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TWT: The Tightwad Gazette


helping each other be good stewards of all our resources: money, possessions, time, energy, and health

When I was a brand new PhD with a toddler and a very colicky baby, I taught my first—and last—university course.  It was a harrowing time, and I discovered the costs of going out to work when you have children:  much of my tiny salary went to babysitting and transportation (mine and the babysitter’s), the children were sad, and I was exhausted.  On top of that, the stress of not doing well in any of my roles was exhausting:  I was a harried mother, a tired wife, and a lousy prof, all because I was trying to do too much.

For my 31st birthday, I threw prudence to the winds and took a few moments for myself: I slipped into the university bookstore.  What I walked out with transformed our lives:  The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle  by Amy Dacyczyn.  With her wise, thoughtful essays and many reader-inspired tips, Amy held my hand as we transitioned to living on one (student) income.

Since then, Amy has published two more volumes of the Tightwad Gazette.  Needless to say, we own all three, and they have been read dozens of times, by me and by my children.

If you are interested in a more thrifty lifestyle, I cannot recommend a better source of inspiration and encouragement than Amy’s three volumes, now combined and published as The Complete Tightwad Gazette.   If possible, buy it.  Having it in your home will put Amy’s hints and cheerfulness at your fingertips whenever you need them. This investment will pay for itself many times over.

Disclosure:  I have owned these books for years and receive no compensation for this review.

Please join in and share your Tightwad Tuesday tips, ideas, stories, and encouragement.  Just click on the Linky Tools message below to enter your post. Then enjoy learning from the wonderful ideas of others.  Please remember to link back to Tightwad Tuesday so that others can join in as well.

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For more tips, hints, and ideas, see Tuesday’s TipsWorks for Me WednesdayThrifty Thursday, and Frugal Friday.


  1. LarabaK says:

    I have the Tightwad Gazette as well…I THINK all three volumes in one big book. I agree it is a wonderful source of inspiration to living frugally. I love the fact that while she gives plenty of great tips, much of the book reflects her worldview about living simply and not longing for material possessions simply for the sake of having them. Many of her ideas don’t work especially well for me — like she advises visiting lots of garage sales in pursuit of clothing, and I don’t have the time or energy to cart my 6 kids to garage sales. But again, it’s the viewpoint…we don’t need new clothes, we don’t need designer clothes, we can be content!
    BTW, I too taught university courses with little kids, but I was able to teach 2 evenings a week while my husband watched our 2 little ones at the time. It went pretty well though I was paid poorly. I agree that if we had hired a sitter, it would have been pointless. Also, we didn’t have a colicky baby (praise the Lord. And that reminds me that I need to pray faithfully that the little one I’m carrying isn’t colicky.)

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, Laraba, it’s about the viewpoint. Amy shares it so well in her essays. That’s what differentiates the Tightwad Gazette from other frugal books, which are mostly lists of tips.

      And I pray your little one won’t be colicky!

      Annie Kate

  2. Jenn 4 Him says:

    You are so right. Working sounds like a solution to money woes, but really it is not how much you make, but what you spend. Even when we were at our lowest (selling our house to get out of debt), my husband was wise and said for me to stay home. As a nurse, it would have been easy to get a good paying job, but the costs would have been too high to my precious family. I will have to see if my library has any of these books. Thanks.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, I’ve learned that lesson, too. When my husband lost his job (3 times in the high tech turmoil a few years back), he still wanted me to stay home and take care of the children. God blessed us and made it possible.

      Annie Kate

  3. Stacy says:

    I need to check into getting that at the library. I would love to learn new, helpful tips.

    If you think of it, please pray for me. I’m having some female issues today that are causing me GREAT pain. Unfortunately, I have to work today, so I can’t kick back and relax. I’ve been in tears a couple of times already because of the pain. It’s only 8:20 AM and I’ve taken 7 ibuprofen and 2 aleve, and added caffeine too, just trying to curb the pain.

  4. Heather says:

    I have heard of these…but not read them. I will have to take a look:) I chose to stay home with the kids when we married 8 years ago, after working for over 10 years as a single mom…honestly, I enjoy having coffee at home and snuggling with my baby…but I miss some parts of work–mainly the “being finished” part!!

    Overall, I think staying home is very valuable for the entire family!

  5. I LOVE these books too! I’ve only gotten them from the library though. But you know I could use the pick me up, I should rent them again, or maybe get them with my swagbucks!

  6. I need to check these out. Maybe I can get them with my Swagbucks.

  7. Mary Bronnimann says:

    Love The Tightwad….I read it cover to cover several times a year….new tips show up in rereading it each time.. After having raised three kids and using many self invented strategies for saving money, I found that Tightwad Gazetter gave even me ideas that I hadn’t thought of before.
    I would also like to suggest to stay are home moms that they protect themselves by keeping up certifications /work experience in case of am emergency, death, divorce, or other loss of breadwinner….I was happliy able to return to work because I had a teaching degree (substitute office emperience, business school, accounting skills, whatever) They can’t take that education or life experience away from you. After fourteen years tending kids and not working, I could again be making a decent living for the family without a working spouse.

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