Monday, March 16, 2009

Will Amy Dacycyzn Come Out Of Retirement?

Here's another new interview with Amy Dacycyzn, who shuttered her Tightwad Gazette after 6 years of frugal writing:

"To me there was kind of a moral issue, question about selling something to people that they don't need."

Ever wonder if they finished scraping their Maine farmhouse with attached barn? Click over for a beautiful photo!

What about you? If you blog about frugal living, do you foresee a day when you'll run out of things to write?


Chicky said...

I hope so! I love her books-bought all 3 a LONG time ago. I thought she was kinda nuts back then-now I thinks she's a genius!

Shell in your Pocket said...

I don't write about "frugal living"...I live that one up to you...wink!

But, I always think I will have nothing to write about!
sandy toe

BlueCastle said...

I loved her book. I bought it when we were first married, now I'm wishing I hadn't passed it on. I could use some of those tips again. I do admire her for quitting for those reasons. I have a little tiny bit of a beef with some of these frugality gurus who are making a pretty amazing living off of other folks' misery. There's only so many frugal tips you can give before it becomes recycled mumbo jumbo, I think. But, that's just my opinion. :)

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

oh, I can't wait to go see her interview....she was kind of the "first" of her kind to take what many of us live, and put it into words (except for separating the two plied toilet paper...there are some things that are just cheap...hee hee).
I don't think we will run out of things to write since we can still share our heart and struggles with the issues of frugal life, but we may run out of new "ideas." There are only so many things you can implement and I think I have tried them all - just not written about them. :)

Unknown said...

I love her! Thanks for sharing this!

Since a true tightwad finds little ways to save every day, I don't see myself running out of material. There are always new challenges, so I am constantly striving to stay on a budget. I think that is what makes a true tightwad: No matter the circumstances, we can find ways to save a little here and there. When you think that you have done it all, life will give you a new obstacle. Those obstacles become puzzles for me to figure out!

Holly C. said...

I thought Amy was genius way back when, and still do.

Tiffany said...

I don't think I will ever run out of things to write. So much of what I write about is cooking and decorating. These are two areas where I have A LOT to learn, and areas where the only limit is my creativity.

If I run out of stuff to write about, it will be because my creativity has dried up. I hope that never happens.

Bonita said...

I'm a huge Amy fan! Back in the early 90s when my first child was an infant I was a subscriber to her newsletter up until she quit writing it. I was wondering the other day what happened to her, but could find little about her online. I was hoping she would start a blog or another newsletter. It seems to me that she ought to have a whole new crop of money-saving ideas since much has changed since she last published her newsletter and people are certainly looking for ways to save money in any way they can! Thanks for posting this update!

Sharon said...

Great Questions -- I hope that frugality isn't just a fad or trend, but a lifestyle that people adopt for the right reasons. And if we are wise, we'll recognize that living beyond our means is what got us into trouble in the first place!

Good, True and Beautiful

PS -- I'm really enjoying your blog. Thanks for the wonderful ideas and photos. They are a blessing!

Mrs. Reverend Doctor said...

I like the Tightwad books, I wish she would write an up to date version since that we're written before ebay existed and the Internet became part of everyday life.

Kimberly @ Raising Olives said...

I wonder about running out of ideas, but as life goes on I keep learning and so will hopefully continue to have something to offer.


Samantha said...

I admire frugality but always thought that she was waaay too extreme. It seemed to me that she sucked all the pleasure out of life by always thinking about what everything cost. The one thing I remember from her newsletter was than she forced her children to eat whatever was on their plates. I always thought what if they don't feel well or just aren't very hungry. I would so hate for someone to do that to me. I realize she was - is - enormously popular and had some good ideas but her life seemed joyless to me. I hope now that she has money that she doesn't deny herself some luxuries to sweeten her and her children's lives. She certainly has earned them.

Janette said...

As a teacher I find there is always a new twist on an old idea. If I teach about ancient Rome this year, I will have research some new ideas about how to teach it next year.
Living on a budget is not a new thing to many of us. Learning how to do it is new to so many others.The same lessons have to be taught, time after time, with a twist.

Meredith said...

I'm not a numbers person, either (obviously!)

What I liked the most about her books was her family's work ethic and her creativity. I always just assume there was a lot of joy and fun happening with the birthday parties, the gardening, the inventions from the surplus parts in the barn--and for whatever reason, it was not as easy to communicate that mess and fun as it was the analytical side.

