Thursday, March 10, 2011

Re-Reading The Tightwad Gazette

Have you read this book?  I found it accidentally about 7 years ago, and my life has never been the same.  Well, it hasn't been much different either, but at least I found a name for what I am:  frugal.  Let me clarify.  I am not cheap, I don't skimp on gifts, I still give to charities that I find worthwhile, I eat out if I want to (but not because I have to due to lack of planning), and I like to dress well.  However, I will do my best to make sure that I know where my money is going and that I'm only paying what I think an item is worth--not what a retailer tells me it's worth.

Yes, I do haggle...even in stores.  My most successful haggle was where I walked into a hotel that was renovating and asked them how much they would sell their hotel room desks for (you know, the ones that hold the phone and menu in the nicer hotels...I wanted two of them to use as a buffet in my dining room).  They stated $20 each.  I asked them what the price was for them to have them taken to the dump if they didn't sell.  $3/each, they said.  Sooo, I offered $5 each, pointing out that they were actually making $8 because they weren't paying someone else to take them.  I came home with two desks for $10.  It works.

My main thought with this read-through, though, was that I don't really keep up on information that I should when it comes to our expenses.  For example, the Frugal Zealot (Amy) often would cite how much it cost to run her stove when calculating the cost of a meal, and whether she should grill outside or bake something (24 charcoal briquettes on the grill equaled 1 hour of oven time, cost wise).  Does everyone else track these things, too?  Am I just missing out on something for not doing it? Could I really be making that big of a difference in our budget if I knew those things?  Perhaps get a booger or two out of Lincoln's nose? (Penny pinching joke, sorry).

What do you think?

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