Lessons Learned From “The Tightwad Gazette”

January 28, 2010 by Chelsea  
Filed under Frugality, Piggy Bank

tightwadgazette Lessons Learned From The Tightwad Gazette

I read The Complete Tightwad Gazette Lessons Learned From The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn over two years ago and it completely changed my perspective about money and frugality.  The Tightwad Gazette is a compilation of newsletters written over many years by Amy and bound into one book. It’s a thick book that is completely fascinating. I would like to own it one day but for now I try to check it out from the library and re-read it once a year. Here are a few things I have learned through my readings.

There is nothing wrong with leftovers and substitutions in the kitchen
Amy encourages her readers to use up what they have and be creative in the kitchen. I learned that you can save the juice from canned fruits and use it in sweet muffins in place of water or milk. Now I often put juice from canned peaches in my banana muffins and reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. I also learned that you can make various soups, quiches and muffins using leftovers from previous meals.

Setting up a price book can save you money at the grocery store.
When we moved to our current area over two years ago, I diligently created a price book to be familiar with products and stores in our area. I have since relaxed on my price book, as I can list most of the prices at Aldis, but it would be helpful to re-create one so that I know a stock-up price for couponing.

When you need to solve a problem first look at what you have before running to the store to buy something.
One example that she listed was creating birthday decorations from leftover colored school papers. She also had a lot of tricks for remodeling your home using what you have. Lately I have made homemade toys by using things from around the house.

Perhaps cloth diapers aren’t so bad after all.
I had never considered utilizing cloth diapers until I read this book. At the time our apartment didn’t have its own washer/dryer so the laundromat bill would have canceled out any savings from using cloth. But when we moved to our current apartment I started researching cloth diapers and bought a few supplies for my kids. I have to admit we only cloth diaper half of the time, but my diaper bill is a lot lower than it could be. Simplemom has a wonderful series on the mechanics of cloth diapering.

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned from this book. I would be interested to know if others have read this, and if so, what did you learn?

Read more ways to save at Life As Mom’s Frugal Friday.

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17 Comments on "Lessons Learned From “The Tightwad Gazette”"

  1. Hannah on Thu, 28th Jan 2010 11:07 pm 

    It’s been quite a few years since I’ve read Tightwad Gazette, but I still remember her saying that we can almost always do with less….a little less water in the bathtub, a little less detergent in the dishwasher. Don’t use so much just out of habit…instead, challenge yourself to use a little less and thereby conserve what you have. A great principle!

    (we use cloth diapers and are really seeing the savings!)

  2. Leslie on Thu, 28th Jan 2010 11:20 pm 

    That book really changed how I thought about a lot of things. I had always thought we were fairly frugal but after reading it, I realized that I really had a long way to go and lots to improve on. Very inspiring book!

  3. Sara on Thu, 28th Jan 2010 11:21 pm 

    I LOVE The Tightwad Gazette! I think I have to go rent that book again!

  4. Budgets are the New Black on Fri, 29th Jan 2010 8:15 am 

    I JUST checked this book out at the library a couple days ago. It’s still sitting on my counter… I love that tip of using fruit juices in muffins and decreasing the sugar. Can’t wait to dive in to the book.

  5. Amy Lynne on Fri, 29th Jan 2010 9:35 am 

    I love reading the Tightwad Gazette. I’m only about half way through, but it has reinforced many little things for me. I used to save Ziploc bags some of the time, but now I do it for any bag that didn’t have meat in it.

  6. Chelsea on Fri, 29th Jan 2010 1:46 pm 

    I have to agree that after reading this book I realized I’m definitely not as frugal as I think I am. And we also try to go by the theory of making do with just a little bit less.

  7. Christy on Sun, 31st Jan 2010 12:25 am 

    I bought all 3 of her books many years ago and they truly have made a huge difference in how I live. I reuse plastic bags of all sorts, liners of cereal boxes, aluminum foil etc. just to name a few. I can’t recommend them enough!

  8. Clotilda Jamcracker on Fri, 7th Dec 2012 1:30 pm 

    I read the tightwad gazette cover to cover nine thousand million zillion times and I saved so much money

  9. Clotilda Jamcracker on Fri, 7th Dec 2012 1:36 pm 

    oopsie, anyway I used the chinese prefold diapers with safety pins and used cloth diaper wipes. The diaper covers that I used were called pro wraps and they have these side gussets to prevent leaks. I thought that using cloth diapers wasn’t so bad, until I had twins and three in diapers, but for the most part, I just threw them in the wash and hung the covers to dry. Newborn poop just dissolves in the washer, and big toddler poop can be plopped into the toilet. I used these rice paper liners sometimes and that kept a dry barrier between the butt and the cloth diaper.

    Personally, I think that disposable diapers stink up the house. Cloth diapers are wonderful. You can change your baby every single time they pee and you don’t have to worry about wasting money. You don’t have to sit there and let your baby sit in a diaper of pee pee.

    You never run out of diapers and have to run to the store and you certainly don’t feel like you’re trashing the planet.

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