, 2009 |
As many other reviewers have said, this book is compilation of frugal tips, and some tips are quite dated (the "whether you should buy a personal computer" article is a particularly good laugh). Also, some tips seem excessive - washing Ziploc bags, writing a letter rather than making a phone call (cannot even imagine trying to tell my mother-in-law that one!), never buying cold cereal, etc. And while many of these tips will be over-the-top for your average person, what I enjoyed was the author's tone and her explanations of how she raises her children with a frugal lifestyle. It's certainly made me think about my spending decisions, so I'd recommend this as more of a "one way to be completely frugal" rather than a "do this exactly" book. ( )
  lalawe | May 3, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375752250, Paperback)

Though tightwad seems like a derogatory term, author Amy Dacyczyn wants to assure you that it's okay to be a penny-pincher. This self-styled "Frugal Zealot" wrote and published The Tightwad Gazette for over six years to spread the frugal gospel. Each issue contained tips from her personal experience and from her many readers. The wealth of information contained in all these issues has been compiled into one volume for the first time. You'll find literally thousands of ideas for saving money, from the simple or practical to the difficult or bizarre. On the simple, practical side, Dacyczyn advises would-be tightwads to keep track of price trends at several stores in a "price book" and to buy in bulk when prices are low. Other, stranger offerings include tips for turning margarine-tub lids into playing-card holders, old credit cards into guitar picks, and six-pack rings into a hammock or volleyball net. More helpful are inexpensive recipes for making homemade versions of pricey, well-known products and ingenious ways to fix broken or damaged items. The book's disorganization encourages browsing, but the detailed index will point you to the exact page for specific items. Dacyczyn's occasional "thriftier than thou" tone is balanced by the friendly support for frugality that infuses every page. She even reminds her readers that it's okay to "sweat the small stuff"--because this small stuff is the essence of frugality. --C.B. Delaney

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:57 -0400)

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Shows how to save money by recycling, shopping for bargains, and finding less-expensive alternatives to store-bought foods and products.

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