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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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The Complete Tightwad  Gazette + America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams
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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
Format:Paperback
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging and a bit discouraging, all in one! July 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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. I started reading it because our family was facing some serious financial difficulties and I needed help NOW! The first time I read the newsletter, I was able to pick up tips that turned our family's financial situation around right away.
The author is a black-belt tightwad and has been from the beginning of her marriage. She and her husband did things "right" from Day One. Which is great for them, but that's where the discouragement from this book came in for me. My husband and I didn't do things "right" from the beginning and consequently weren't going to be able to live in a big, beautiful farmhouse in the country while our children were still small. It was sort of depressing to read about all the wonderful benefits that frugal living brought to the author's life. We'd made some major mistakes in the past (both of us were raised in spend-thrift homes so we really didn't know another way until we'd hit rock bottom ourselves) ... and all of the penny-pinching in the world now wasn't going to allow us to live out our "dream."
Anyway, please know that I LOVE this book for it's tips and ideas! Frugality really is an alternative lifestyle in this day of easy credit and disposable everything, so the author's voice is desparately needed by those of us looking for some frugal encouragement.
But because of the depressing aspect of feeling like the author doesn't "get" the situation of people who've made financial mistakes, I found that reading Mary Hunt's books (especially "The Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover") has helped to balance things out a bit for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
Format:Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good sense for anyone Feb. 19 2004
Format:Paperback
I'm the sole breadwinner for a family of four in pricey Fairfield County, CT. People wonder how we live on one less-than-stellar income. Our response is that follow the advice laid out in book's such as Amy's, and in all aspects just follow our intuition: Don't trash things just because you're tired of them. Avoid the truly unquenchable thirst for "new" - be it cars, kitchens, electronic gear, furniture or trendy clothing. Pay yourself first. I got the third volume as a Christmas present and was saddened to learn that she has since retired from publishing this useful info. I intend to buy the multivolume set as a gift for my sister and brother-in-law who despite having two incomes and living in an inexpensive place (Florida) are always broke. And, in answer to Richard somebody from San Diego, with his pithy observation on the size of the Dacyczyn family, I would posit that there are plenty of single people, childless couples and small families who inflict exponentially more of an impact on the environment than the Dacyczyns do - due to wasteful, consumption-oriented lifestyles.
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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 12 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
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
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
As much as I'd like to not have to work, I'd rather work then spend my day cooking from scratch (I hate cooking!), rewashing baggies or shopping at thrift stores for deals. Read more
Published on March 12 2004 by J. Miller
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