10 Ways Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette Inspired Me—Marilyn’s Take

The bible of the frugal movement by Amy Dacyczyn.

We’ve written about Amy Dacyczyn and The Tightwad Gazette before because we can’t stop being so inspired by her! If you didn’t catch our post on the Tightwad Refrigerator, read it here!

Here’s more about how the Mother of Frugality has inspired me: 

Yuck to yum…

1. Amy has inspired me to be creative with leftovers and use them to create unique muffins, soups, quiches and casseroles. (Tightwad Gazette II/pg. 164-166) My husband commented that it seems we never throw any food away (not entirely true). But once I see a build up of small bits of meat, beans, noodles or sauce, you can be sure I’ll make that into something that I’ve never quite tasted before. You can find plenty of recipes, such as soups here and quiches here and here.

2. Amy made it clear about the fact that frugal does not equal poor or cheap! (Tightwad Gazette II/pg. 272) This is one of my biggest gripes about how people view frugality. Writing a book on that now!

Too expensive for kids!

3. Thanks to Amy, I’m on my toes to say the right things to my kids when they complained about our frugal lifestyle. (Tightwad Gazette II/pg. 234) This, by far, was one of the biggest challenges to overcome, especially with my son who seems to befriend the kind of kids whose parents love buying $120 sneakers and every latest gadget and luxury car (read about that here and a very controversial post about iPhones, here). The biggest battle of all will be convincing my son that community college is where it’s at!

Beware unit pricing!

4. I’m much more hyper-aware of prices in the grocery store, thanks to The Tightwad Gazettes I, II and III. “Before kids” (BK), I never cared about the cost of food. My husband was very different (he was an early adopter of Tightwad Gazette books), so he taught me the value of looking at unit pricing versus the “list” price of the item, which he learned from Amy.

5. I am content to be frugal in ways that allow us to have the luxuries we want (Tightwad Gazette I/pg. 293-295). We have a boat, as you can see here—it’s our necessary luxury. It’s all about individual goals. Amy D. and her husband’s goal was to have a large family and own a larger farmhouse. Everyone has their own reasons for being frugal.

6. I’m proud of being frugal (Tightwad Gazette I/pg. 230). The reason Aimee and I began Two Frugal Fairfielders was to wear our frugal living badges of honor in public. We were never ashamed about it, yet there was (still is) a stigma and we wanted to show people that living frugal is not so bad after all!

7. We are frugal even when finances are flush. (Tightwad Gazette II/pg. 245) When things are a bit tight, we hardly notice a change in our spending because we run a pretty tight ship all the time—and we do this because it’s expensive to live in Fairfield County, CT.

Crazy days of kids’ birthday parties.

8. My husband and I were creative party planners for our kids when they were little–thanks to an article in book one. (Tightwad Gazette I/pg. 192-193). We had “home” parties while most every other kids’ party took place in a more expensive venue. What we did: took one of their favorite videos and created a whole theme around it. We’d show the video first, and then everything else–from the food, cake, décor, activities and goodie bag–was all related to the story. But these weren’t just any cookie-cutter items found in the party store! They were all original and handmade. No Dora The Explorer parties for us! Noooooo….they had to be one-of-a-kind. Maybe I’ll do a post about all the great parties sometime down the line in one of our upcoming Throw Back Thursday posts (a new upcoming feature).

9. I am very choosy about buying a piece of junk or an investment. (Tightwad Gazette I/pg. 81) Aimee and I will do some posts about the aspect of the “buy-me-once” frugal phenomena. The aspect of spending money on quality goods so you don’t have to repeat spending money after your crappy goods fall apart. Take a look at this site, called Buy Me Once, that Aimee found about this very subject, and we want to do our spin on the subject. That doesn’t mean buying a waterproof pool table for $6,500! No, we mean practical items or furniture that you will look at, use and often pat yourself on the back for your excellent long-term decision-making skills.

10. We make our own cleaners (most of the time)! My husband actually caught on to that from reading The Tightwad Gazette. He was always asking me to buy vinegar. I always resisted. (This was BK). So he bought the vinegar and made the cleaners himself. He used crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels to wash windows. He did lots of other DIY recipes I can’t remember. I didn’t start making my own cleaners and polishes until “after kids” (AK). Here are some recipes, here and here. Plus, TFF’s famous DIY dishwashing detergent recipe viewed about a zillion times, here.

Has The Tightwad Gazette inspired you in your daily life? Let us know how below in the comment section!

~Marilyn, TFF


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