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Tightwad Gazette- what don't you like - Page 2

post #21 of 25
I don't like how the book itself -- The Complete Tightwad Gazette -- was printed with such poor-quality materials! Dunno if every edition is the same, but the one I got from my library was on the flimsiest newsprint, the ink smeared on my fingers and the covers were floppy & didn't protect the book. I'm sure this kept the cover price down but what's the point when the book wears out twice as fast -- in my mind part of frugality is making sure that what you have is made to last.

I have major issues with the food stuff too. Enjoying food is a major priority in my life. Not that this means food has to be expensive, and I realize it may occupy a different priority for other people, but it made me a little sad to see that the *only* focus seemed to be on dollars and cents when it came to what they ate.

Ditto on a lot of other things, actually. Now believe me, I'm the *last* person to say that being frugal means depriving yourself or that children need tons of new stuff, but somehow their life did come off as somewhat bleak to me. Maybe it's the "re-creation" thing Chalupamom mentioned, maybe it's just that everything was weighed in tems of functionality, dollars and cents instead of joy & enrichment, maybe it's just the way I read it and I was totally off-base.

I agree that it's full of useful ideas & good things to think about, and obviously it did expose a lot of people to a new kind of life, but I don't think it would be the first resource I would recommend for someone totally new to the idea of frugality.

(I wonder why, when they slashed every other expense to the bone, it never occurred to them to use cloth TP or to no-shampoo and go without soap? )
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlndocs
maybe it's just that everything was weighed in tems of functionality, dollars and cents instead of joy & enrichment, maybe it's just the way I read it and I was totally off-base.
au contraire! I believe their family put alot of emphasis on the "wow" factor of all purchases. Along with money came the decision of how much bang for your buck you got. It was actually a really cool equation she came up with. Like when you spend 100 bucks to go camping or 1000 to go on a cruise, do you really get 10 times the enjoyment from the cruise? probably not. There is alot of discussion in the TWG about enjoyment of your purchases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girlndocs
(I wonder why, when they slashed every other expense to the bone, it never occurred to them to use cloth TP or to no-shampoo and go without soap? )
I'm sure they did think about this, actually. She had thousands of people writing in ideas constantly. She just didn't write about the things that she didn't actually try or have a co-worker try. Perhaps this didn't seem right for her family. They weren't all that crunchy, and the idea of cloth toilet paper probably grossed them out, like most Americans. She did talk about reusable menstrual products and chose a Keeper over the many sample cloth pads people sent her. she was actually converted and always used the keeper. Sounds like she knew about most everything out there and just used and wrote about what was within her comfort level.

sorry, I know this is supposed to be a thread about not liking the book, and here I am defending it... just tired of all the dissing!
post #23 of 25
Oh, I so agree, Dready*mama! While I wish she had respected organics and the like better, I love how the *wow* factor and joy in simple, wonderful things was so a part of their every day lives.

I read a few of her newsletter updates, and I so enjoyed what the children said about their childhoods (I believe the youngest children, twins? are in their late teens now). They thought ice cream treats were wonderful, they had all those cool birthday parties--the priate ship in the barn sounds like a little kids dream party. They did things together- hung out, worked in their workshop, went berry picking etc. Their children saw how much their parents loved each other, spent time with all of them, and shared common goals of a certain freedom for their family.

Just because one writes about frugality--every single ehausting aspect of frugality-- -- that was her job, remember? You can't write newsletters for years, and then turn them into full lenght books without doing research-- does not mean one is not enjoying & honoring the joys of life. In fact, honoring the simple things, treading lightly on this earth, loving your partner & kids, baking brithday cakes, rummaging through tag sales finding the perfect present for a little child, baking banana bread from scratch with while your children help, and playing scrabble together, instead of spending a lot of money (or worse charging it) on taking the kids to a Disney movie and calling it 'quality time', *is* living life. And, imo, living it well.

I like that they are so supportive of local aritists in their communtiy now. They dont have to work at jobs they do not enjoy, and so can volunteer in the community, and support it's residents. That's cool. And I don't think she's more than 50 or so, is she? Great adult kids, loving partner, no debt, free to support your causes. Pretty terrible.
post #24 of 25
That's right! She wrote about the Keeper waaaaay back when. She was def ahead of her time in many ways. She also used cloth diapers for 6 children and hung them on the line to dry. I love the scent of diapers dried on the line-- smells like spring. And people pay big money for laundry detergent that smells like spring. Funny, huh?
post #25 of 25
I forgot about the Keeper! Yeah, that was great. On another forum, there was a discussion about frugality and someone brought up TWG, saying something about "reusing tampons" Some people just don't even *want* to get it, I guess.

Dready*mama, you mentioned this on the other thread, but I thought it would be more appropriate to respond here -- I haven't seen anyone saying it's not a good thing to trashdive or to yardsale. I love doing both, but the fact is that for my family, spending time doing other things gives us more bang for our frugal buck than devoting endless weekends to cruising curbs and dumpsters. Especially with the price of gas up the way it is! You can tell that those parts of the TWG were definitely written when gas wasn't as pricey. (Also, there wasn't any craigslist or Freecycle!)

If I lived in a bigger city, or an apartment complex with a big dumpster & wasteful neighbors, or within walking distance of a college campus, salvaging would be a much bigger part of our lives. It's just one of those variables, like hunting for meat isn't likely to account for a big part of your food budget if you live in NYC.

Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not more "vigilant" about checking yardsales regularly or dumpsterdiving. It really helps to be reminded that there's other people it doesn't work well for either & I'm not somehow slacking. Why be upset or defensive? No one's saying, "Oh, trashpicking, EW, what a waste of time, who would want trash?" KWIM?

So, thinking about the "joy factor" of the D's lives. I dunno, maybe it was just the way I read it. I remember the wow factor & I definitely agree that kids aren't as happy when they're "oversaturated". So maybe there was something else coloring the way I happened to be reading that weekend Maybe it's just that I can't imagine enjoying life if it meant eating everything no matter how little I enjoyed it -- I love to cook and for me, having delicious homemade healthy simple food is one of the *advantages* of frugal living. Does that make sense? I remember Amy saying she didn't like to cook, though. Different strokes.

One other thing: by the time I got around to checking out the TWG, very little to none of what it said was news to me anymore, kwim? So perhaps it just didn't make as big an impression on me as it might have if most of the concepts in it had been novel. Maybe for those of you who really love it, it holds the same place as Charles Long's Surviving Without A Salary holds for me :LOL
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