Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Review of The Complete Tightwad Gazette

I have recently finished reading this extremely large book from cover to cover (it took a couple of weeks). The first thing I learned from this is that I am truly a first-class tightwad (that's a good thing:-). I did learn a few things from this book, but most of it was just reminding me of things I already knew or confirming things I already do. That was really eye-opening to me - I didn't realize I came by frugality so naturally!

I sure don't remember my mom ever doing things like I do - baking from scratch, cleaning with baking soda and vinegar, shopping at Goodwill. In fact, the only thing I can say that I got from my mother was how to make your dollar stretch at the grocery store (and her budget was at least 4 times what mine is:-). So I began reflecting upon how I came to be the consummate tightwad.

I believe it must have something to do with the 25 years of marriage in which we only had "alot" of money for a couple of years. And by alot, I mean around $50,000. When I quit working to stay home and homeschool my children, our income was cut in half. That is probably when this all began, and has only grown since our income has been reduced time and time again until now we live off of about $1,000 per month.

So many of the tips and articles in The Complete Tightwad Gazette (hereafter referred to as TCTG) are wonderful, especially if you are just starting out on the frugal pathway. Amy takes the time to explain how she figures costs (so even though her prices are outdated, you can figure your costs for yourself) and gives many general recipes for things that you can customize, like muffins, casseroles, etc. There are recipes, cleaning tips, articles about mortgages, housing, planning, retirement, and so many more topics I can't even begin to list them. A huge part of the book is comprised of letters from readers with their own ideas and tips. There is info about yard sales (having them and going to them), thrift stores, and more.

I would recommend that you buy a copy (used, of course, or at a discount) and keep it on hand. There is an index in the back so you can look up any topic you wish to read about. It is a tremendous reference book to have in your house. I borrowed one from the library, but could only keep it for 6 weeks:-), so I am going to keep my eyes open at Goodwill, Paperback Swap, Bookmooch, etc. to find a copy I can keep.

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