A Tightwad Experiment

Have you ever heard of or read The Tightwad Gazette? I have to admit that it was never even on my radar until a couple of months ago. After coming across mentions of it on other blogs, I was intrigued and finally picked up a copy of the The Complete Tightwad Gazette via amazon. It is basically a compilation of publications that came out in the early 90’s written by a woman named Amy Dacyczyn. The complete edition is an over 900 page book chock full of money saving advice and is well worth the read.

I didn’t read every article word for word, but I did read most of it in a pretty short time frame, mainly because I found it fascinating. (I did mention in my last post that I was a big nerd, didn’t I?) In it Dacyczyn has sections devoted to reader tips that were sent in, as well as little experiments where she does the math on whether or not certain things are worth doing to save money or not. One that was near and dear to my heart was where she broke down the cost of both parents working full-time and whether or not it benefits the family that much (by the way, her conclusion was that it really doesn’t). In light of my fondness for this book, I decided to do a little experiment of my own. For the entire month of May, I recorded our family’s use of certain household items which I felt like I was constantly buying and/or replacing. I kept the list on the side of our fridge and made a tally mark each time I had to replace something. For example, every time I got a new loaf of bread out of the freezer, I would put a tally mark on the “bread” section of my list. Now that May is over, I added up everything and here are the results:

Paper Towels-3 rolls

Toilet Paper-13 rolls

Bread-12 loaves

Milk-11 Gallons

Butter-10 sticks

Peanut Butter-4 jars

Cold Cereal-5 boxes

Trash Bags-16

Looking back, I wish I had put other things on my list. Things like dozens of eggs, pounds of flour, pounds of pasta, and so forth would probably also be useful. I may actually do this again another month to get an even better picture of how we use up different items. Now that my kids are almost done school and will be home full-time, we will most likely consume more of some items! The value I see in conducting this experiment is that should I ever go to the once-a-month shopping mode, I would pretty much know how much to stock up on for the month.

How about you? Have you ever read The Tightwad Gazette? Also, what would you put on your list?

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