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on July 28, 2002
My mother introduced me to the first Tightwad Gazette. At that time, I wasn't interested. Then, after experiencing several life altering experiences which were very unpleasant, I read the book again and was completely transformed!! This is a book which needs to be sent to every CEO in the U.S. I bought all three books as each was released, loaned them to a friend, never saw them again. I was thrilled recently to see this book in my local library and immediately purchased it. I'm just disappointed that she is no longer publishing the newsletter and also that I never let her know how much she changed my family's life! The book contains something for everyone, if you take the time to read every page. If you skim through, you'll think she's nuts, but if you carefully read each chapter, you'll find that this is the advice all grandparents would give today's grandchildren; waste not want not, a penny saved is a penny earned, etc. As a result of this book, I have also begun reading many simplicity books and have made significant changes in my life which has greatly improved my life as well as that of my family. Whatever you are doing now Amy, I'm sending you my thanks!! Oh, by the way, I was raised the same way you are raising your children. It's not child abuse!
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on June 10, 2002
This book changed my life. I read it seven years ago, when I was an undergraduate and had no money. My future husband and I changed our consumption patterns dramatically and were able to save a tremendous amount of money. Now we own our own home with a very low mortgage and have adopted a superfrugal lifestyle. Both of our cars are paid for, and our bills are the lowest of anyone on our street. Amy Dacyzyn's works are not for people who are not open-minded. The most valuable thing in her books is getting the reader to change their orientation towards money and material goods, and to see possibilities that exist but are overlooked. When you see how cheaply you can buy practically anything (books, clothing, furniture, cars, kitchen stuff)used (usually for 1/10 the price new, or less), and how many alternatives there are to spending money (I am working at the grad school at which I am getting my master's, thereby saving $15,000 a year),you realize how foolish it is to spend your hard-earned money when you don't have to and on things that have no capacity to retain value. Amy says herself that not every idea is for every reader. Different people will embrace different parts of this work. This book is especially useful for people who have not been reared or were only partially reared with the cultural knowledge to become blackbelt tightwads.
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on May 20, 2002
This is a great book to own if you need advice on how to save money. Amy Dacyczyn gives tons of money saving ideas. Many readers may feel she goes overboard in her quest to save money, but for those in a really tight spot, her "overboard" ideas may prove extremely helpful. Not all her ideas are "overboard" though; many are things anybody could do.
This book is a compilation of the author's newsletters she published for several years. There are also three separate volumes of this book available; Tightwad Gazette Volumes One, Two, and Three. This book contains all three of these volumes, plus about ninety pages of additional articles.
I like this book because it not only gives tips for saving money, the author also goes into *why* you should save money. When I bought this book I thought I wanted to save money; what I didn't know is that I wanted a more simple life. Many money saving practices lead to a more simple life, which I discovered after reading this book. If you want a more simple, slower-paced life than what you have now, you may want to get this book because it will give you lots of ideas on how to do that. I don't think the author intended to lead people in this way; that's just how it worked for me.
It's also a valuable reference book. If you have a specific problem, you can look it up in the index for potential solutions. For example, last year my washing machine started to leak. Instead of running out to buy a new one or calling a repair man, I turned to the index of this book and found a solution to fixing the leak: a $3 tube of "liquid steel" which I bought at a hardware store and my husband applied that night! Worked great!
The author has a straighforward and yet humorous writing style which I find refreshing. This book is well worth the price.
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on May 11, 2002
This book is amazing. Packed with tons of advice, extremely entertaining, incredibly useful and most importantly INSPIRING.
This book showed me a whole new way of thinking about how I spend my money. It truly opened my eyes. I always thought I lived in a thrifty way (I don't typically blow cash on new gadgets etc like some of my friends and relatives do!) but I was shocked at how many areas in my life were 'leaking' money without my even being aware of it! Suddenly, as a result of reading this book, I realized I was living on a slowly sinking ship, throwing big buckets of water overboard (not making unecessary big purchases etc) but oblivious to the countless leaks that had sprung and were leaking water (money)! It took a close inspection of all areas of my life to find those sneaky leaks and I still continue to look for more. Some obvious examples are unneeded phone services I was paying for, using my bank's 'bank online' service for $[money] a month when I could just go to individual company websites and pay my bills for free etc. Just by making a few changes (the biggest being cutting down on buying snacks etc outside of home) I'll save approx. $[money] a year, and I've only just gotten started.
