The Tightwad Gazette started out as an actual gazette – a series of newsletters written by author Amy Dacyzyn. The book is basically just a compilation of these news letters with dividers indicating the different seasons. Some of the advice is seasonal, such as creative ways to do meaningful but cheap Christmas presents. Other advice is much broader, touching on the ethics of being a tightwad and the creativity required to solve problems cheaply. The rest of the advice is somewhere in-between, discussing topics that will only be useful to people in certain situations. This includes everything from advice about raising kids cheaply to having a good yard sale to finding creative uses for old milk jugs.
Unfortunately, I don’t have kids, I’m not holding a yard sale, and I don’t buy a lot of milk. So for those and many other reasons, large sections of the book were often not applicable to me. Some of them might be eventually (for instance, I’ll definitely buy more milk when my boyfriend is around starting in December) but I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll remember such advice existed. And given the nearly complete lack of organization, I’m certain I couldn’t find it unless I knew to look for it and could use the comprehensive index.
Although a lot of the book wasn’t applicable to me now, I still scribbled down nearly a full page of topics and page numbers I think I should reference later. If you have children, even more of the author’s clever suggestions could be useful for you. Personally, I enjoyed the author’s writing style fairly well. She has a clear, straightforward manner of writing that makes her advice easy to understand. Occasionally she’ll also be really funny, although not often enough to make me excited about reading straight through the book. Usually I would still give the book a slightly better rating and put it in the category of “reference book no one else would be silly enough to read through”, but it also wasn’t well-organized enough that I could see using it as a reference book. Instead, it may be something I come back to in the future if I remember it having advice relevant to my future situation.This review first posted on Doing Dewey.