Amy Dacyczyn Interview

by Katy on February 14, 2011 · 25 comments

I know I’ve posted this in the past, but Amy Dacyczn of The Tightwad Gazette is timeless. I love being able to see her house, which I had previously only seen in her wonderful line illustrations.

I ♥ her from the core of my being.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby February 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

Thank you for posting this – it was a real thrill to peek inside her famous farmhouse!


Beth February 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I love the Complete Tightwad Gazette! Its neat to see her home and sewing room. I definitely agree with her that if we practiced frugality in the good times, the bad times wouldn’t hit as hard.


Yankeegal February 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Her newsletter in the 90’s helped my family survive a major lay-off. I still practice much of what I learned from her back then. She is an original!


Miss Roman Apartment February 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I subscribed to the newsletter for five years…and I totally miss it! I’m so glad I found Amy right out of college. The idea that it’s the little things that add up to big savings is the single best piece of financial advice I’ve ever gotten. I thank her for my comfortable life.


Tonya February 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Love her! Thanks for posting this.


Maureen February 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I have the original print copies that I love to read every now and then. Especially sitting in front of the woodstove while I’m saving money on electric heat!


Dmarie February 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

don’t even know how many times I’ve read and reread her books. can’t get enough of her. Thanks for this post!


Shannon February 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I have watched this interview before and I just love it! I wish I’d found her earlier in life, her perspective has been liberating to me!


AnnW February 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I have the original copies of her newsletter. What I like about her the most is that she encourages people to set goals. She wanted a large family in a good sized farmhouse that could be maintained on her husband’s Coast Guard retirement income. How simple is that? Some of her ideas were a little far-fetched, like menstrual cups and buying canned goods without labels, but we got the general idea. Her attitude about life and what is important in the long run is refreshing. I think her brother-in-law was my first boyfriend in first grade.


Katy February 15, 2011 at 12:06 am

Don’t knock menstrual cups. Mine has saved me hundreds of dollars and kept a truckload of packaging out of the, ahem . . . cycle.



Sue February 15, 2011 at 3:03 am

Thank you for posting this interview Katy. It was really interesting to hear and see Amy. I love The Complete Tightwad Gazette and find it hugely inspirational. I don’t follow all her suggestions and many of them are not relevant to life here in the UK but at the heart of Amy’s philosophy is creativity, and that is relevant to anyone.

I love reading you blog by the way -also very inspirational.



Melissa February 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

Sue- I’ve heard that comment before about Tightwad Gazette suggestions not being relevant in the UK, and I was wondering if you could give some examples of what that means. I’m honestly curious and just want to learn (not being judgmental at all, I promise!). I find this so interesting.


Sue February 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Hi Melissa,
I’m just having a quick flick through the book and I can see;
Milk jug magic- ideas for reusing plastic milk jugs many of which just won’t work with our milk jugs because they are so much narrower.

Uses for canning jars -we don’t use them. We use screw top jars (I reuse them) and we don’t ‘can’ as you do. We don’t use the water bath treatment at all.

Bulk buying food -possible but not as easy. We don’t have such things as bakery thrift stores or scratch and dent stores. Generally goods don’t come in large packages here. The biggest bag of flour you can buy is 1.5 kg (about 3 pounds). One can’t buy gelatin powder in bulk at all, just little sachets so the article on making jellies as we call them was useful but only up to a point.

Also we don’t have as many different stores in which to buy food. There are really only six supermarket chains which are countrywide. We don’t have small, local chains. Food prices vary very little, if at all, between these supermarkets so using a price book isn’t such a useful idea here as it might be in the US.

The information on health care costs is totally irrelevant because it’s all free here. The midwifery option article isn’t relevant because we only have midwives- no labour and delivery nurses.

The biggest difference is the yard sale thing. They just don’t happen here. People may be more familiar with the term thanks to Toy Story but I’ve never seen one. We have things called ‘car boot sales’ where you pack up your stuff in your car and drive to a large field and sell from the boot (trunk). One has to make a concerted effort to go to these things though and there’s a fee for selling there.

I think a lot of Brits are really turned off by the use of cup measures in recipes. I am NOT one of those however. I bought The TWG along with The More With Less Cookbook and quickly realised that a set of cup measures would be useful. I find the recipes and food articles the most useful things in this book. Some Brits are put off by the different terminology used for ingredients too. Google is a big help here.

None of these things are really a problem though, so my milk jugs aren’t the right size for some of the suggestions, but hey, I can use them for something else, I can be creative which is, I think, the whole point of the book.

Hope that helps 🙂


Melissa February 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Thanks so much, Sue. That was very enlightening. (And now I understand the car boot sales that I’ve read about in Katie Fford books.) I appreciate you taking my question seriously.


Lori February 15, 2011 at 6:21 am

i love her! i have the Gazette, and whenever i’m needing ‘inspiration’ or just some reassurance that what we are doing is on the right track, i pull i out and read a few pages. i wish she had a website and was blogging!


Eveline :) February 15, 2011 at 11:28 am

I love her and I read the gazette over and over when I need some inspiration! And your blog is also great and a good inspiration.
Today a bought a longsleve shirt four my son in a thriftstore for euro 1,40. he looks like new! 🙂


Kate in NY February 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

I found Amy about a decade ago. We were living (beyond our means) in Brooklyn at the time, and someone had put out one of the Tightwad Gazette books with the trash. I had no concept of frugality back then – I remember that sometimes my husband would ask how much I had paid for milk, and I would stare at him blankly – I just bought the milk I wanted, and I didn’t even check the price! I don’t even know why I picked up that book, but I was hooked almost immediately – it was, as we say in NY, “beshert” – divinely ordained, meant to be. I soon got her other books (probably paid full price for them – I had a lot to learn). Then I discovered other books on frugality, self-sufficiency – and with the arrival of the internet, and blogs like Katy’s, this philosophy became my passion. I am still a work in progress – I do sometimes still find myself with “too much month and not enough money,” as Dave Ramsey says. But finding Amy D’s book in the trash that day was truly a life-changing experience for me. Thanks for posting this video, Katy.


Shannon August 1, 2012 at 9:11 am

That is a fascinating story! Kismet!


Ruth February 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thank you for posting this interview! I’ve been a fan of Amy’s for years and have read her books multiple times. Sometimes when I’m considering a purchase, I wonder “what would Amy say?”


The Saved Quarter February 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I love it! She really does have it down. I love the framed picture from her daughter!


Julia February 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I love this. I used to read my neighbour’s copies of the Tightwad Gazette when they first came out. I learned things then and have continued to practice creative frugal living. Now there is Katy! This is wonderful, we can all learn from each other and keep it going.
Cheers, Julia


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

I moderate the Tightwad Gazette Fan Club on Facebook. I’d love to have new faces join!


Jennifer August 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I’m currently one of your members and I really apprecite the fan club. Thank you!


Jennifer August 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Katy, thank you for posting this interview! I love Amy! It was so great to see a real picture of her house and her sewing room. And one reason I really love your blog is because you are so much like her! Keep up the awesome work!

I wish Amy would come out of retirement and talk about tips for today. I can’t get enough of her wisdom!


Kristin January 4, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Awesome video. Thanks for posting. I love how she says, “To the core of my being, I know this works.” I’m still looking for a copy of the tightwad gazette at goodwill. 🙂


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