I also found this book to be extremely entertaining- I probably spent WAY too much time reading through it when I first bought it (time that I should have been studying- I'm a college student). It's a pleasure to read and a pleasure to put into practice.
I highly recommend this book!
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on April 22, 2002
This book is the culmination of six years of Amy Dacyczyn's "The Tightwad Gazette" newsletter, a paper dedicated to all things thrifty. The book is organized into three sections (each section was originally its own book), that each cover two years of the newsletter's run, as well as some extra bits here and there. The structure is loose - reading like a huge stack of back issues of the newsletter, and includes feature stories, editorial-style comments, and letters and tips from readers.
The author's tone is friendly, practical, and logical, and the book goes far beyond simple tips for living a frugal life. In fact, Dacyczyn extols the merits of living life on your own terms, instead of on society's terms, using frugality as a vehicle to get fulfillment out of life. On the way, she dishes out some sound suggestions for things like quality of living, child-rearing, and of course, tons and tons of demonstrations of HOW to cut costs in your own life.
I was amazed at how detailed some of Dacyczyn's comparisons and plans were - some demonstrating how you could save a few pennies (they add up), or some larger and more dramatic strategies for saving a lot more money. Through all, Dacyczyn's committment to complete ethics within the framework of frugality (never practice frugality at the expense of others) is emphasized.
Although reading the entire book in a few sittings may feel a bit overwhelming (it is six years' worth of info, after all), there are some core strategies that are very worth the price of the book. If nothing else, this book will cause you to evaluate how you spend your money, what you spend it on, and what you could be using it for, as well as perhaps motivate you to tighten up your budget a little (or a lot).
This book is highly entertaining, very inspiring, and extremely motivational. And although I am making it sound rather theoretical, the book is actually mostly hands-on and practical.
Frugality is an extreme art, but one that has afforded many people with the means to truly live and enjoy life the way they choose to. Both the book and the lifestyle are definitely worth taking a look at.
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on March 4, 2002
As with any tool, its all about how you use it. Amy D took a gamble detailing her life and the choices she and her husband have made to make sure that they were there for their children and to make sure that they could be financially independent in their retirement. She opened herself up to a lot of criticism for people to attack her way of life.
While extreme, the examples she outlines are just that, examples. Meant as a suggestion that can be accepted or rejected, depending on the needs of the reader.
Some of the other reviews objected to her not buying books for her children. She does say though that she routinely checks out books from the library for free and reads to them, or with them. Others object to dumpster diving. It is merely a suggestion, a tidbit of advice among many, that she offers.
She offers a way to think creatively about money and how it is spent. She empowers a person to think realistically about money, and not to hide beneath "I can'ts" or "I wish". We ran the numbers and found that it acutally saved us money if my husband quits his job and stays home. We looked at the cold hard numbers and saw where we were being wasteful. Once we plugged our money leaks we have saved a lot of money. We have learned to be creative and think outside the box, we think of money saved as money earned, and that time spent saving omney together as a family to be our entertainment.
The tool is there, and it does what it promises, to be an eye opener that pormotes thrift as a viable lifestyle. It does not promise to make money appear out of nowhere, nor does it promise to be the end-all be-all of frugality, nor does it offer a get rich quick scheme. The lessons are there to be learned.
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on February 1, 2002
i checked the tightwad book out so many times from my local libary!!! i could never finish the books over the years and
the ideas are so many and so useful that after finding the
compliation of all three books on for an excellent
price...i had to have it and i just mailed in my payment today!!!
