Recently, I introduced two enduring inspirations and guides to our frugal lifestyle, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, and Amy Dacyczyn’s newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette, both of which have a place in our Homestead Reference Library.
Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced like “decision”) calls herself the Frugal Zealot, and lives up to that name. Her pursuit of frugality goes far beyond what most people, including us, find comfortable. Her newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette, offered her thoughts and strategies on frugality, and shared readers’ hints and tips as well.
What makes Amy’s information so useful is her tenacity. She thinks through each topic so critically, and is willing to research, experiment, and mull over so many aspects of the issue, that when she finally makes a pronouncement on “The Frugal Solution,” one can be pretty sure that it’s the final word. She is not one to be sucked in by false economy.
For instance, she’s worked out whether it’s better to commute to work by taking the highway or side roads, and how long one should brush their teeth to get them clean without toothpaste! The answers to many of her questions are often surprising. What seems like savings often isn’t. It was her pleasure to root out and reveal those instances.
She truly is a zealot. Some of what she recommends or proposes goes much further than we’d ever want to. Some of it I’d already been doing all my life. However, there are enough ideas in the gazette that either can be applied outright, adapted, or even get us thinking in different ways to make it an extremely valuable resource.
Amy published The Tightwad Gazette for 6 years, until December 1996. Interestingly, she closed the publication when she started a partnership with Dominguez and Robin of Your Money or Your Life! Luckily, the issues are still available, either in The Tightwad Gazette volumes 1-3, or in the single, compilation volume we own, The Complete Tightwad Gazette (ask your local independent bookstore). Or, you can get them secondhand—I often see copies at garage sales and used bookstores.