Category Archives: Tightwad

By jppi on

Curbside Pick-Up

Here is a topic from one of Amy’s readers, which you can find on page 193 of the Complete Tightwad Gazette.

We have picked up many great items using this system. Each spring, communities have this roadside pick-up thing that they do. This helps us to declutter our homes.

One benefit to doing this early and setting things out on the road is that people in need can acquire some necessary items.

Another benefit is that less stuff goes into a landfill.

Here are some treasures that I have acquired over the years by using this system:

  • A barbecue grill
  • A nice bike for my daughter
  • A bean bag chair for each of my daughters
  • Clothing for all of us
  • Books and school supplies for all of us
  • Stands
  • A dresser
  • Shelves
  • Planters and other gardening needs
  • Kitchen items


Homemade Drawstring Bags

These are easy to make, and can be made any size that you like.



Yarn or thick string

Needle and thread

Measuring tape


Fabric pen

  1. Measure fabric two twice the length you need, plus and extra inch or two, and mark.
  2. Measure fabric to width desired, plus 1/4 inch.
  3. Cut the fabric out.
  4. Sew the two sides together, like sides together.
  5. Sew the top 1/4 inch over, then fold over and sew so that the yarn can be pulled through. To do this, do not sew the two ends.
  6. Turn right-side-out and string.

Designer Clothing and Teens

Do teens still think they ‘need’ designer clothing? Amy Dacyzyn touches upon this subject on page 93 of her book The Complete Tightwad Gazette. She says:

“Give your child a clothing budget…Save designer labels…form a parent group against…”

Here are my thoughts:

  • I have a teenager and a 20-year-old. We have always been ‘poor’ and most of their clothes have been hand-me-downs.
  • When I have purchased clothes for them out of need, I have started with thrift shops, yard sales and other second-hand venues.
  • When necessary, I have purchased something new at a store, many times on clearance, and rarely at full price.
  • My 17-year-old tells me that brand is not important. But, she says, Converse and Dickies are the best quality and last longer. However, she does not purchase them brand new because of the expense. Looks are more important than labels.
  • My 20-year-old will wear anything as long as it looks good.
  • Both girls, now that they shop for themselves, yard sale and frequent thrift shops. They are very picky about what they purchase new, if anything at all.
  • They do not read the label to determine if they like something and will purchase it.


Using Coupons

I sometimes use coupons, but not always. I cut out many more than I use. Why?

  • It is usually cheaper to purchase a store/generic brand.
  • Store/generic brands are generally just brand names with less decorative packaging.
  • Ex: If your store sells Hood milk, then the store brand milk is likely Hood.

Here are some tips:

  • Do not be brand loyal.
  • By discounted items that need to be used right off. Use a coupon if you have one for extra savings.
  • Stock up when butter is sold for .33 a package, etc.Use a coupon if you have one for extra savings.
  • Buy in bulk when it will really save you money. Use a coupon if you have one for extra savings.

What tips do you have? Please share.


Dear Frugal Diary,

I wrote an article yesterday that completely upset some man named ‘Steve’. The article started off innocent as could be, as a way to be sure that children did not gorge themselves on their Halloween candy in a short period of time, which is not good for them.

‘Steve’ accused me of:

  • Being sick
  • Being twisted
  • Stealing candy from children

Obviously, these accusations are untrue. The children get all of their candy, only in a healthier manner – spread out throughout the winter.

The method also saves mom money on other holiday candy, because the candy is spread out.

You can read the article at the link below. Please leave a comment there and let me know what you think:

Now onto food. We have $214.00 for food for the month. This is for two of us. One who takes lunches to school. We may have an extra $20.00 a month for food when all is said and done.

We visited the food cupboard a couple of months ago, once. We are fine with food, and it should last until the 14th when we will be paid again.

  • I am eating less than what I should.
  • We do not get the required amount of fruits and veggies, and certainly not many fresh ones.
  • We try to use whole grain products, but we still have to eat a lot of white processed stuff.

By all rights, I should be losing weight. I am not. The problem? Carbs do not agree with my body, but they are the foods that I can afford. And they wonder why people are so overweight.


Frugal Lifestyles

On page 44 of The Tightwad Gazette, Amy discusses her frugal lifestyle. The article has great tips for fixing up a house that should have otherwise been burnt to the ground. The people the article focuses on did a lot of work to make the ramshackle building livable, and they did a great job. How did they do this?

Mostly by scavenging. Getting what they could free or very cheaply.

I have incorporated these measures over the last 7 years while fixing up my home:

  • Free windows from my moms old trailer.
  • Purchasing materials and having my stepfather do the work for free.
  • Shopping sales.
  • My mom and stepdad redid Skye’s bedroom because she helped them to take care of my grandmother.
  • My stepfather built in-wall shelving and drawers for Zowie because she would help with my grandmother at times as well.
  • Purchasing items at discount stores.

And for my yard:

  • Leaving the Lily’s the previous owners had planted, and transplanting some elsewhere on the lot.
  • Transplanting violets.
  • Free seeds in the mail.
  • Free bulbs from a neighbor whom I helped.
  • Free planters from numerous sources, as well as some purchased cheaply at yard sales.
  • The lawn mower and wheel barrow were my grandfathers.
  • Waiting to purchase seedlings until they are clearance priced.

What have you done to save money on home improvements?


Three Ways to Save and Sharing

On page 42 of The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Amy discusses the three ways in which she saves money: Buying items cheaper, making those items last longer and using those items less.

I would like to add to this list:

  • Barter
  • Accept kindness

Bartering is self-explanatory. Accepting kindness is key. People like to feel as though they are helping. Why not let them? At some point, you will be able to return a kindness so there is no reason to feel bad about accepting anything.

  • My aunt always gave me her children’s hand-me-downs. Once my children were done with these items, I passed them along to my sister whose daughters are younger than mine.
  • My friend cuts my hair for free. We invited her on a trip to Salem with us.
  • My friends and family give me all of their used candle holders, as well as their candle ends. Just before Thanksgiving, my daughter and I are making candles from the ends and using the holders. We will give these recycled candles to friends and family as gifts. They loved the idea so much last year, that they want to keep it going.

Here are some articles dealing with frugalness and the recession that I would like to share with you:

Hope you all have a nice day.


An Affordable Birthday Party

I never was one for spending a lot on my children’s b-day parties, except Skye’s sweet 16 (also done with a budget, though). I always bought cheap ice cream and made a homemade cake. I usually used our household plates, cups, spoons and forks, even when we had a dozen people there. I would also purchase a 3-liter of soda.

My mother would bring paper napkins, and sometimes dad would bring paper plates and cups and plastic silverware. My sister would always bring chips and dip.

Other than a gift, I wouldn’t spend anything else. I didn’t have to. My children loved having their friends and family around, and cared nothing about games, goodie bags and such.


More Yard Sale Treasures

I visited another yard sale last weekend, where I came across a few good deals:

  • Salem’s Lot, a book by Stephen King, for 25 cents.
  • Bringing Down the House, a DVD for 75 cents.
  • The Mothman Prophesies, a DVD for .75 cents.

How exciting! I viewed both movies, and they work great. Bringing Down the Housewill be given to my daughter Zowie as a holiday gift.

What great deals are you finding?