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The Complete Tightwad Gazette [Paperback]

Amy Dacyczyn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 15 1998
At last--the long-awaited complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!

In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life." Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips and topics, such as:

Travel for tightwads¸ How to transform old blue jeans into potholders and quilts¸ Ten painless ways to save $100 this year¸ Picture-framing for pennies¸ A comparison of painting versus re-siding your house¸ Halloween costumes from scrounged materials¸ Thrifty window treatments¸ Ways to dry up dry-cleaning costs¸ Inexpensive gifts¸ Creative fundraisers for kids¸ Slashing your electric bill¸ Frugal fix-its¸ Cutting the cost of college¸ Moving for less¸ Saving on groceries¸ Gift-wrapping for tightwads¸ Furniture-fusion fundamentals¸ Cheap breakfast cereals¸ Avoiding credit card debt¸ Using items you were about to throw away (milk jugs, plastic meat trays, and more!)¸ Recipes galore, from penny-pinching pizza to toaster pastries¸ And much much more . . .

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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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her children are lucky Sept. 26 2003
I am disturbed by some of the reviews that cruelly state that Mrs. Dacyczyn's children are being shortchanged--one reviewer called her childrearing philosophy child neglect and borderline abuse.
I think the Dacyczyn children are very blessed to be raised in a family where worldly values are put in perspective and the important things in life are stressed. My daughter and I are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's books together, and while reading the Tightwad books, I was struck at how many parallels there are between the beloved classic books and the Dacyczyn family's values.
Children do not need fancy, expensive new clothes to develop properly. There is nothing wrong with used clothes, in the first place. Secondly, Mrs. Dacyczyn makes clear her clothing philosophy in a little article about how she spoke with all her children about what they wanted to wear on the first day of school. She spent a good deal of time planning this with them, and actually made a special item (a vest, I think) so they would feel special. She didn't have to throw money at them to show that she loved them. She spent time talking and listening.
As far as the bath issue... hello, children do NOT need a bath every single day. Where did that myth come from, anyway? It does not jeapordize their health if they don't get scrubbed every night. Most of the people I know give their kids a bath "as-needed" during the week, and then on Saturday night so they're extra-clean for church on Sunday morning. Baths are more frequent in the summer, when they're outside getting dirty, and less in the winter (sometimes only once a week in our house) when they spend all their time inside, and I'd rather not send them to bed with wet hair. It's not so much a matter of frugality as it is common sense.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
When I decided to stay at home with our daughter ,instead of putting her in a daycare, I knew it would be tough. Our income wasn't much but our family was more important than the money. I quit working and did a lot of research for money saving ideas. When I came across Amy's books I could hardly contain my excitement. There are tons of great ideas. It has become my second bible and a divingboard for my own creativity. My husband has been able to spend more time at home and less time working. Lots of family time! Our child is happier. Our marriage is happier. At a yearly income of $15-18,000 (never been on welfare), we are a testiment to the fact that money really doesn't matter.
Yes, some of the ideas can seem extreme. I think when you prioritize you life, you'll see it really isn't. If you are truely serious about changing your life/situation, you'll open your mind to anything.
This book isn't just great for stay-at-home parents, but college kids, newlyweds, even folks who want to get rid of debts. I recommend the Tightwad Gazette books to anyone who wants to save money.
The true tightwad will make a run for the library. I also recomment the monthly Tightwad Newletter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Changed My Life Nov. 16 2003
I can't believe it's been 7 years since I read this. I never understood how destructive it was to keep up with the Joneses. Actually, I wasn't even about that. Amy D. made me put things into perspective and made me realize that sometimes we just accept things the way they are and don't look for different ways to do things. Madison Avenue doesn't help. I am on my way to retiring at 45 and have noted no discomfort or scarifice by being frugal. This book was a springboard to frugality and peace of mind. THANKS AMY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tips, poorly organized Aug. 29 2003
There are some great simple ways to save money in here. A lot of them I don't have the time for, but things like making your own household cleaners and the like can really add up to some savings. I really wish though this book was set up in a more organized fashion. Grouping hints into categories, i.e., automotive, furniture, cleaners, etc. and then putting in a table of contents would make this a much easier to use book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure chest of information Nov. 28 2003
By A Customer
I have read lots of books on frugality since "The Tightwad Gazette" books first came out. Almost all of the books I've read have been helpful. Amy D's is one of the best. Some of her ideas are a little different, and not all apply to me. What I liked about her book is the HUGE wealth of tips and new ideas offered. She writes in a witty style, her illustrations are delightful and helpful. I liked the way Amy explains an idea or new concept rather than just coughing up a bunch of "new" tips. I enjoyed her articles on Christmas. (She is right on about the fulfillment curve.) She has some nice craft ideas, I have made blue jean potholders for years now. The Dacyczyns are goal oriented, and I realized after reading her work that I needed to become more goal oriented. Amy's articles on grocery shopping, cooking and menu planning are wonderful. And I disagree heartily with the mean spirited reviewer who called homemade soup dog food. My family has been eating "dog food" for years. I even won a prize for my soup in a contest this fall! No kidding. Making soup from leftovers is an well-known skill. (Millions of families will be making turkey soup this weekend.)
One things I must mention, (because it changed my life) is that my headaches have been cut way back since implementing some of Amy's ideas. I attribute this in part to Mrs Dacyczyn. I am allergic to certain products/preservatives in foods. And by making my own cleaners, foods etc. I reduce my exposure. No more MSG headaches for me! I have found my interest in cutting back economically is leading me to being more environmentally friendly as well. Kudos to Amy Dacyczyn for sticking to her values.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amy D
I purchased this book with another and found book lice .
This was a great book when I read it the first time ages ago and I was looking forward
to seeing what I had... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Barbara D Hoefer
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that never be in a shelf !
A big and thick book.Lots of information and ideas about saving money.When i received the book from amazon it looks boring but after a year i read it again now i appreciate it... Read more
Published on April 28 2012 by jessielyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Huge book with useful tips and formulas
This amazingly huge tome of almost 1000 pages contains a wealth of money saving knowledge, good sense, and formulas to help you calculate savings and create your own recipes. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2011 by The Pine Book Shelf
5.0 out of 5 stars 1000 great ways to save money!
There are just so many great money saving ideas in here and other useful information.
Published on Sept. 9 2009 by A. Jarvis
4.0 out of 5 stars Good advice, some outdated
This book offers great money saving advice for those who don't care what others think of them. Many of the tips given result in obviously "home made" solutions. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2006 by L. A. Turner
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging and a bit discouraging, all in one!
This book is the compilation of The Tightwad Gazette newsletter issues, and I subscribed to The Tightwad Gazette back when it was still a subscription newsletter. Read more
Published on July 3 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but irritating
While I enjoy and have used much of the information in this book, my big gripe is that the index is done terribly. Read more
Published on June 9 2004 by Beth
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book but not for everyone!
I agree with some of the authors advise like not to spend money on disposable things like diapers,paper towels,paper plates etc... Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by saadia
5.0 out of 5 stars A Re-review of past reviews
I originally wrote a review back in 2002 and was scanning the more recent reviews today. I was saddened to see that the controversy continues over how extreme some of the measures... Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by Dena R. Sigman
2.0 out of 5 stars Cost saving tips only, please
The book filled with money saving ideas, some of which I found helpful, others that were impractical for me, and others that I doubt are useful to anyone without an excess of free... Read more
Published on March 13 2004
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