I’ve really enjoyed reading the first few chapters of The Tightwad Gazette. Believe it or not, I’ve not read any
of the three volumes before. It’s rather fun to hear from another
frugal zealot and I have a feeling I’ll be gleaning a lot from this.
More than anything, I’m being inspired all over again as to why I am
frugal in the first place.
One of my favorite parts of the book so far was Amy’s list of 10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year:
1) Purchase 10 articles of clothing at thrift shops and yard sales this year instead of paying department store prices.
I the only person who automatically zeros in on the clearance racks
even if I have a gift card or someone else is paying? I think I can
count on one hand (if that!) the times I’ve paid full price for any
article of clothing. I usually head straight for the 50-75% off racks
and those are often priced much more than I can bring myself to pay.
am so frugal that I go on thrift store clearance days or dollar days.
Unless I really, really love the item, $1 is about my top price to pay
for any item in a thrift store.
Garage sales are my favorite of all – especially when it’s the kind where everything is marked under $1!
2) Hang four loads of laundry per week instead of using the dryer.
I also the only frugal person who doesn’t hang their clothes? I know I
should, I really do. I just keep coming up with excuses for not getting
the right equipment to do it. It’s on my list of changes to implement
3) Once a month make a pizza from scratch instead of having one delivered.
Better yet, teach your family to like homemade pizza
more than restaurant pizza and than you’ll pretty much never have to
order out. We order pizza about once a year around here and I always
decide it’s really not worth bothering. My homemade pizza is so much better!
4) Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long distance phone call.
does email count? That’s even cheaper than a letter, though not as
personal. Most folks, like us, have free long distance on our cell
phones, though, so this one is a bit out-dated.
5) Reduce your soda consumption by four cans per week.
suggestion? Learn to drink water and like it. It’s better for your
health anyway. Don’t get me started on my soapbox on soda addictions,
6) Bake one batch of bread per week.
When it’s this
easy to make, I have no excuse. Except the excuse that we’ve not gotten
completely accustomed to homemade bread for sandwiches. Any other time,
though, we much prefer homemade.
7) Save $50 each on two children’s birthday parties by making homemade decorations, cake, wrapping paper, and one present.
Or be a minimalist like me and skip the decorations, give the gift of time or a special outing, and bake a simple cake.
8) Reduce your smoking by three cigarettes per day (or give up smoking altogether and save even more).
offense to anyone, but this is about the biggest money-pit ever. And
that’s not even talking about what it does to your health.
Reduce your whole milk consumption by two gallons per week,
substituting dry milk in cooking, homemade cocoa mix, and in
half-and-half for drinking.
just decided to cut out milk in most instances except on cereal and in cooking (I
sometimes water that down, too.) so we go through about a half gallon
per week. I’ve heard that dry milk costs have gone up so it’s not
really much cheaper anymore to substitute. Can anyone confirm or deny
(Note: We eat a combination of yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables in place of drinking lots of milk. We prefer this, and from the research I’ve done, our bodies actually assimilate these forms of calcium better than the calcium in milk. I know some disagree on this, but let’s just agree to disagree, okay?)
10) Pack four inexpensive school lunches per week.
don’t have to bother with school lunches right now, but my husband does
almost always take his lunch to work. We’ve figured up that this saves
us at least $1,000 a year!
The most encouraging thing to remember is that a penny saved, is more than a penny earned. Why? Well, check out this
excellent and simplistic explanation. Quite the motivation for focusing
on reducing your outgo first and foremost before seeking to increase
We can make millions of dollars, but if we don’t
know how to wisely steward it, we’ll be no better off than someone who
makes below minimum wage. In fact, we might even be worse off than them.
Another great quote from The Tightwad Gazette:
"The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket book."
-Frank McKinney Hubbard
What are some painless things you do in your home that save you $100 or more each year? Tell us in the comments, I’d love to hear!
Originally published January 2008.