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Education

The 25-year-old money-saving 'bible' that millennials and Gen Zers absolutely need to read

This book has saved me thousands of dollars and changed my entire perspective on "frugality."

a jar of coins spilled onto the floor
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

"The Complete Tightwad Gazette" offers timeless money-saving advice.

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Let me start by saying that young adults these days absolutely do have economics stacked against them. There's no question that stagnant wages, the unaffordability of housing, outrageous college costs, post-pandemic inflation and good ol' American corporate greed have all combined to create a tough financial reality for us all, but particularly for the millennials and Gen Zers who are starting off their adult lives feeling already underwater.

If you're in that boat, allow a Gen X auntie to give you some sage advice. Absolutely, rail against the man and shake your fist at the skyscrapers and vent on TikTok if it makes you feel better. But also, none of that is going to change super soon, so you've got to own what you actually have control over, and that's managing the money that you do have (however little it may be).

When my kids were little back in the early 2000s, my husband and I were living on one not-at-all-amazing income. I had been raised quite frugally, so I was comfortable penny-pinching as needed, but I was looking for more creative ways to stretch our dollars.

I had no idea how much one book would change my entire view of saving money—or how much money it would actually save me over the years.


"The Complete Tightwad Gazette," by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced "decision") is exactly what it sounds like—a newspaper for tightwads—only in this case "tightwad" isn't used as an insult. From 1990 to 1996, Dacyczyn published a newsletter about frugal living as a lifestyle called "The Tightwad Gazette," and this book is a compilation of her life's work.

The book offers a combination of overarching mindset shifts and specific tips for saving money on specific things. Some of the advice is outdated now ("Do I really need a computer?" is a no-brainer question in a way that it wasn't in the early 90s, for instance), but the principles underlying pretty much everything in the 959-page tome still ring true. Now that my kids are young adults with their own financial experiences, I find myself passing along a lot of Dacyczyn's frugal wisdom to them.

Here are a few of the helpful bits of wisdom it contains:

1. Pennies matter a lot more than you think.

If I told you I was going to hand you $200 in cash every year on your birthday, you'd probably be thrilled. But if I gave you three pieces of advice that each saved you 20 cents a day, would you be as excited? Probably not. But the latter would actually put more money in your pocket (the equivalent of handing you $219 on your birthday) in the long run.

Lots of small amounts add up to a large amount, and when you wrap your head around that concept, small money-saving decisions start taking on greater importance. Pennies really do add up—both positively and negatively.

2. Think of saving money as income—literally.

"A penny saved is a penny earned" is an old saying, but a useful one to help us understand the value of going out of your way to save a few cents.

Let's say your closest gas station sells gas for $4.39 a gallon. A station down the street, two minutes away, is selling it for $4.29 a gallon. To fill a 15-gallon tank would only cost $1.50 less at the second station—not even enough to buy a cup of coffee. Is that really worth your time?

Let's calculate. If you think of saving money as earning income, you're taking two minutes to "earn" $1.50. That's $0.75 a minute—translate that into an hourly income, and you've earned the equivalent of $45 an hour, simply by driving two minutes to save 10 cents a gallon. Even accounting for the gas it took to drive a few extra blocks—less than 10 cents—you still come out with a hefty hourly wage.

This "time x money saved = hourly income" equation was a life-changing perspective shift for me. If it only takes a minute or two to save a dollar, that's a solid hourly earning.

3. Use the absolute smallest amount necessary to do the job.

This is simple common sense when you say it out loud, but most of us don't live this way in reality. We use more than we need of most consumable things most of the time, simply out of habit. When you pull out that string of floss, so it wraps around your fingers four times? What if you pulled out less and only wrapped it three or two times?

Start by cutting the consumables you use on a daily basis back by half—everything from toothpaste to dish soap to shampoo to toilet paper. We all get excited about 50% off sales, when we could easily save 50% ourselves simply by using less of the things we use all the time, with the same result. If you need to add a little back in after cutting back by half, go for it. But you might be surprised by how little you need to actually get the job done.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

"The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn

Amazon

4. Do the math to determine what's actually cheap and expensive to eat.

Even with the cost of groceries being ridiculously high, cooking from scratch is, in most cases, drastically cheaper than eating out or getting takeout.

I know the old folks like to tease you about your affinity for avocado toast, but it's pretty eye-opening to compare the cost of buying something like avocado toast out and making it yourself at home. With current prices at my local grocery store, it would cost less than $1.00 to make avocado toast at home, and that's even with good bread and a generous serving of butter and yummy seasonings. Add another 30 cents, and you can slap an organic fried egg on top. We're talking $1.30 tops for super bougie breakfast toast at home.

