Tightwad Gazette- what don't you like - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-09-2005, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, we have discussed the Tightwad Gazette here before. Although I recommend the book to different types of people, I find some of the subjects a bit out there and/or insulting or outdated. Sometimes I let the reader know that. I first read this book from our LLL library.

I did not like- how she made her children eat everything on their plates or be punished whatever

A bit strict about things that really did not save time

Spent hours and hours driving around garbage picking or garage saleing. Gas and time are being wasted.

What else?
This is not to bash since I am clearly saying there are good ideas in there that I use but there are also things that are like I said- a bit out there. What do you think?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-09-2005, 10:37 PM
 
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Her attitude about making her kids eat everything bothered me. And there were plenty of things that I am not interested in doing, but which don't offend me. I think for someone who is not very frugal, a lot of the book may seem out there. And I was definitely in that category before I read the book, but I came away loving it, and trying a lot of the ideas in it, if not all of them.

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Old 03-10-2005, 01:54 AM
 
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I don't see anything wrong with rescuing items from the landfill or saving tons of money going yardsaling.
We have rules around eating, too, so that didn't bother me.
What I don't like about her books are that she sacrifices taste, quality of food, and real foods for imitation foods (ie - powdered milk, imitation vanilla, etc.)
But hey, whatever blows your skirt up, right?
maybe, though, when her kids all grow up, they'll find those small pleasures in foods that, like... have taste.

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Old 03-10-2005, 11:18 AM
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I don't agree with forcing kids to finish food.

And I don't like the reliance on the cheap mixes, generic foods, basically it sounds like they do eat a lot of junk. I know she mentions healthy foods, too, but she talks a lot about buying 19 boxes of sugared cereal, using powdered milk all the time, packing bologna sandwiches for lunch, etc. blech.

Yeah, she doesn't sound like much of a chef to me!

I like the book overall, and I think there are good ideas there and the philosophy is sound. But I do think for her it's as much a hobby and a way of life as a way to save money. I mean, the time she must spend figuring out how to save 5 cents would be a total waste of time for me. If it is something easy to do and I am not donating money to WalMart, fine. But to spend 12 hours researching how to make your scotch tape last longer or whatever, forget it!

I think the easiest way to save money is not to spend it. Period. Don't go to a store without a list, only buy what's on your list, etc. Don't get sucked in by fake sales. Don't buy food that is overly packaged and processed.

Her price book is a good idea.

I find our forums here to be just as helpful.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dready mama and rainbow- you know I love ya guys!

Whatever blows your skirt up? LOL really

I have no problem rescuing landfills but if its a tank of gas or time I can spend w dd strapped into a car seat, then its not saving me any $$ either.

But I agree, I do not do processed food like she does- all 3 of us have posted on eating good foods.

As of eating rules- we too have rules. No treats or milk until we eat first. It has helped our family a lot. But making the child sit there until they do- whats the point.

I also like the idea of a price book. I am lucky, my price book is in my head- I am fortunate to have a very good memory (it also clogs your brain though)
and I can tell you that Wesson at the Jewel is more expensive then the local grocer by $1.50. I also know what all of our groceries are at every place.

I do like the different ideas mailed in by people- some are quirky, others are like- why not, sounds good.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-10-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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I agree with the food thing. Somewhere in one of the books she talks about the meats that they eat - bologna, kielbasa, bacon, chicken legs, etc. Granted, she did talk about TVP and the like and, to be fair, I do eat some of these things but I like to think my diet is a bit more balanced for having more lean meats and fish.

I skip a lot of the letters - some of these people clearly did not have enough to occupy their day. I always giggle when I think about the person who dug the scraps out of their deoderant, saved them and then melted them down to make a "new" deoderant. I'm not judging them - mad props for keeping that quarter of a deoderant out of landfill, you know? - I just don't know where someone finds the time.

I'm a little sad, too, about how dismissive Amy was about "leisure". In her zeal to be so productive and money saving all the time (as expressed in the books and her interviews, anyway) I think she lost sight of the fact that "recreation" includes the word "re-create", as in recreating one's self. She said a few times that she recognized that not everyone could or should live as they do, but more often the implicit disdain for other lifestyles was pretty obvious.