IT IS CHOCKFUL OF USEFUl, very useful ideas that you have never
heard anywhere else!!! being a divorced, single mom of 2 children and 2 cats in a new home...the book has become more useful than ever...i was getting ready to donate another big bag of clothes...but after seeing a designer recycled jean bag and 'homemade jean' skirt made out of old bluejeans in a hot women's magazine going for hundreds of dollars ...i decided to make my own like i use to when i was a child...i just happen to have a copy of the 'tightwad gazette' from the library and just by chance i happened upon illustrated directions for recycled blue jean items including a purse and skirt by accident!!! it was lunchtime at work and i laughed with joy!!!! DURING these tough times for country with so many being laid off and all of us trying to cut corners that still have a current job we need this book more than ever...i admit...i did not take this book too seriously when i was still married and had two incomes...but now it is a blessing...a Godsend!!! i cannot wait for my very own copy to arrive from amazon...i have a quick hint to add...fancy sheets bought at discount stores or sales can be used as fabric for clothes, pillows, skirts, halters, etc. i am upholstering my lazyboy with leopard print ralph lauren sheets that i found at a discount store...i bought 3 twin sheets with elastic total= way, way under 30 bucks!!! THIS i find is cheaper than buying fabric by the yard...
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on January 15, 2002
I love this book. The recipes are tasty, the author has a good sense of humor, and you can find a lot of ways to creatively slash your budget.
The author also does an excellent job of poking holes in the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality. She asks "is it really necessary to buy a new ____ every year?" "Does one really need a lot of material possessions to be happy?" The essays on consumerism, distribution of household chores and other issues will make you think and give you a new way of looking at thrift.
It's also important to note that just because Amy often talks about the strategies she employs, it doesn't mean that you MUST use the same strategies. She recognizes that not everybody will want to be a "black-belt" tightwad and that some folks will only use the less extreme techniques. There is an article about this in the book where she says that she puts the "extreme" techniques in because she knows some people will want to try them due to circumstances or an interest in the subject. Others will not, and that's perfectly OK with her. There are a great many paths to thrift.
Similarly, when she explains the way she raises her kids, it's just that - an explanation. She doesn't expect everyone else to raise their children exactly as she does - or even *have* children. You can take the advice you like, and leave the rest. (It's also important to remember that we only get a partial picture of her family life - there are probably a great many details that the book does not show.)
Being single and childless, there was quite a bit of information in this book that did not apply to me, but I was able to learn some useful things. This book was not meant to be taken as a whole, but rather as a buffet of information.
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on October 10, 2001
Admittedly, the author is the diva of frugality, taking tightwaddery to a high art I wouldn't care to achieve...but she also discusses how the way we spend our money should--but doesn't always--reflect our own priorities, values, and goals. The author makes it clear that the book contains a full spectrum of tips for saving money to accomodate a wide range of frugal styles, and that not every idea in the book is for every person. There's no preaching, just cheerleading!
Probably the most pleasant surprise in this book were the essays discussing the tightwad philosophy. The author addresses gratification, temporary vs long-term fulfillment, learned perceptions about "clean" and "dirty", the true "cost" of a double-income household, hourly "wages" based on money saved, and other interesting aspects of money attitudes.
A recurring theme examines how frugality isn't about living a deprived scrimping lifestyle, but rather how to spend and save money in ways that reinforce your financial goals. Practical examples give tips for getting good deals, finding hidden treasures within your budget, and how to think "outside the box" when it comes to obtaining goods and services.
In all, while this book contains a wealth of "how-tos", it is also a springboard to help you launch your own ideas on how to meet your life goals and find creative ways to do it.
A fantastic and truly entertaining read.
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on August 5, 2001
I will not repeat a lot of what has been said already about the quality of information contained in this book and the talent of the author. I will admit that I have read and used this one book more than any other I own, besides the bible. There is an endorsement! Besides tons of money saving advice, Amy shares her sense of humor, creative spirit and deep philosophical insights which make this a value for any person to read, regardless of financial status. Personally, I have never really struggled financially, yet feel committed to be a good steward of the resources I have been blessed with. Please keep in mind that she is not any type of expert on investing, so look elsewhere for better reading on that topic. This is also not a parenting book, although it amuses me that a couple who have sacrificed to retire early and raise their family full time are under such scrutiny as parents. I would sooner label parents who work full time, buy fast food and come home to watch T.V. until bed time abusive, even if their kids wear designer clothes and get new toys at Christmas. It just goes to show you where many peoples' values lie. I could not say enough good things about this book and even if some ideas are over the top, there is not a more comprehensive book on the subject of saving money anywhere to be found. Enough said.
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