The Happy Housewife said...

oh, I would love it if she came out of retirement. Would especially love to see more about her kids and how they reacted to having a super frugal mom!
Thanks for linking to the Meredith!

Mary Ellen said...

That's what I love about your blog Meredith. You are so good at conveying the richness and abundance of living frugally (not just the analytical stuff)!


Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

While I'm not a numbers person, I always did enjoy reading about her experiments to figure out the cost of various methods. I expect there was a certain degree of fun to that for someone who enjoys numbers. I appreciate having someone else do that work for me! ;-)

While I'm one who finds some of her methods on the extreme side, I do have to admire her tenacity and mission in teaching others to make do. I'm pleased to see that she's doing the occasional interview these days.

I'm not a frugality blogger, although I do occasionally address the subject, but if I were, I think I would fear running out of things to say. But then, I think every blogger runs into that, regardless of the subject.

Unknown said...

I do not think you can ever say enough about frugal living. Even if it is the same topic, different messages can be conveyed and no one tires of ways to save money! Least of all me!!


Amy said...

I love getting updates on Amy and her life. I consider her book the frugal bible! Thank you for sharing that!

Kylie's Mom said...

Oh my gosh, I love her. Especially how she suggests checking out The Tightwad Gazette from the library before buying it lol. Frugal to the bone!

Kristina said...

Thank you for sharing this! I have often wondered what she was doing now and what her kids were doing! She was (and still is) very inspirational to me! Thanks so much!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Mmmmm....she does seem to be giving more interviews all of a sudden. It would be great if she did! Wish she'd start a blog!


Rebecca said...

I write about my frugal journey from time to time, but for me, there is always something more to learn, something more to share. I don't think I would ever run out of ideas!

I loved reading Dacyczyn's book from the library. Definitely worth owning, if I could find it cheap :>)

Michele said...

I love her books but also felt some of her ideas were too extreme like NEVER eating out. They obviously had the money to do that once she published all of those books. But I do think she had great ideas!

I started a blog about 6 months ago on personal finance/living frugally. I hope I don't run out of ideas!

On another note, Amy looks great!

lightening said...

I think if you're blogging about how you're living the frugal life, you'll always have material. Some of it might be a repeat in that you do the same things over but there are always variances and different audiences who haven't read that idea in the past.

My biggest problem is I "used" to blog about my frugality and then stopped being frugal - nothing to post about on that topic then. However, frugal living is only one of many topics I blog on so it hasn't affected my blog hugely (although I think I might have a larger following if I went back to blogging about it more - especially in the current climate).

Sandy said...

If she wants to make some money - yes! I'll send Paul this article. We both read her book 18 yrs ago. Right when we got married and started garage saling :)

Thanks for your comment. One thing I appreciate about you and me and our posts - the pix are the real deal. Not what we'd like it to be - but what it is.

More on that later ... Happy St P day tomorrow! Come back tomorrow and see what we're having for breakfast :) Hugs to your kids!

Susan said...

I would love it if Amy decided to re-enter the frugal writing world in some form, whether it's a blog or some kind of new, published material. I think that her advice now, at this point in her life, would even be better than before. She has reached that point in her life where her kids are raised and where she can look at the decisions she made through the lens of time and experience. It would really be an encouragement to younger families who are just starting out. I think the Bible talks about how valuable this kind of thing can be when it encourages the older women to teach the younger women (see Titus 2:4-5).
And I agree with your other commenters that life is always bringing new challenges to us, even if the basic priciples of frugality never change. One reason I find your blog so encouraging, Meredith, is that it helps me to see possibilities in my life with our moeny and possessions that I might not otherwise have seen. (We all need each other, don't we?! :-) I hope Amy continues to get positive feedback about her recent interviews and makes a decision to re-enter the world of writing and speaking about thrift!

Sandra said...

I remember checking "The Tightwad Gazette" out at the library years ago. There was so much useful information in it. She should get back into it!

Michelle in HI said...

I subscribe to a women's fitness magazine and its pretty much the same thing every month - same old exercises put together differently, a slightly new chicken breast recipe, and admonitions to eat less and exercise more (duh!).

So why do I subscribe? Inspiration! It gives me that extra kick in the pants every month I need to keep leading a healthy lifestyle.

