In this economy, something should be free.

About twenty years ago my sister introduced me to the world of “tightwaddery.”  Little did she know how her Christmas gift of The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn would change almost everything about my life.  As a young newlywed, I struggled along with my husband in a minimum wage job, scrimping and saving, trying to stretch dollars long and wide enough to cover our monthly expenses.

The Frugal Zealot, as the author referred to herself, taught me a few new tricks, but really just reinforced the common sense that had been instilled by my parents and my Mennonite Home Economics teachers in school.  Having moved from small-town Pennsylvania to expensive suburbial Connecticut, I was glad for the reminder that I didn’t have to be like everyone else–especially when everyone else was living beyond their means to uphold an image.  This dichotomy of thought was even more pronounced when we moved to an upscale country-clubbing waterfront on Long Island.  We couldn’t have afforded the cost of living there; we were privileged to live and work on the campus of an international boarding school.

During those ten years on the island, I purchased the Tightwad Gazette II and III.  We were teachers and dorm parents, and Bruce was the Athletic Director.  We saved quite a bit and were able to send our kids to private schools, buy nice preowned vehicles, and support missionaries.  We continued the frugal lifestyle while immersed in a world of designer teenagers whose parents purchased each other a new Lexus for Christmas.  We never had money to burn, but we were certainly comfortable.  Yet even with a cushion of sorts, we still worked at spending as little as possible.  I would go shopping for groceries and gleefully show my husband the receipt which declared, “Your Savings Today : $62.84.”  I made home-made bread and prepared meals from scratch.  I made every effort to shop sales, use coupons, and stock up on dry and canned goods.  Most of our clothing came from the sale rack at the back of the store.

When the rug was pulled out from under us (and 22 other faculty members) by a new administration, what was an already traumatic situation would have been exacerbated had we been living beyond our means during our ten years there.  When the paychecks stopped, we tightened our belts, used common sense, and forged ahead, still trying to spend as little as possible.

Do you understand where I’m coming from?

In the present economy, I can count on one hand how many people I know who have not gone through a layoff or job change in the last three years.  People are hurting.  Many due to lack of common sense as they allowed themselves to become overburdened with loans and maxed out credit cards, thinking they could never possibly lose their paycheck.  So, what am I going to do to ease this situation?

I’m going to give away a book.

The Household Menu and Coupon Organizer is the perfect book to aid you as you try to feed yourself and your family on a tight budget.  The cover proclaims the book will take the stress out of grocery shopping, help you create weekly shopping lists and meal plans, organize your coupons (right in the book!), and…drumroll, please….get the most out of your budget!

This book, published by Baker (a division of Revell) is set to be in stores the first week of September.  You can pre-order on or you can win your very own copy right here.


All you have to do is: 

1) leave a comment on any of my blogs, and 

2) click the box next to “Notify me of new posts via email.”  

Do this before midnight on Saturday, August 20, and your name will be entered into the drawing for the book.  Only comments left between August 10 and 20 will be eligible for the drawing.

I must say the book is very nice.  Of the twelve articles (one for each month) three were written by me (their titles are “Understanding Healthy Eating,” “Gardening Tips,” and “Navigating Farmers’ Markets”).  The book boasts eight very talented writers, all of whom have biographies and websites or blog sites listed on pages 104 and 105.  Each author is given credit for their article.  This book will make an excellent gift–Christmas is less than five months away…

So get to it!  Leave a comment.  You can’t win if you don’t play!


About Carol R. Fielding

I'm a happily married wife and home schooling mom of three amazing daughters. I am a freelance writer and have been published in various books over the past fifteen years. My most recent freelance job was "Extreme Bible Facts," a book for kids, and was published by Worthy Publishing and released in December, 2011, exclusively in Walmart stores. Currently, I write for The Corry Journal, the newspaper for the Corry, Pennsylvania, area.
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13 Responses to In this economy, something should be free.

  1. Dave Popovich says:

    Hmmmmm Getting organized, boy could I use that ! 🙂

  2. lindaktaylor says:

    Awesome! I don’t need to be put into your drawing (since I already have a copy) but wanted to comment on a great post. Odd that I don’t remember giving you that book for Christmas all those years ago . . . glad I had such a profound impact! 😛

    • I love the book and I look forward to working on the next one! Thanks so much for sending along the advance copy! 🙂

      • Cindy K says:

        In today’s economy we need all the help we can get tightening our belts. We grow our own garden, buy what we don’t grow and can as much as we can and still its hard at times to make ends meet. It would be nice to compare notes to see where else we could help ourselves and our grown-up children and their families.

  3. Melanie says:

    Ahh. the The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn – I thought that my mother published that one?? Actually, I really never knew how little money we had growing up because we never felt poor and my parents never talked about being poor… Little did I know that the thrift store wasn’t really called the Boutique!
    I know that I could never measure up to my Mom’s Tightwadiness – but I try to give her a run for her money!
    I’m excited about your book, Carol! Even the front cover looks exciting!

  4. Joy says:

    Stress-free sounds good to me! I’m always looking for more ways to eat healthy on a budget, too. Congrats on another publication!

  5. Joy says:

    Did I mention that coupon organization is always a plus in any budgeting system?

  6. Brenda says:

    Great post, Carol! I’m so excited for you and your new book! Woo!

  7. Carol, this book looks awesome! Nate and I have made 6 moves–3 out of state–in less than 5 years. I’m always looking for new ways to save and get ready for the “next time”. 🙂

  8. Debbie Mead says:

    Looking forward to being able to read this book!

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