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The Complete Tightwad Gazette

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,744 ratings  ·  231 reviews
At last--the long-awaited complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!

In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along
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Paperback, 976 pages
Published December 15th 1998 by Villard (first published January 1st 1998)
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 ·  2,744 ratings  ·  231 reviews


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ael
Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I am fucking obsessed with these books. This woman is possibly the most sensible human being on earth. Come for the novelty tips, stay for the practical philosophy.
Little
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: practical-stuff
A few good tips, but on the whole not an entirely useful resource. Many of her suggestions are outdated. There's a lot of "teaching you how to think creatively" sorts of articles that aren't practical to most people, but are supposed to help you get in the mindset of using what you've got creatively to solve problems rather than simply spending money. Eh... ok. But how many reminders do we need about that?

From a philosophical point of view, I have one major problem with this book… A sort of “
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Ocean
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this book could potentially change your life (or, more specifically, your relationship to money, time, debt & a whole host of other things). it's a compilation of self-published newsletters that ms. dacyzyn published in the early-to-mid 90's about her frugal lifestyle. sounds like a snooze-fest, but she's an engaging writer who is not without a sense of humor. my mom used to subscribe to the newsletter & i remember reading it as a kid, which is part of the reason i re-read this as an ...more
Michele Bettinger
Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The MOTHER of all books on frugality! This author is VERY extreme in her frugality; and that behavior allowed her to be a stay-at-home mom of 6 (I think) kids on her husband's small salary.

Many things were to "out there" for me but at least 3/4
s of the ideas I easily adapted to my own life.

While I don't save tin foil or iron wrapping paper to use again I was very inspired by this book to implement a lot of her ideas.

I re-read this book about once a year and usually find a few more ideas that I'd
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Nurture Waratah
The Complete Tightwad Gazette has got to be the best purchase I have ever made, with the possible exception of my kindle, and I didn't even pay full price. Thanks to a gift voucher I won for Powell's Books, I was able to acquire this book for the cost of postage.

When I first received this book, I was advised to read it cover to cover first, then go back through it with a notebook and write down all tips I think are relevant to my family. I have just finished reading it for the first time and I
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Nicole
Apr 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
Good only for a bit of a laugh at the notion of people paying for long distance calls and being frugal by sending a 29 cent letter instead of calling. Even looking past the outdated advice, there's really nothing here for someone with no kids who lives in a Seattle-area apartment. Even if hanging my laundry out to dry wouldn't result in an eviction (and probably all my clothes being stolen), the likelihood of it raining would defeat the purpose. The author is pretty high and mighty while being ...more
Laura
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This 925+ page book has taken up a huge chunk of my reading time. So hopefully I'll be posting more frequently now that it's on its way back to the library! Anyway, this is sort of a thrift Bible; she's really taken things to their logical extreme. Her writing style is very conversational; she investigates the cost of things that most of us would never have the time to do. I loved her attitude - she was doing these activities as a way to make the most of her family life (without any overzealous ...more
Cam
Mar 06, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2009
This was a pretty thick book, but it was easy to skip over parts that didn't apply to me, and when she was "investigating" something, I skipped over the details and just read the results. I thought this book was poorly organized, and she's definitely extreme (I feel sorry for her kids!!)- but I did find some great ideas I'm willing to try. I also liked her attitude about recycling and reusing. Most of us would never dare to buy used bed sheets at a garage sale- but how many of us take our own ...more
Marshall
Amy Dacyczyn was one of the leading figures of frugality advocacy in the 90's. It all started with this newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It was just what people needed after the excesses of the 80's, and it caught on like wildfire. It really helps that Dacyczyn is so honest, ethical, humorous, and well-researched.

Tightwads get a bad rap. People go about it all wrong. They have an attitude of deprivation, that frugality is something poor people do. Dacyczyn changes all of that. She demonstrates
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Louise
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-finance
I am so pleased that I decided to buy this book. I was wavering about whether I could afford to give up work and raise my son full time on just my husband's salary and Amy showed me just how easy and fulfilling it could be. I do not do many (most?) of the ideas in the book, but it gives me the confidence that we should never find ourselves in a bad financial situation.