I see frugality blogs much the same way. Yes, Of course I know shopping at thrift stores is cheaper, but seeing someone else's great find encourages me to make that extra stop at Sally Ann even when I'm tired. Reading about $50 grocery bills challenges me to knock another $10 off mine. Pictures of a Goodwill tablescape reminds me that hospitality on a budget doesn't have to look cheap.

I still get good new tips on occasion, but for me as a reader its mostly about inspiration, motivation, and feeling part of a community.

Roxie700 said...

I have not read any of the books. I had heard that the books were just the newsletters in book form. Anyway, I did get all of the newsletters and I enjoyed them everyone. Some more than others, but I learned something from each one of the newsletters.
One of the things I most admired about her writing was the 'bore' that she used to prove her point. That it cost .50 to run an electric dryer and clothes line drying is free...
To me their life did not seem to be lacking in anything. I thought they had a great home life. They had a nice home, food to eat, clothes to wear, and shared their life and how they made do with 6 kids and 1 income. I was so happy to see 'real' ideas for thrifty living written by some one who really lived what the were talking about.
I admire her reasons for leaving the newsletter when she did. I admire how she has lived her life since the newsletter.
Thanks so much for the link. I enjoyed reading about what she has been doing since the newsletter ended.
Blessings. Roxie

Clair Boone @ said...

I think I'll just eventually burn out on it!!

Unknown said...

I was a Gazette subscriber back when our children were young, I looked forward to it every month. There were always concrete ideas I could use, but what I valued most was the feeling that I had someone out there who was "cheering me on" to live more frugally. The biggest benefit of the Gazette was that sense of community, and I was really, really sorry when Amy D. decided to end it. I respected her reasoning but there's no doubt I missed my Gazette coming each month!

A little aside about how very nice and generous a person she is: I once sent her a letter about an insight I'd had about buying gifts for children at Christmas, and she not only included it in the newsletter, she gave me a free year's subscription in addition. I was thrilled with that, but then later when the book came out that included my letter, she sent me a signed copy with a personal note in it. She is a classy, classy lady and although there's a lot of frugality community available nowadays on the internet that wasn't available back then, I still miss her. She was the one who first taught me what a frugal life looked like, and I'll always be grateful.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

I suppose I could run out of things to write, but for me blogging is more than frugal tips. I'm a writer at heart, and there's always something to write about! :)

Thanks for the picture- I've always wondered what their house looked like!

Anonymous said...

Amy doesn't live too far from me. I've imagined I run into her at the grocery store or something and then get to gush all over her about how great she is. So far, hasn't happened.

Echoes From the Hill said...

Amy Dacyczyn changed my life, "way back when".
I was a divorced mom of three and was on a pretty tight budget. That book changed my life, and enabled us to live well, on little. I worked full-time, and needed nice clothes, and found a whole new way to shop.
I found gorgeous clothing at Goodwill and at yard sales. I received many compliments, and no one knew my clothes were "recycled".
My son wanted to wear Levis 50l jeans, but I couldn't afford the price for new ones. I managed to find them at Goodwill for a few dollars, and he even preferred them to new ones since they weren't stiff.
I cooked everything from scratch, and shopped for loss leaders.
I even managed to pay my mortgage off early.
I have more money now, but still live frugally, and find it fun to seek out treasures among the junk at thrift stores.

Darla said...

One can only pray Meredith, one can only pray.

Wouldn't that be a totally YEE-HAW DAY!

Missy K said...

I think Michelle hit the nail on the head about inspiration-- there will always be fodder for frugality blogs that inspire us to curb our spending creatively and joyfully. We can honor God with the way we steward our resources and do so in a celebratory way.

On thing I appreciate about THIS blog, Meredith, and I've shared this with you before, is the lack of judgment that undermines so much frugality writing. You inspire me but never make me feel I have to make the exact same choices you do to be serious about frugality.

Amy D has been inspirational to me because she shows what is possible. I would not do every single thing the way she does, but she offers a treasure trove of ideas that I can dip into, try, and modify.

The thing I am most thankful about is that I think it is partly because of her that there are great frugality blogs to read now!

Workin' MAMA! said...

