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06 May 2007 @ 07:16 am
Book Review - The Tightwad Gazette  
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Tightwad-Gazette-Amy-Dacyczyn/dp/0375752250

Amy Dacyczyn  (pronounced like decision) sees nothing wrong about spending money on what you really want. It's just that most people never sit down to figure that out and prioritize how they spend their money. What she and her husband wanted was a big old house they could fill with kids and antiques. In the '80s over a seven year period on a combined salary of about $30,000 they saved 49,000 and were able to put a down payment on their dream house.

It took a lot of work and creativity and Amy, whose father had published a conservative Christian newsletter, realized with what she'd learned she might have a key to a home business. Most articles and books on saving money tend to assume that the reader is an idiot who is going out to expensive restaurants and wearing designer clothes while crying about being broke. There was a market for tips from a woman who was in the trenches and making ends meet for a family.

Amy started a montly newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It was so popular that she was able to voluntarily end publication and retire in her early forties to spend full time with her kids and her garden.

The Tightwad Gazette books are collections of the best of the newsletter. Almost random bits of serious practical advice are mixed with whimsical projects for the kids using things like soda can rings. A lot of the content was sent in by her readers over the years.

Some of the advice is basic and obvious, like avoid eating out, after all everyone had to start somewhere. There are tips for the extreme tightwad too, like how to recycle vacuum cleaner bags. You aren't expected to do all of them, or even most of them. She frequently encourages the reader to take what will fit in with their lifestyle and leave the rest. The important thing is the mind set. Which is why even though there are tips that are seriously dated a decade after publication the whole is still very, very useful.

Amy encourages her readers to check the books out of the library or get them used. However you get them I really recommend them.