Most of my life I have been a spendthrift with underlying frugal tendencies. I realize this is an oxymoron, but none the less that is how I describe myself if I am being honest. The dictionary defines these terms as:
Spendthrift - One who spends money recklessly or wastefully.
Frugal - characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources.
I firmly believe that most people are a hybrid of the two. I have never met a pure spendthrift or a purely frugal person, though I have to admit that, like Bigfoot, I believe they DO EXIST. People tend to lean one way or the other and depending on their circumstances at any given time adjust accordingly. This has always been me.
I have always reacted to whatever flaming poop ball came whizzing past my head, in a state of panic, and prayed for divine intervention. And while I have always manage to squeak through, at the end of the day I am left further behind then when I started.
But what if I could construct a lifestyle in such a way that my family's security and peace of mind were not subject to the whimsy of fate and external forces? To know we always had enough whether the state of the economy was thriving or in the toilet? I realize this is not a new idea. I have had some hazy notion of this float through my brain numerous times over the years. This time it stuck and wouldn't go away.
For anyone who has ever woken up with that sick clutching feeling in your stomach and ache of dread in your heart because you don't know how you can provide for your family through the end of the month, week or day, you have probably had this thought yourself. I decided to stop thinking and start doing.
The first thing I did was go out to the "Magic Garage" (more on this later) and dig out an old friend. It is a book called "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced Decision, go figure). I found this book many years ago at a garage sale and bought it out of curiosity. By chapter two I was hooked. The funny thing is that I found it during a period in my life of extreme prosperity and the height of my spendthriftyness. If I had put into practice a lot of the strategies and changed my mindset then, I probably would not be where I am today, or at the very least I would have been better able to cope with the GIANT flaming poop balls that came at me years later. But you know what they say about hindsight...
If you have never heard of this book I have included a link to it's web page on Amazon.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette
I encourage anyone reading this blog to check out this book. The info in it runs the gamut from extremely useful to ridiculously extreme. What makes it so valuable to me is the mindset it puts me in when I read it. I am sure I will refer to the "TG" often as so much of what I am incorporating into my new life has been sparked by what I read in this book.
So as my first frugal bit of advice I would tell you to check with your local library (most have an online catalog system) to see if this book is available. The same information was also published broken up into 3 separate volumes, "The Tightwad Gazette I, II and III", which might also be available. Once you have checked this out, buy it. It is worth every penny. I literally carry it with me when I leave the house. It sits on the seat next to me and when I reach for my purse as I get out of the car I see it and it strengthens my resolve. I am absolutely convinced this is the reason I am currently able to stay strong and not spend on unnecessary items. Sounds silly, and my son thinks I am a nutcase (he's 18, so he thinks I am crazy anyway) but desperate times call for desperate measures and know myself well enough to admit I need all the help I get in my fight to stay on track.
I hope this post struck a cord with a few other people out there. As much as I would like to know I am not alone in this desperate time of life I hope to help others realize they are not alone either. Please feel free to comment. Has anyone else read the TG?
Hope to hear from you soon, Tina