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What DO you like about the TWG?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
As a complement to current thread I wanted to talk about the inspirational parts to TWG. I just read it for the first time. There are a number of things I could criticize Amy for, but I feel inspired by quite a bit of it.
What are some parts of the book that really helped you in your frugality?

1. The price book. Actually I learned about it last year from Miserly Moms, but it seems to be Amy's idea.
I saw my most dramatic cost savings with the use of a price book.

2. the "wow" factor. "examining the ratio of satisfaction-to-price between two or more alternatives. . . examine the cost per wow." You should get the most wow for the smallest amount of money.
She gives and example of a camping trip costing $600, versus a cruise costing $ 6000

toddler is awake will add more later
post #2 of 18
Suprisingly I liked all of it. There are things I don't do (at least now) but there is nothing I don't like.
I was suprised too because I have seen several comments about dislikes here in the past and so was shocked to just enjoy the whole darn thing.

I think most of all I love the idea that we can change our financial lives just by making a few possible changes to the income we have already.

DH and I notice a huge difference when we intentionally live frugally and don't. The choice is ours to make and I am glad I know what is possible for us when we put the effort in.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Stretchmark - I agree it is amazing how much change can be made by intentionally living frugally. It is an active process, even if that means you are actively NOT buying something. (An idea I appreciated from TWG)

Back to my list of three things I really appreciated:

1. mentioned above

2. the wow factor: continue of vacations
THe camping trip would rate 5 wows (out of 10) and the cruise would rate 10 wows. This means the camping trip would have a $120 CPW as compared to the $600 CPW of the cruise. Although you would enjoy the cruise twice as much, you would get only a fifth of the value. If you go camping, you'll have funds in reserve to purchase other things that are also relatively low-cost per wow. So you wind up with , 40, 50, or even 60 wows for the same $6000 that would have yielded 10 wows if spent on a cruise.
Although I don't think things through as technically as she describes here, I really have taken this idea to heart. It has helped reduce my desire for big purchases.

3. A woman wrote in explaining her family. They were in a two income family. Due to illness she couldn't work anymore. They really struggled financially, and she emotionally feeling like she wasn't contributing. After following TWG and saving tons of money she determined.
"So, in essence, we are still a two-career family: Mike makes the money, I save it."

This had a huge impact on me. For the past year I have worked hard on being frugal and I am proud of our success, and I continue to strive to improve. It is a job. A job I enjoy.
post #4 of 18
I'm waiting for this book on reserve at the library, so I'll contribute as soon as I read it. I'm excited our library even has it! But I'm also proud of my frugality in waiting to check it out rather than buying it. LOL. Who knows, if I love it I still might buy it to have on hand for motivational purposes on days when it sucks and I want to go shopping.

post #5 of 18
I like it because it shows how a motivated person can be financially free. I like how self-reliant they are. I like that they work together as a couple towards a common goal and respect each other.
post #6 of 18
I really like a lot of the recipes, and the basic cooking philosophy that it is ok to experiment with what you have on hand.
I also liked the way she figures out how much she makes per hour. That went a long way towards explaining to people why I "make" more money staying at home than going to work.
post #7 of 18
What a good thread! I was getting so upset with that other thread (even though I did post on it) that I thought of reviving that old tWG thread. It seems like a waste of time to even complain about such a great book that has helped so many people.
Pretty much alot of the things people were complaining about on the other thread were things I like - yardsaling, trash picking, etc. So much fun! Those are things my family has been doing since I was born, so it's just normal for me to do. I thought it was great to see someone else write about them, adn even have strategies, since I don't have many friends IRL who do those things. It got me more motivated and focused. Like how she only takes one child (if any) yardsaling with her. I had always taken DS's with me, and even though I think it's great they learn about frugality, it's a PITA to drag them around YS'ing! So now they love to go, but I'll set limits and arrange daddy days, etc. I think that's what I like most about the book, was not feeling alone in all we do to save money (especially in this rich, over-priced town where everyone dresses in designer clothes!).