Still and all, though, TTG was a great resource and really helped people rethink the need to spend money to approach every facet of their lives. And I think that Amy, in concert with Martha Stewart, helped people reclaim their inner creativity. While very different in approach and goals, both women championed Do It Yourself as a worthwhile and valuable path.
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Old 03-10-2005, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by chalupamom
I'm a little sad, too, about how dismissive Amy was about "leisure". In her zeal to be so productive and money saving all the time (as expressed in the books and her interviews, anyway) I think she lost sight of the fact that "recreation" includes the word "re-create", as in recreating one's self. She said a few times that she recognized that not everyone could or should live as they do, but more often the implicit disdain for other lifestyles was pretty obvious.
.
I agree- she seems to loose sight that there are more than one way to do things.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:05 PM
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And I think that Amy, in concert with Martha Stewart, helped people reclaim their inner creativity. While very different in approach and goals, both women championed Do It Yourself as a worthwhile and valuable path.
Did you ever see the "Free Martha" bumper stickers? :LOL

I am not a huge fan of hers even though I live in CT. She's okay. I did think she got a bum rap though in comparison to those Enron folks!
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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MArtha paid the price, served her time, paid her dues (in more ways than 1) and will come back fine. I was and I am still a big fan.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-11-2005, 03:45 AM
 
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I am actually reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette now; I have it checked out from the library. I am taking a LOT of good things out of it, but I do get this feeling like her one and only goal in decision-making is how to do it the cheapest. There isn't any "wiggle room" for the things that may cost more, yet make us happy, save time, are healthier, etc.

And since we're getting OT on Martha... :LOL I was a bit offended when she said she didn't see what the big deal was b/c "it was only $40,000." That's more money than a lot of hard working families make in a year--hard working families who bought her products and made her the millionaire she is today.
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Old 03-11-2005, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I watched her show, took some of her ideas and recieved her cookbook as a gift. But her products were a bit out of my reach on her website!

She paid for what she did- her company stock lost millions for her 40k messup. But what irked me is she knew what she did wrong- she even deleted emails not knowing that there is a trail left when you use your pc. Like most of her generation- they do not realize- the pc tells on you!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-11-2005, 06:36 PM
 
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So true about the computer trail! That sounds like something my parents would do. :LOL And you make some great points about Martha. I'm very interested to see how her comeback pans out.

Hey, wouldn't it be fun to watch Martha and Amy, The Frugal Zealout, duke it out in a Battle of the Homemakers! :LOL
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Old 03-11-2005, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It would be a heck of a battle! Now that Martha has seen how to survive in jail (or whatever she served in) she may give Amy a run for her money.

But again, she paid her dues in more ways than one. Martha though used no budget known to anyone- Amy has normal everday variety people in mind.

Do you really think Martha picks up a pair of old sneakers at her "tag sales" like Amy does?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:36 PM
 
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All of Amy's kids are grown now, and neither she nor her dh have 'real jobs'-- they both volunteer for their pet projects. They have never been sit-at-home -and watch-TV-types. I'm sure they are quite productive in their freedom.

I think Amy's youngest (tiwns?) are like 19 now. I wonder what all her kids are doing? She used to write a yearly newsletter update. I have not seen one in a few years, but as of like 2001, all the kids were happy, doing well, and are healthy.

I didn't like that they didn't buy books--except the crappy cartoon-type Sesame St books from yard sales.

I also did not like that she did not respect organic foods.

All that said, she's only a few years older than I am, but she has all the money she needs for her kids college educations, has a huge home with no mortgage, and tons of time to hang with her hubby and not work at any job she does not choose/love.

I may not agree with all she advocated, but oh man, she set her goals and she attained them.

I am sure she is no longer saving plastic twist ties to send as Valentines to her dh.

In fact, I read that she is currently a big uspporter of local artists. It's all good when you can spend your money in the way you choose, for the local products you want.

Rock on, Amy. Says me with a *huge* mortagage.
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Old 03-18-2005, 11:54 PM
 
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But to spend 12 hours researching how to make your scotch tape last longer or whatever, forget it!
:

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Old 03-22-2005, 09:20 PM
 
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i dont like the fact that she considers a bowl of porridge or a couple of muffins to be breakfast!! We need protein in our family or everyone is killing each other within the hour. I spent the longest time feeling guilty that I couldnt make breakfast for 5 cents each serving!
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Old 03-22-2005, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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maybe a bowl of oatmeal, but yes, if we do not have protein in our body, all 3 of us are nuts within 2 hours. Then we just have to eat again.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 03-22-2005, 10:29 PM
 
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even with oatmeal, I have to spruce it up with nuts, peanut butter or yogurt
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:04 AM
 
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I love the Tightwad Gazette. I checked it out of my library so many times I finally bought a copy.

There were a few things I didn't like about it but overall it has helped me be more frugal. I didn't really like the amount of time devoted to talking about trash picking. Either out of dumpsters or out at the curb. I suppose if you are desparate but it just doesn't seem like a great way to save money to me.

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Old 03-27-2005, 07:39 PM
 
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I made my kids eat what they wanted, and what they left was my dinner...it kept my weight down...:

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:37 AM
 
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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? )
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:13 PM
 
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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.

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(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!

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Old 03-28-2005, 12:44 PM
 
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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.
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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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?
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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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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