As I look through my Tightwad Gazette one last time before parting with it, I’m reminded how practical and useful all the information in it is. While I definitely haven’t done all the things it includes, I was surprised as I’ve been looking over it and taking notes of some of my favorite ideas of how many I have tried. A few things are slightly out of date, like: “Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long-distance phone call.” That was before Skype, but most things are still applicable and this book could help anyone wanting to reduce their spending.

Are you interested in:

  • Ideas for a frugal Valentines Day.
  • Frugal birthday party ideas.
  • Tips for cutting the cost of baking.
  • Recipes for homemade salad dressings, croutons, play dough, stain remover and much more!
  • Ideas for re-using wire hangars, cereal boxes, milk jugs and a ton of other things!
  • Tips for saving money, even when you don’t feel like you have the time to.
  • Lots of other stuff too!

Only one day left to enter for the giveaway!

Quite a few years ago we were in Ms. Bee’s, Cameron’s favorite used book store. He had found a book to buy and I was feeling sorry for myself for not buying a book for myself, finally I just happened to come across The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. I’d never heard of her or the book, but it looked interesting. Little did I know how much I’d love it and how much it’d spur me on to this frugal journey. Sometimes I wonder if I’d ever had even started this blog if it hadn’t been for coming across her book.

Now I have it almost memorized and I can get the COMPLETE book (this is only the first one) from the library, so I thought it was time to pass it on. Yes, it’s used, yes, theirs some markings in it, some from me, some that were there before me. But what a thought…a book all about frugality being passed on to at least its third owner. Someone else can read through the pages and learn new tricks and tips. If you read this book, you never have to read my lil’ ol’ blog again.

If you don’t win the book, don’t worry Amazon has  the first book, the second one, the third one and the big fat compete one. And of course, don’t forget to ask about it at your local library or maybe a used book store, like where I found mine.

So….now for the giveaway of what is probably my very favorite of all frugal books (well except for the complete edition). Sorry, but only those in the United States can enter.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s funny how cool and hip being frugal is, if it means making a chic decoration out of trash, or buying mountains of groceries for just a few bucks. While these can be great ways to save, and I love when I have something cool like that to share, most of frugality isn’t really pin-worthy.

How do you photograph wanting to stop for fast food, but instead just driving by and eating leftovers when you get home? Or when you see the most amazing thing you want to buy and it’s even on sale…but you really don’t have the money now, so you just say no?

I remember Amy Dacycyzn talking about this in her book.* Video crews would come over and want to film all the active frugality, like hanging clothes in her attic to dry, instead of the passive frugality, like not going out to eat.

While doing all kinds of money-saving tips really can add up and help you save, the biggest and best way to spend less money is to…..spend less money. It’s not glorious or extreme, but I’m learning more and more, it’s what does the trick, and as un-glorious as it may seem, it’ll help you spend less.

What are some purchases you’ve said no to recently?

*Amazon affiliate link.

Linked at A Blossoming Life.

I mentioned that I’ve been wanting to make and use my own postcards, and now I’ve FINALLY done it!

Making your own postcards can save you money in 2 ways:

  1. They’re a cheap alternative to a card. Even if you already make  your own cards, postcards use half the amount of paper, and no envelopes necessary.
  2. They’re cheaper to mail. It costs $.44 to mail a regular letter, and only $.29 to mail a postcard, saving you $.15. That’s not a lot of difference, but if you mail out a lot of letters it can add up.

When I made my postcards I just used a regular postcard I already had to see how big to cut mine. I used card stock  paper, so it would be thick enough. And of course leave the back blank for writing your note and the address. And if you’re more creative and patient than me, your postcards can look way cuter than mine!

If you want to save even more, Amy Dacyczyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette recommends cutting the front picture part off of old cards you’ve received and using that as a post card.

Here’s an idea I got from The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczn. Keep the lids to concentrated frozen juice. Put matching stickers on to make a memory game for kids. You could also paint or draw shapes, letters, colors or whatever to help them learn. And you can keep adding to the game as you collect more juice lids (as you can see I need to save more.)

You could do this with card stock paper too, but the juice lids will last a lot longer. And they stack really nicely! Plus frozen juice is a lot of times cheaper than bottled. Check the ingredients in bottled juice, a lot of them are made from concentrate.

This is a great frugal gift idea for kids. You can personalize them by using stickers of one of their favorite characters, then tie with a pretty ribbon.