I have now been a SAHM for 4 months and am delighted with my decision. I will work again in the future but time with my son is
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Janeal
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This book is LIFE-CHANGING. sometimes I miss being the ignorant person I was before I read it, because now I have a hard time letting ANYTHING go to waste. I'm afraid I'm on the verge of becoming a hoarder.

Amy Dacyczyn shows how you can do so much with so little. There are so many good ideas in this book. Genius things to do with items you'd normally throw away. Use an empty milk jug to irrigate your garden by poking holes in the bottom and burying it. Or turn it into a dustpan. Use the plastic
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Lauren
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I finally bought after checking it out from the library at least 10 times. I LOVE this book. Some money-saving tips may seem extreme or out-dated, but it got me thinking outside the box. It has changed the way I think about spending. I always had trouble putting it down. It gets you thinking back to the way your grandma probably thought about self reliance. The author's tone is a bit condescending and guilt-provoking at times, but if you can take it with a grain of salt and ...more
Tyler
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Synopsis: Amy Dacyczyn (aka the Frugal Zealot) published The Tightwad Gazette as a newsletter from June 1990 to December 1996. This book was created as a collection of all the tips and stories from the newsletters. It is split up into three parts (of which so far I have read only one) of about 300 pages each. The book covers ways to save money in hundreds of unique and imaginative ways.

My Review: This book has a long waiting list at the library so I was only able to cover Volume I during my
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Cyndi
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cyndi by: Julie
Shelves: nonfiction
This book changed my way of thinking. Thrift is a rich and satisfying way of life, and it is connected with our relationships with community and the natural environment. There are so many gems here, so many ingenious ideas for saving money. I still have much to learn from Master Dacyczyn, but this book was my introduction to this radical way of thinking. And yes, I do think it is radical in our society that is so ravenous in its consumption. Be more inventive. Borrow. Share. Trashpick if you ...more
Kathryn
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: simple-living
This book has lots of super-practical tips for saving money and living simply. Some of them, like how to handle families who often give very expensive gifts over the holidays, are oh-so-useful. Others, like how to make a wreath out of barbed wire, are a little less so.

My major beef with the book, though, is the organization. I would have loved to skip the sections for parents or for car-owners, but the book wasn't organized in any thematic way, which made browsing a little challenging.

The
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Kadi Viik
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A complete life philosophy in a time-capsule. Extra star for the headlines with literary references, like 'Farewell, Two Arms' (about how to make a bib for your kid by cutting off pieces of a sweatshirt) or 'War and Peas' (about how to make your kids eat anything). 'Is Your Child a Cereal Killer?' (on how to get your kids to eat cheaper breakfast) is not bad either.
Candice
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! If you can't get a tip or ten out of this then you're better than I am!
Msor
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I had a hard time deciding what to say about this book...and after much thought, I think what it boils down to is that this book is innovative, a first of it's kind. And because of that, it is interesting and worth reading, but has a lot of problems.

What the reader should pay attention to are the articles about tightwad theory, any applicable reader-submitted tips, and probably the success stories. But there is far more that isn't worth reading, such as the endless and boring articles about the
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Hannah
Nov 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was an incredibly unhelpful book and the author herself is really snarky in her writing. Within the first couple of pages, we read about how she turned down so many offers to publish her book (yeah, right...I'm sure) until she finally accepted one. The tips in this book are completely out of date for the modern world we live in. These tips were outdated for 1992. Today, they're almost nonsensical. These tips are better suited to the 1940's, not 2018. Some of the gems you'll find? Reusing ...more
Logan Hughes
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, thrift
Super outdated but still super inspiring collection of early 1990's newsletters about being frugal, making your own, making do, reusing, thrift shopping, cooking from scratch, and generally rejecting consumerism and keeping a laser-like focus on what you truly want out of life. I like early-days Dacyczyn more than later-issues Dacyczyn--she starts out more gentle and understanding and becomes more intolerant and Mr. Money Mustache-y--but the evolution is understandable. Over the course of ...more
Katie
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Katie by: thrifty mom message board
I stayed up way too late last night reading this book. I, apparently, am the last one to hear about it as Susan and Carol had already heard of it.

Honestly, we don't live a frivolous life and we already do a lot of things that people recommend. I didn't know people didn't use a towel more than once that has been on their fresh-from-the-shower-clean body. My single mom instituted that rule when I was about 11. We hardly ever eat out and my car goes only where is necessary. 95% of our clothes come
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Ria Stone
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who can not do their personal budgets
The Tightwad Gazette is my bible. Amy Dacyczyn saved my life.

