Monday, July 20, 2009

The Tightwad Gazette

I've been looking for a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn for awhile now. I finally found copies of The Tightwad Gazette II and III at a used bookstore recently (there are three compilations in total). If you haven't read any of The Tightwad Gazette, try taking it out from your local library. I warn you now that if you plan on reading it like a regular book, cover to cover, you'll probably be disappointed. The book is a compilation of a lot of newsletter articles, and some of them will be more useful to you than others. And some are just plain dated now (I don't need to know how to repair a they even still sell VCRs?)

However, there are some timeless articles that show you another way to look at common household items. For example, I haven't bought myself any shaving cream/gel since the first time I read the Gazette. Instead, I use one of the giant bottles of cheap conditioner as shaving cream. Far less waste since a bottle lasts almost a year and I'm conditioned! She also runs through the numbers to find out what is frugal (cloth vs paper napkins for example...cloth won!), gives a few frugal recipes, and gives a ton of examples for how to reuse household items for other uses. One that I want to try someday (for a Hallowe'en or kids birthday) is to collect a number of toilet paper rolls (or small pieces of wood) and some yard. Tie a prize to one end of the yard, and the rolls to the other end. Toss the rolls all around the room, under furniture, around each other, etc. Each guest gets one roll and has to follow it through to the end, untangling it to get to the prize!

Is this a book I'd recommend you go out and buy? No, it's not for everyone - and not everyone will want to read the articles more than once. For me, one of the benefits of this book is that it keeps me aware of the reduce/reuse mentality and encourages me to try out some of the techniques. Plus, some of it's just plain entertaining to read. :) As I said earlier though, it's worth checking out from your library to see if anything inspires you.


  1. I learned the conditioner trick a couple of years ago - it's really great for traveling!

  2. Yep, I've never looked back! Hopefully I'll pick up something else I can use when I read it this time around!