Book Review: The Tightwad Gazette

For those of us who love creativity, hate waste, and enjoy watching our savings accounts grow, The Tightwad Gazette is a thrill a minute.  The author, Amy Dacyczyn, was termed the “frugal zealot” for her efforts to “promote thrift as a viable lifestyle.” The Tightwad Gazette was published back in the late ‘90s, but it’s still just as applicable today.  Her grocery costs of just $38.00 a week for a family of eight are still astounding, even if you take inflation into account.

Although The Tightwad Gazette emphasizes frugality rather than environmentalism, Dacyczyn, points out that most of her cost-savings efforts are eco-friendly. Her family rarely buys anything new, grows most of their produce, and limits their meat intake. 

Dacyczyn, a mother of six, started by selling year-long subscriptions for one dollar each to The Tightwad Gazette newsletter.  The business steadily grew until she was mentioned in Parade Magazine and subscriptions went through the roof.  She had to hire a small staff and eventually was wooed into compiling six years of newsletters into a three volume set of books.  (You can also purchase all three in one bound volume entitled The Complete Tightwad Gazette).

The book is packed with information about reusing blue jeans, brown bananas, mylar balloons and milk jugs—but it also contains wonderful information about preparing for baby on the cheap.  Next week you’ll find out how Dacyczyn spent less than $100 on raising her twins for an entire year.

This is how much I love The Tightwad Gazette: After checking it out three times and reading it twice, I’m actually planning on buying it!  Here at the Green Baby Guide, we’ve written about avoiding book purchases—but I’ll have to break our rule on this one!   She saves me far more money than I’ll spend buying The Tightwad Gazette—and of course I’ll buy it used!

If you’re a frugal soul with some eco-friendly ideas, you’ll want to  join our Thrifty Green Thursday blog carnival here at Green Baby Guide.  We’re looking for posts that offer earth friendly, budget friendly solutions that work. For more information, check out our open invitation here


  1. I loved this book, too. Really useful & practical tips on how to save money.

  2. I love the Tightwad Gazette too! Some of the information is dated, but it’s a book I often pull off the shelves and read for inspiration.

  3. The Tightwad Gazette (“frugal fannie” as we call her around my house) is such a huge favorite! Even when the specific information isn’t useful to us, her whole approach to tightwaddery is really wonderful — she’s thoughtful and carefully analyzes all possibilities. Whenever we start spending too much money, we always love to spend some time with the tightwad gazette to bring our spending back down. We also love “Your Money or Your Life,” but it’s not nearly as practical and all-around-useful as Tightwad Gazette. The only additional book I would really recommen is Super Baby Food — lots of ideas for feeding infants as well as cheap craft and cleaning recipes.

  4. It’s great to hear that you all have heard of The Tightwad Gazette. Dacyczyn has so disappeared from public life in the last decade that I was worried her fan club was dwindling. What we lack in numbers, we make up for in loyalty!

Speak Your Mind