But even within the "cooking at home" category, some meals are way, way less expensive than others. One of my favorite Tightwad Gazette investigations focused on how much various kinds of breakfasts cost per serving. Personally, I'm a huge cold cereal fan, which is bad news because it's actually one of the most expensive breakfasts you can eat. Toast and eggs is (generally) cheaper. Pancakes are even cheaper, especially if you make them from scratch and not a mix. Oatmeal is super cheap. Oatmeal bought in bulk? Even cheaper. And the differences can be significant—again, looking at my current grocery store app, a serving of Cheerios costs 300% more than a serving of quick oats.

All of those choices add up, both positively and negatively. By doing the math, figuring out per-serving costs and choosing less expensive meals, you can cut your grocery bill by a lot.

This is just barely scratching the tip of the iceberg—there are so many tips and tricks for saving both small and large amounts of money. Since the economy isn't going to be any kinder to us in the near future, learning how to make the most of what we do have is the best way to help ourselves. Find "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" here (or, in true tightwad fashion, at your local library, but it's a good one to keep on hand for reference). Highly, highly recommend.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

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Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.

While appearing on HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast, Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, said he swears by the “express” cycle, as “it’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

Richardson’s reasoning is founded in research done while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” which showed that even the dirtiest items would be cleaned in the “express” cycle, aka the “quick wash” or “30 minute setting.”


Furthermore the laundry expert, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” warned that longer wash settings only cause more wear and tear, plus use up more water and power, making express wash a much more sustainable choice.

Really, the multiple settings washing machines have more to do with people being creatures of habit, and less to do with efficiency, Richardson explained.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he told co-hosts Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”
washing machine

When was the last time you washed you washing machine? "Never" is a valid answer.

Canva

According to Good Housekeeping, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to go strictly express from now on.

For one thing, the outlet recommends only filling the machine halfway and using a half dose of liquid, not powder detergent, since express cycles use less water. Second, using the setting regularly can develop a “musty” smell, due to the constant low-temperature water causing a buildup of mold or bacteria. To prevent this, running an empty wash on a hot setting, sans the detergent, is recommended every few weeks, along with regularly scrubbing the detergent drawer and door seal.

Still, even with those additional caveats, it might be worth it just to knock out multiple washes in one day. Cause let’s be honest—a day of laundry and television binging sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

To catch even more of Richardson’s tips, find the full podcast episode here.


This article originally appeared on 2.4.24

Family

Supportive husband writes a fantastic 'love list' to his depressed wife

“He knows I struggle to see good in the world, and especially the good in myself. But here it is."

Image from Imgur.

Husband shares a list of love with his wife.

Imgur user "mollywho" felt her life was falling apart. Not only was she battling clinical depression, but she had her hands full.

"I've been juggling a LOT lately," she wrote on Imgur. "Trying to do well at work. Just got married. Couldn't afford a wedding. Family is sparse. Falling out with friends, yaddadyadda.”

She was also upset about how she treated her new husband.

"I've not been the easiest person to deal with. In fact, sometimes I've lost all hope and even taken my anger out on my husband."



When she returned home from a business trip in San Francisco, mentally exhausted, she collapsed on her bed and cried. Then she noticed some writing on the bedroom mirror. It was a list that read:

Reasons I love my wife

1. She is my best friend
2. She never quits on herself or me
3. She gives me time to work on my crazy projects
4. She makes me laugh, every day
5. She is gorgeous
6. She accepts the crazy person i am
7. She's the kindest person i know
8. She's got a beautiful singing voice

9. She's gone to a strip club with me
10. She has experienced severe tragedy yet is the most optimistic person about humanity i know
11. She has been fully supportive about my career choices and followed me each time
12. Without realizing it, she makes me want to do more for her than i have ever wanted to do for anyone
13. She's done an amazing job at advancing her career path
14. Small animals make her cry
15. She snorts when she laughs

love letters, support, marriage, mental illness

The list of love.

Image from Imgur.

This amazing show of support from her husband was exactly what she needed. "I think he wanted me to remember how much he loves me," she wrote. "Because he knows how quickly I forget. He knows I struggle to see good in the world, and especially the good in myself. But here it is. A testament and gesture of his love. Damn, I needed it today…"

She ended her post with some powerful words about mental illness.

"I'm not saying mental illness is cured by nice words on a mirror. In fact, it takes professional care, love, empathy, sometimes even medication just to cope. Many people struggle with it mental illness - more than we probably even realize. And instead of showing them hate or anger when they act out. Show them kindness and remind them things can and WILL get better. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. If that person can't be you - see if you have any resources for therapy."