When I was young, budgeting and money were a mystery to me. Add in the fact that my eyes glazed over trying to do percentages and you get a personal budget that was a real mess.

After applying Amy's ideas such as "The Price Book" and following the idea of "Getting Your Bang for a Buck", I began to reinvent my life.

Plus, Amy pushed me to cook. When I made my first "Cuban Bread", I was ecstatic. I can't boil water, so this was a big deal.
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Lynnea
May 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I found out about this book in a recent magazine and was disappointed to find how dated it was (that's the magazine's fault, not the books). She talks about the $0.29 stamp and how soon email will be an inexpensive way to communicate instead of long distance phone bills - and how email messages only take a few hours to arrive!
Anyway, this book was more entertaining to me (like making your own cookie cutters from tuna cans and pliers) than helpful although I did get a few recipes I'm going to
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Dar
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
The Complete Tightwad Gazette is based on newsletters that came out in the early 90s, and it was known for popularizing frugal ideas like washing and reusing zip-loc bags, and keeping a grocery price book. The ideas in the book range from super-miserly (re-purposing meat trays?) to common-sense (making rather than buying kids' Hallowe'en costumes). Some tips are dated (like saving on postage) while some haven't dated (like how to fix a broken zipper). The original newsletters were mailed out in ...more
Tyler
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-finance
This book is a huge 900+ page compilation of a frugality newsletter that the author published from 1990-1996. Some of the suggestions and information is consequently a little dated, but the principles being taught are timeless and even more relevant today than twenty plus years ago when they written.

This book focuses heavily on frugality in many of the small and simple things in life, suggesting that by using a large number of simple money-saving strategies they combine to have great power to
...more
Jenny
Sep 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a compilation of her first three books with some bonuses at the end. It is every conceivable way to save money out there. The author is ethical in her tightwad ways. I do warn that you will never spend money without feeling a little guilt if you didn't get a killer deal, or are buy entertainment rather than something to save you money. Having said that, I do recommend this book because she has some great thoughts on having your money buy you what you really want and how to SAVE to get ...more
Tisha
Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I would definitely rate myself as being frugal (I make my husband reuse his sandwich baggies until they won't seal shut anymore). However, this book takes being frugal above and beyond anything I would have ever imagined. There are some neat ideas, but I think the author is a little over the top on almost everything. Also, the format of the book is completely unorganized and its hard to find specifc info you are looking for. I've read lots of other books on this subject that are much better.
Karen
Feb 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Over 6 years of the Tightwad Gazette newsletter in one volume. Not something you read cover-to-cover, but a book you pick up now and then and read a page or two. A huge amount of frugal ideas are contained in this volume, some I follow, some I should follow, some to ponder, some ridiculous, and some just out-of-date. Regardless, the author's own story is quite inspiring; a family of 6 (or is it 8?) can live very comfortably and save for a down payment on a house, all with a very modest salary.
Kathy
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
I had been reading a variety of environment-related books, which segued into sustainable living and thrift books. I only read about 1/3 of this book (it is about 900 pages). There were only a handful of ideas that I would actually use, so I decided to cut my losses and put the book down. What I realized was the environmental argument is much more compeling to me than the thrift argument--i.e. I am much more likely to hang my clothes on the clothesline to reduce my carbon footprint than I am do ...more
Christina
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I just read this to see if there were any good ideas for being more thrifty. Unfortunately, while the book was printed in 1998, the ideas were from many years earlier, and I found the book overall pretty useless. Maybe it's because I've been frugal for years and any of the good ideas in the book I discovered ages ago. For someone who doesn't live frugally, this book might be useful? For me, the day I start washing Dollar Store baggies to reuse and drying them all over my kitchen is the day ...more
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“Tightwaddery without creativity is deprivation. When there is a lack of resourcefulness, inventiveness, and innovation, thrift means doing without. When creativity combines with thrift you may be doing it without money, but you are not doing without.” 7 likes
“The manufacturing of most goods harms the environment in one way or another. The culprit is not the factory, but it is we who buy what it produces. Therefore we should think carefully about items we purchase.” 5 likes
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