I also love the price book idea. I had an idea similar to that, but not nearly as well figured out as Amy's. That has saved us lots of money, and even allowed us to switch to organic on items that we would not normally have been able to afford.

um.. what else?... I like the little success stories. And I liked that she had kids while doing this. So any mom who thinks they can't do yardsaling, or shop at several different grocery stores, or find enough used clothes, etc... I can say 'Look at her!!! SHe had 6 kids and did it all, while running her own business!"
post #8 of 18
I love that she figured out the hourly thing. It makes so much sense! people think spending a little time saving money isn't worth their time, but her math facts blow all those assumptions away. i also realize how much time i *do* spend with my kids when we are *doing* things together, like finding treasures together at rummage sales, cooking from scratch as we chat in the kitchen etc.

To me, time spent going to the movies, or eating out isn't all that quality when children are very young. You can't really have nice family conversations in restaurants that are shoving you out the door so they can have your table. You pay a lot for non-organic food, the bum's rush and being aggravated that your toddler can't wait an hour for the main course.

At home, you might be spending time rolling out dough, but most 3 yr olds are happy to roll out the dough with you, or play with crayons or a garlic press and playdough, as you do. If they are bored at dinner, they can get down and move and not get punished for making noise or eating the Splenda packages. A yard sale has always been easier and more fun for my children than a mall. You can wiggle and look at little trickets at yard sale, and a little entertainment can be had by a 5 cent hot wheel car from a cool cardboard box. Quality time is time you spend with your child, and it doesn't have to happen one on one in the sandbox. Going about your life, engaging your children, chatting with them, singing show tunes in the car on your way to the discount yarn store is life and life is quality time.

Saving money or not spending the money you do have foolishly, so you can have a decent qualtiy of life is benficial to children everywhere.
post #9 of 18
Dready, if it makes you feel better, the other thread actually inspired me to go to the library and get the TWG, just to see what the fuss is about. I'm enjoying it very much, though I have to say that quite a bit of it seems like the good old-fashioned New England practicality I grew up with (also in Maine)...

There are some things that aren't my style or aren't so lucrative in my area (tag sales and yard sales are just awful... don't get me started on what people call "flea markets" here... blech) but I think her whole point, unless I missed it completely, is that your own creativity can save you a bundle. I think she's fun.
post #10 of 18
Hmmmmmm . . . .what is "TWG"?
post #11 of 18
The Tightwad Gazette. It was originally a newsletter that got published into three seperate books and then into a "'complete tightwad gazette"
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by dready*mama
It seems like a waste of time to even complain about such a great book that has helped so many people.
See, I don't understand this point of view. I think discussion of resources -- the positive and negative -- is a great thing! It helps us all in the process of taking what we need, leaving what would be counterproductive for us.

Remember that we don't live in a society that encourages us to deconstruct, to improvise, so sometimes it's hard for people to realize at a gut level that there's no set of mandatory things you need to do to "be frugal". If a discussion about what we don't like in the TWG makes it less intimidating for someone new to the whole concept -- helps them to break it down -- then it's helpful, too.
post #13 of 18
I think having a whole thread don't think an entire thread devoted to putting down a book is a positive thing that would make people interested in the book. I find it especially disturbing that someone (ON A FRUGAL LIVING FORUM!) would say that it is a waste of time to go yardsaling or trashpicking, etc. There are certainly bad points to almost any book. I wouldn't go to a Bible study to sit around and just talk about all the things I don't like about the Bible, ya know? That wouldn't help me, or anyone I don't think.

Also, momma4, how do you get the new newsletters? Did you get the older ones, too... the originals?
post #14 of 18
Dready*mama--I used to read the old ones at the library every month. lol But a friend of mine has every single one and i reread hers. Plus I have the books. My friends have no debt but mortgage, and bought a house with a low mortgage. She's the one who is most inspiring to me. And she has a nice life, even. lol With ideas from TG they were able to have her dh quit the job he hated and focus on his music carreer, which is turning out to be an excellent career! She went down to working only enough hours to keep their insurance. When he is at work, she has the children, when she is at work, he has them. And because he is in music and works some nights, they are mostly together during the day with their children. Very cool.

