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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her children are lucky
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...
Published on Sept. 26 2003 by C. Walker

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I laughed and laughed, but did not get many good ideas.
I read this book and shared it with a friend. We both thought that it was an interesting and often hysterical look an alternative lifestyle, but that it was not terribly useful to us.First of all, the author and her family live in the-back-of-beyond rural Maine, where being a little "eccentric" is perhaps less problematic than for most of us in the real...
Published on April 5 1999


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her children are lucky, Sept. 26 2003
By 
C. Walker (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (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.
And the reviewers who made snide remarks about nutrition... holy cow. These kids get organic, garden-fresh produce all summer, and home-canned and frozen produce (also organic, and no preservatives) the rest of the year. Their consumption of ready-made snacks (laden with fat, sugar and preservatives) is sensibly controlled. They get balanced meals from all the food groups (Mrs. Dacyczyn lists a week of her family's menus for us to look at).
I would think that with all the problems that have come to light on child obesity this last decade, that people would understand that we need to pay attention to our children's nutrition. Keeping potato chips as a special treat (and telling the kids that, if they want something not on the family menu, they have to purchase it themselves) is not abusive. It is tender care and regard for a child's health.
As far as showing love: her descriptions of the children's birthday parties are fantastic. The pirate ship birthday theme is wonderful, and her set-up in the yard of an actual ship play-area was awesome. How many parents take their kids to a party store, let them choose the newest popular cartoon character and get party hats, paper goods and "favors" in that theme (and then go buy a tasteless cake with vegetable shortening/powdered sugar frosting at the grocery store)? Is that more loving than what the Dacyczyn family does?
And I would like to point out the snobbery of the reviewers who turn up their noses at dumpster diving. In this throw-away society, it is shocking what people toss in the trash. When my husband and I still lived in our apartment complex, he would watch the dumpster at the end of the month, when people were moving out. One girl threw away boxes of new clothes -tags still on!- and even a mason jar full to the top of coins. Too much trouble to take it to the bank, I suppose. I still wear her pajamas and shorts, use her hand-formed iron wok, and sharpen my knives on her very expensive sharpening stone. We also still use the lovely, unique folding wooden chairs our neighbors threw away.
Someone bragged that her house is not full of other people's castoffs. I am willing to bet that a house full of cast-off antiques and high-quality yard sale finds is more interesting and beautiful than one furnished by walking into Wal-Mart (or even Pottery Barn) and simply running up a credit card.
There are also too many sniffing comments about having six children. Since when is it anyone's business how many children a family has? Particularly since the Dacyczyn family isn't asking anyone for a handout. Large families are full of joy and love and they get too many unsolicited comments. I know someone with a large family who is often told in public by complete strangers, "I'm glad they aren't mine!" To which she threatens to one day respond, "They're glad they aren't yours, too."
Mrs. Dacyczyn never says to her children, "You're not worth a new dress or a new book." She shows how much she loves them by giving them the important things of life. She is also preparing them for adulthood in the best way: showing them the difference between wants and needs. They will know that money is not what makes us happy, and that buying "things" is not as important as spending time with people. They will be well-adjusted, happy adults.
It made me sad to read the mean reviews. If you want to say the book didn't help you save money, fine. But let's not make ourselves feel superior by making cruel comments about this family.
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6 of 6 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
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (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. Mary Hunt's family overcame more than one-hundred-thousand dollars in consumer debt (her family's debt made my family's finanicial situation at its worst look GOOD!).
A good friend of mine -- who's made "right" financial decisions her entire marriage -- thought Mary Hunt's books were just plain "stupid." But then she LOVED The Tightwad Gazette and found it incredibly encouraging -- she also couldn't figure out how I could find The Tightwad Gazette depressing. But she'd never seen life from the view I have. So I think it's a matter of perspective how people relate to the different books. That's why I'm so glad there are numerous people writing on frugality. Somebody's voice is bound to speak to you whereever you're at in your personal financial journey -- if it's not Amy Dacyczyn ("The Tightwad Gazzette") or Mary Hunt ("The Cheapskate Monthly"), maybe it'll be Jonni McCoy ("Miserly Moms") or Deborah Taylor-Hough ("Frugal Living For Dummies").
If you're facing a mountain of debt -- or living the consequences of bad decisions in the past -- be warned that this book could make you feel a bit "down" ... but keep a stiff upper lip, buck up, read this book, and apply its tips ... you -- and your bank account(!) -- will be glad you did!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible for Stay-At-Home Mom's on a Tight Budget!, June 4 2004
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (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
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I laughed and laughed, but did not get many good ideas., April 5 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
I read this book and shared it with a friend. We both thought that it was an interesting and often hysterical look an alternative lifestyle, but that it was not terribly useful to us.First of all, the author and her family live in the-back-of-beyond rural Maine, where being a little "eccentric" is perhaps less problematic than for most of us in the real world. Also, the author's hard-nosed approach to saving money at all costs struck us as very cold sometimes, such as when she said she tried putting Desitin ointment on one-half of her baby's diaper rash to see if it healed faster with the cream. It didn't, so she concluded that she didn't need to spend money on it. However, she didn't consider that perhaps the treated rash FELT BETTER to the baby as it healed. Same with her attitude about meals: her kids are "disciplined" if they don't clean their plates, and they MUST eat whatever she puts in front of them, whether they like it or not. She claims this prevents picky eaters, and I'm sure she's right -- but what other eating problems might that cause down the road? In another section she devotes several pages to "dumpster diving" -- I thought I'd hurt myself laughing -- is she serious? She also devotes endless pages to describing how to calculate the cheapest meal ingredients, down 1/10 of a cent in some cases. She says this is fun! She also says she gets a thrill from wearing socks with holes in them, and testing to see how little detergent she can use on diapers before they seem to bother the baby. Of course, it's her life and she's entitled to her choices, but I think for most of us these are not choices that make sense. Unless, of course, you think it's fun to spend 30 minutes with a calculator to find out that one muffin recipe is 4/10ths of a cent cheaper than another. I also found it annoying that references in the text often sent me to pages that did not contain the promised information.
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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
By 
Jolyn K. Meehan "josa76" (Midwest) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars You can make do better than you think, Nov. 30 2003
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
This combination of all three books is such a resource that every home should have one. When you run out of something you can usually find a homemade alternative in her books. Also if you need a substitution it is probably in there.
Amy D. really know's how to make the most of her money and leave a person not feeling deprived. She is innovative and resourceful and each section of the book tells you exactly how.
Some of the ideas are kind of out there but glean out the information that is most practical to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must-buy!, March 1 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
This excellent book is one of the most useful and helpful that I have ever read. Most of the information can apply to everyone, anywhere, regardless of where they live. If you are serious about saving money, you have to get this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A step beyond, Dec 20 2003
By 
Mom (South Dakota, U SA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
This book is helpful to anyone that is looking for ways to save money. The author goes beyond just normal saving strategies and has great ideas. No, not all the ideas are for everyone. But I found useful information that will assist me in saving money the rest of my life. She also offers insight about how much we actually waste and ways to help the enviroment. I will save in three months the cost of the book and that is just by using two of her ideas.
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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
By 
Tanna Dean "tannatx" (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Tightwad Gazette (Paperback)
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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The Complete Tightwad  Gazette
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn (Paperback - Dec 15 1998)
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