So I watched some of those “Extreme Couponing” shows. Part of me was listing all the reasons I don’t coupon like these people, and the other part of me was second guessing myself and wondering if I should be couponing more. I mentioned a little about couponing in my Smart Shopping post, but here’s more details on my humble little opinion on coupons:

  • It’s usually for something I don’t already buy. I notice a lot of coupons for dog food, soda, premade pizzas, etc…things that I just don’t buy. For example if I had enough coupons to get a candy bar for 5 cents, that’d be a great deal, right? But what I’d be better off just doing, would be just not buying the candy bars at all!
  • It’s not always healthy. This kinda goes along with the first reason. But they don’t have coupons for fresh produce or meat. It’s usually frozen or canned items.
  • It’s not generic brand. The other day I printed off a Cream of Wheat coupon, but when I got to the store I realized that the generic brand was still cheaper than using the coupon with the name brand.
  • It takes a lot of time. On the show the people admitted that they spent hours preparing for a single grocery trip. Some even considered it a job.
  • I don’t have a lot of space to stockpile. If you’ve read Tour My Little Home, then I don’t need to say anything here. =)
  • Those were EXTREME couponers. We have to remember that even though those people would spend under $10 on purchases that originally were hundreds of dollars, these people are the extreme of the extreme. They got the most extreme people for the show, and they showed they’re most extreme trip. They don’t necessarily save that much everytime.

Here’s a quote from Amy Dacyczyn in her “The Tightwad Gazette”:

“Readers frequently send me sales slips to demonstrate how much they save using coupons. With bold sweeps of colored markers they circle the figure that shows how much the coupons used added up to. They’re circling the wrong figure. The most important figure on your sales slip is how much you spend on groceries…not how much you save using coupons.” And this is coming from a lady who fed a family of 8 with $180 a month!

I don’t want people to think I’m against the show or people couponing, not at all. The show has just got me wondering and I want your opinion now! So all that said, I have to admit the show did inspire me to check out coupons a little more often, and maybe see if I could combine them with sales, but I don’t have plans of becoming as extreme as them. But now I want YOUR opinion! Do you use coupons? If so, how extreme are you? How much do you save? Where do you get your coupons? What tips would you give us “non-extremists”?

Oh! I almost forgot! If you’re interested here’s another bloggers opinion.

This is another Amy Dacyczyn idea, but I tried it for the first time today.

I made some oatmeal cookies and I burnt a couple. I take partial blame, but in my defense my oven cooks very hot in the middle, and I can’t really move the cookie sheets around any (it’s a really small oven).

Anyways…I hate to waste a couple of cookies, so I tried something I read in The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I simply used a grater to scrape off the black. And as you can see in the pictures, it worked! Now I probably still wouldn’t serve a grated-off burnt cookie to company, but just for us it works! Waste not want not!

Before

After

Here’s some blogs, websites and books that I really like. Pretty much everything I know I got from someone else.

Books:

  • The Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn. I’ve already mentioned this book, but I HIGHLY recommend it. I bought it at a used book store and just happened by it! Right now I have The Complete Tightwad Gazette, from the library. It’s the first book plus book #2 and #3 all put together! It’s amazing! Sadly I’m almost done with it. =( It has a huge variety of tips and not just little tips, but overall ideas and attitudes towards saving.
  • Miserly Moms, by Jonni McCoy. I looked through this a while back, and can’t remember too much about it, so I think I’m gonna check it out from the library again. (www.miserlymoms.com)
  • 1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses, by Jonathan D Pond. I just finished looking through this one. It’s not my favorite, but has lots of ideas and is very easy reading.

Blogs and Sites:

  • Tiphero.com - I get an email weekly from them. They’re my favorite money tip site. And if you answer the question of the week you might win a $20 Amazon gift card (I won one right before Christmas and bought my hubby a book).
  • Frugalliving.about.com – I get emails from this site too, good practical stuff
  • www.stretcher.com – I get emails from these guys too. And they do a $100 giveaway every month for tips sent in.
  • tammysrecipes.com – I LOVE her recipes, cheap from scratch recipes, she also has some good articles on housewife things
  • thefrugalgirl.com - If you check out this blog, you’re never gonna want to come back to my cheesy pictures again! lol But seriously, she posts baking recipes, goodwill finds and pictures from her everyday life.

So what are some of your favorite books or sites? Please share!

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