The new newsletter was only a yearly family update, with no frugal thoughts. She used to send it out after the first of the year for $1. However, I have not seen a 'new' one in about 2 years. I don't know what happened. Maybe she just stopped feeling she needed to update. I think I read somehwhere that she did it because people kept bugging her to write more books, and wondered what happened to her kids. I guess some people wanted to know whether her children would grow up ok even though they wore hand-me-downs and ate homecooked food from scratch. :LOL

I remember she always got reamed whenever she was getting interviewed on TV (in the Reagan/Dallas/ Falcon Crest BUY CRAP 80's) for 'abusing' her kids by not buying them the latest and the greatest junk. I remember when i was in college, she was on Donahue one day (old show like Oprah with questions from the audience). Half the show was people being nasty to her because she let her kids wear hand-me-down shoes. People went nuts about that! They also said her children needed new clothes or they would not be popular at school. She barely got to talk about saving money, the audience was so stupid. The show was a circus & I thought the audeince was so ignorant, and i was just a crazy spendthrift college student with no interest in frugality at that point.

From the moment of the first newsletter, people have either loved or hated it. Some think it's too extreme. (some of the extreme stuff she came out against in her newsletter, but she printed it because it was a reader's newsletter. She'd say what she thought, but would rpint all kinds of ideas from all kinds of people. I think a lot of readers don't know that, so they think she's the one saving miles of rubber bands) Others, like you & me, think Amy has her head screwed on totally straight. I used to enjoy how smart and together she sounded. So condfident without being snotty. She knew what she wanted from the beginning, and that was financial freedom, which to her symbolized more than a bank account number. I think the main reason my dh and i didn't go into crazy dept and have car payments is because I saw Amy that day on Donahue (quite by accident) years before I even got married.

Anyway- i have not seen a newsletter in awhile, like I said. It was just a basic run down of their lives, what they were doing, what the kids were doing, how she met a great friend online etc. (She finally got internet access sometime in '98 or something). lol
post #15 of 18
I remembered something else I really like about the book. She never uses coupons and gives strategies for eating frugally without them. Heh. I was browsing the "frugal living" shelf at my library and checked out "Shop, Save and Share" which is all about using coupons to save. It assumes you get a lot more coupons than we do here and that you have a store that does double coupons. No grocery stores here even price match! I chalked it up to useless knowledge and returned the book the next day.
post #16 of 18
I own all three TWG original books and the Complete TWG (I bought it thinking it would be different than the others.) I find that I pull them out and reread them when I'm getting stressed about money and I find a tidbit or two that I had forgotten about and try those ideas.

I liked the fact that she had a goal for her dream house and then was able to obtain it through saving money and perseverance. I wish I had that much discipline to set a goal and save for it.
post #17 of 18
For the most part I find the book inspiring. I try to pull it out every once in a while to remind me about what I should be doing :LOL I'm really, really awful with money. I'm not a big ticket item gal but I nickel and dime myself to death. TWG helps keep me grounded.
post #18 of 18
I like all the practical, "why didn't I think of that" ideas. The very first time I opened the book, I opened to the page about making a homemade compost bin from pallets. I have access to free pallets and am desperate need of a compost bin! That really struck me.

The recipes that she gave seem easy to follow and for things I use. I can't wait to make homemade granola!

I think it's neat that she has an attachment to rural areas and old houses, b/c I do, too. My house is almost the exact size and age as hers. :LOL

I love her defense of SAHMs and her emphasis on a family-centered life.

I always smile when she talks about being frugal as fun, b/c I often derive great joy from finding a way to save money, reuse an item, eliminate a "need."

The general feeling that I got from "The Other Thread" was that while there were some things people didn't like about the book, their overall experience was positive. I also think that a frugal forum is the perfect place to talk about the good and bad aspects of frugal practices, frugal books, frugal gurus, etc. I don't think it's necessary that we all agree all the time or that it should only be acceptable to post positive frugal experiences.
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