When I was about 14, I stumbled upon a copy of The Tightwad Gazette at my house (the first volume; now there is a complete version combining all three books). My mother had bought it, and it was full of money-saving ideas I had never even dreamed of. Of course, most of it didn't apply to me at the time because I wasn't running a household, but the writing style, layout, and illustrations appealed to me, so I read most of it. I looked through the clever ideas, but I also read Amy Dacyczyn's reason for becoming "the Frugal Zealot," which was to be able to have a large family and stay at home with her children. I can't remember exactly what I thought of that concept back then; my own mother had always worked and some of the ideas in the book seemed rather extreme. It wasn't until years and years later that I finally came to love thrift shops and yard sales. However, I think it must have helped to have these ideas in the back of my mind over the years, especially when we had to quickly save up to pay for Ivey's homebirth out of pocket while simultaneously preparing for me to quit my job to stay home with the kids. I've always loved The Tightwad Gazette--and now, I have all three books!
Today we had to drive out of town for an appointment, so before we left I grabbed the first book and handed it to Suzi, telling her to look through it for ideas. She found a few things that interested her, particularly the ideas for making popsicles from various ingredients. Then when we got home, I let the kids watch this video...
When I first saw this video a while back, I enjoyed being able to put a face and a voice with the words and drawings I had enjoyed for so long. But what I hope they take away most from the video is this:
"Saving money on small things adds up... Little behaviors add up."
When the video was over I showed the kids how I had budgeted the next couple of paychecks. In particular, I pointed out the amount we planned to put into savings and the amount we planned to spend on groceries. I explained that if we went to Aldi for most of our groceries and shopped carefully, we could spend less than planned and put even more money into savings, reaching our goals faster. I told them that avoiding little things like fast food dinners could add up to helping us reach the big things we really wanted.
Then I explained that this not only applies to our household budget, but to their personal "budgets" as well. We talked about big things they might want to save up for (Ivey mentioned an American Girl doll) and I asked them what little habits they could change that, all together over time, would make a big difference. Two things they came up with? Stuffed animals, and dollar store toys. I added candy to the list, and they agreed. Praise the Lord, they are getting it! As always, The Tightwad Gazette served to renew my focus as well. These books will always be a fixture in our home... But if you haven't read them yet, check your library!