Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Practice of Tightwaddery


I was at my Mom's house the other day, and I was telling her how we have been trying to figure out better ways to save money.  She thought these books would be the perfect read, and is letting me borrow them for a while. The title alone intrigued me; The Tightwad Gazette-Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle. It started as a newsletter about saving money. They made it into a book by compiling two years worth of newsletters, with articles written by the author aka 'The Frugal Zealot', as well as a wealth of tips and tricks from the readers themselves. It is arranged into four sections divided by seasons. She continued the newsletter and that became the material for two more books; The Tightwad Gazette 2 and 3. I am almost finished reading the second one. 

Now that I have revealed to you how this book came to be at my house, I can tell you that it has changed my life!! I have a whole new perspective on what it means to be thrifty, economical, and how to save money. Let me share with you some of the article titles: How to make a Solar Box Cooker, Creative Deprivation, How to Work Out How Much You're Saving, Dumpster Diving, Gas versus Electric, 10 Ways to Reuse a Milk Gallon Jug, Thrift and the Environment, Tightwad Ethics, The Three Principles of Used Acquisition, and the list goes on. 

What I love about these books is her ability to communicate the reasons behind her way of life. She writes in one of her articles that it is not just about saving money. There are many scrooges out there that save money and are unhappy. It is about saving it for a purpose to give you a better quality of life. She promotes reusing egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, and juice can lids not only to save money, but also to waste less and challenge your resourcefulness. She writes about making food and snacks from scratch not only to save money by avoiding name brand marketing schemes, but also because it wastes less packaging and is more nutritious. She writes about investing money to save money. You can buy a deep freezer to store surplus vegetables, extra casseroles, meat on sale, and bulk grains. This saves you money in the long run because now you can stock up on sales and have a place to put it. She also encourages keeping track of how much something will save you, and how long it will take for the savings to payback the investment to determine it's worth. 

The biggest takeaway that I got from these books is an increased passion to reduce, reuse, and recycle. There are limitless ways to save money, use less, be resourceful with what we have, be better to the environment, and have fun!  Also. I believe that the more we enforce this type of attitude, the richer we become as people and as Christians. My character grows as I learn to waste less and I am excited to put all this information to good use. 

Let me give you a few examples of things I am starting to implement. I cut our paper towel roll down the middle to make it last twice as long. I am starting a price book to write down the cost of an item at different stores to get the best deal. I am reusing the mesh onion bag as a wadded up dish scrubber. I walk to the library to check out books instead of buying them new. I am saving the plastic mushroom containers to plant seeds in next spring. I am using a gallon jug with the top cut off as a pooper scooper for when Bowdon doesn't poop in our yard. I am going to put a timer on our water heater so it is only running in the morning and at night to save electricity, and make cookie cutters out of tuna cans. 

I know this is going to be a great adventure and I am excited to see what resourceful things I can come up with. 

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