Meredith - I do not ever see a day coming where we will find ourselves going blank about frugal livin'... As godly women, we have to stay creative - soooo, I gave my first coupon clipping class through my church -
for women only!!! It ran in the church bulletin for 4 weeks -

I received so many rave reviews about the forum - 20 ladies - registration folders - donated giveaways - grocery store gift cards - lite breakfast -homemade by me - linen napkins/fresh coffee and juices -
The ladies kept going on and on about how nice and welcome they felt -
We were donated a conference room at the marriott - I told them about this project and were sold - All my assistants wore colorful aprons, black skirts and high heels with pearls (june cleaver action) - ha ha
This was totally a 'god thing' and something he provided -
I spoke on meal planning, grocery store coupons/savings, food prep and more!
FREE TO ALLLLL the ladies -
the power of asking works wonders -
These women were hungry for info - and I was glad to provide it - Most of the ladies in the room ranged from six figure salaried to work at home moms -

Just so you know, you were part of that inspiration - your blog gets me pumped!
MAY YOU NEVER =ever= run out of things to write about - and talk about - ever!!! keep up jazzed!


MommyLydia said...

I am a numbers person, and LOVED Amy's take on things. I loved her describing how she got her ideas and how she reused stuff. And I never, ever thought I had to do everything the way she did. But I was glad to have the example that it is possible to live, and live richly that way.

One does not need eating out to have a full life. For some people, eating out is just a chore. If the children want to eat out -- then when they have their own money they can make their own choices. As parents, we always make choices for our kids like that.

As prices increase, I must say I don't get $2.50 enjoyment from a breakfast croissant, etc.

Sharon said...

Reading all these comments, just makes me excited!

I know I'm always inspired by Meredith's great example and it spurs me on to be more creative and deliberate about the content of my blog. Instead of just focusing on deals and money saving, I'm also working hard to honor God and find ways to enjoy simplicity. Just this week I found myself stretching to be more "well rounded" in that aspect and while it's a new trend of my blogging, I'm excited about it!

Thanks again Meredith

Marsha said...

I was a subscriber to Amy's newsletter way back when. She gave me the courage to quit my job and stay home with my children, once I saw that we could live a comfortable life on my husband's earnings.
For those who find some of her tips "extreme," Amy always said that she herself didn't use all the tips that she published. You take the ones that you can do, alter some of the others, and ignore those that don't feel right to you.
The articles that always appealed to me the most weren't the specific tips--it was the ones about the philosophy and practice of frugality. I learned how to think differently about money. That has saved me countless tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Practicing a particular tip is not the point

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Thanks for the update.

Little Miss Know it All said...

I don't think I will. Sometimes I hit burnout...after two years of blogging, that's inevitable. But there's always something to write about! Always newcomers to the scene, and since teaching people how to save (more than just posting deals) is my real passion, I think I'll be blogging for a long, long time.

Tee said...

I missed Amy terribly when she retired from her newsletter. I have every issue she ever published AND I bought her book, "The Complete Tightwad Gazette".

I think you can still order her book from Amazon.

Rhiana said...

Thanks for linking to this interview. I love hearing from Amy Dacycyzn and I wish she'd share her views with us full time again!

Debora said...

Eugene Delacroix said, "What makes those of genius, what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession...with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."
We who are obsessed will never stop writing...

Amy said...

I am just starting out blogging and I seem to gravitate to writing about thrifty finds or ways of doing things. You have to write about your life and if that is your life then there you go. There are always new things to learn but I am in agreement about the inspiration thing. That is why people keep going back and reredeading the Tightwad Gazette so many years later. Your blog has been a big inspirationg Meredith!!

Tubo Family said...

I loved reading Mrs. Dacycyzn's books from the library and I love reading LMS for the same reasons--new ideas AND inspiration to keep on with the old ideas, and also the sense of community--I'm not the only one dressing my kids in second-hand clothes or thrilled to find sheets in good condition at the thrift store. It helps my husband feel that my frugality isn't saying he doesn't bring home enough money, but that we are getting the most quality and value for our money.

Unknown said...

Although frugal living may be "old hat" to many, there will always be newbies to the frugal scene. Plus, as technology changes, I'm sure there will be updated ways to be frugal to write about on blogs. Who would thought, even five years ago, that we would be pre-loading coupons to our Kroger cards?

5webs said...

Amy is my idol, my guru, the person that I wish that I could be. I have had all of her books since they were released, and she is the best tightwadder who ever lived. I wish, with everything that I have, that she could squeeze more book out, and then my life would be complete.
Alicia Webster