Monday, August 22, 2011

The Frugal Zealot

What Dolly Parton is to Country Music, Amy Dacyczyn is to frugality.  Dacyczyn is the self titled "Frugal Zealot" who wrote The Tightwad Gazette.  Her book has been an inspiration to every frugalista who has come after her, whether they acknowledge her or not.

Since I'm gearing up for school again, this week seems like a great week to do book reports, and the top-of-the-top of these books on my list is the Tightwad Gazette.  Many people have described this book as "the Cheapskate's Bible", and if that's so, I'm one of her evangelists.  I've bought probably 20 copies and handed them out to friends. I've read it through cover-to-cover more times than I could count.  I could quote you whole passages from memory (in the same way that I could sing, badly, all of Dolly's Coat of Many Colors.)

The Tightwad Gazette makes saving pennies an adventure full of joy and creativity.  Dacyczyn resorted to frugality as a way to retire to a rural farm-house (with attached barn); she did this on her husband's military salary, and she brought along her four-going-on-six children.

Here are just three small pictures of things I do differently because of her book.  They're small things -- I've already written about a lot of the bigger changes like yard sales, and solar cooking, and making muffins instead of cereal.  What you can't get from these pictures is the incredible humor and creativity that fill her pages.  Grab a copy from your local library (or if you live near me, I can give you yet another copy I've bought).
I make small "artist books" for my kids from pre-cycled ( = used on one side) paper.  These are great for church, restaurants, and other places I want the children to play quietly.
Patching a pair of pants -- in this case, with camo fabric -- is not only cheaper, it's also faster than buying a new pair of pants.

I re-purposed an old squirt bottle.  I put in a teaspoon of dish soap and then fill with water.  I use this all the time for quick clean-up of pots and pans.  Also good for a quick squirt at sticky messes on the table.


  1. Thank you for your nod to Amy D.! She's my heroine, too. I try to spend less, reuse/repurpose "free" stuff all the time because I serendipitously happened across her book (at a thrift store, mind you!) I ask myself a lot: WWAD? Drives some of my loved ones crazy, but I know that being creatively frugal can make a huge difference in a family's financial picture.

    1. i also got a copy of her book from a thrift store too! And have implanted a few of her values into me... As i have listed down in my blog one way of saving is by being conscious of the per gram or per liter price of each item. AND that, although its convenient to buy your needs as you need it through Sari-Sari Stores, you save alot buying at the Grocery and Wholesale stores.