This article originally appeared on 12.10.15

Pop Culture

Nicole Kidman shares the unconventional marriage rule she has with husband Keith Urban

They've had this communication rule since the very beginning of their 18 year relationship.

Keith Urban (left) Nicole Kidman (right)

Long before Nicole Kidman began her long-term relationship with AMC theaters, she was committed to husband and country singer Keith Urban. The two have happily been together since 2006—which is a good run for any modern day marriage, but most certainly a Hollywood one.

And perhaps their nearly decades-long success can be partially attributed to one surprising communication rule: no texting.

While appearing on the Something To Talk About podcast in 2023, Kidman shared that she was the one who initiated the unconventional agreement.

"We never text each other, can you believe that? We started out that way – I was like, 'If you want to get a hold of me, call me…"I wasn't really a texter.,” the “Moulin Rouge” actress shared.

She added that while Urban did attempt texting her a few items early on, he eventually switched when Kidman wasn’t very responsive. And now, 18 years later, they only call each other.

“We just do voice to voice or skin to skin, as we always say. We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don’t text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times…I don’t want that between my lover and I,” she told Parade

.

There are, of course, some pros and cons to calling over texting. Research has shown that people who call feelmore connected to one another vs. texting, with the voice being an integral component of bonding. As our society becomes increasingly more distant and lonely, finding those moments might be more important than ever.

At the same time, calling can invoke a lot more anxiety compared to texting, which could lead someone to not communicating at all. Also, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to call my partner for mundane things like “don’t forget the eggs” would drive me crazy.

But regardless of whether or not you adopt Kidman and Urban’s no-texting rule, perhaps the bigger takeaway is that relationship longevity depends on being able to establish your own rules. One that feels good and that each partner is able to stick to. Especially when it comes to communication.

As Urban himself told E! News at the CMT Music Awards, "I have no advice for anybody,You guys figure out whatever works for you…We're figuring it out. You figure it out. Everybody's different. There's no one size fits all."

Luckily, there are many ways to have good text hygiene, without having to do away with it completely. Very Well Mind suggests to avoid texting too many questions, and to be respectful of your partner's schedule (probably best to not text them while they’re sleeping just to say “hey,” for example). Nor should texting be used to argue or deal with conflict. Lastly, probably save the lengthy, in-depth conversations for a phone call. Fifteen heart emojis are totally fine though.

Doris Alikado talks about her personal experience of maternal health in Tanzania.

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Stella Artois


Bathrobe. Socks. Insurance card. Snacks.

Sound at all familiar? Maybe, maybe not.


These items would commonly be found on a checklist of things that expecting parents should bring to the hospital with them — in the U.S., anyway.

environment, health, health wellbeing

Doing the checklist.

Image created from Pixabay.

But what is that list like in other parts of the world?

For Doris, that list included water.

Doris, who lives Morogoro, Tanzania, had to bring her own water to the health center where she was giving birth in 2014. The water she brought was used to clean the nurse's hands, clean the delivery area, and wash the babies (she had twins!). Unfortunately, the water Doris brought ran out before she was able to wash herself or her clothes, so she had to wait 24 hours before cleaning herself.

parenting, parenting and children, Tanzania

Doris and family lives in Morogoro, Tanzania.

via GQ/YouTube

I'll let Doris tell the story herself:

Lack of access to clean water in Tanzania is a very big deal.

Everything turned out alright for Doris and her babies, but thousands of other women aren't as lucky. But there are ways to help: Organizations and individuals are pitching in to help build water taps, rainwater tanks, and latrines in Tanzanian hospitals, and they're making a huge difference.

"I want to express my gratitude to the health workers ... because they have a great sense of humor with the patients. But the problem is the availability of enough water." — Doris Alikado


This article originally appeared on 03.26.15

New baby and a happy dad.


When San Francisco photographer Lisa Robinson was about to have her second child, she was both excited and nervous.

Sure, those are the feelings most moms-to-be experience before giving birth, but Lisa's nerves were tied to something different.

She and her husband already had a 9-year-old son but desperately wanted another baby. They spent years trying to get pregnant again, but after countless failed attempts and two miscarriages, they decided to stop trying.


Of course, that's when Lisa ended up becoming pregnant with her daughter, Anora. Since it was such a miraculous pregnancy, Lisa wanted to do something special to commemorate her daughter's birth.

So she turned to her craft — photography — as a way to both commemorate the special day, and keep herself calm and focused throughout the birthing process.

Normally, Lisa takes portraits and does wedding photography, so she knew the logistics of being her own birth photographer would be a somewhat precarious new adventure — to say the least.

pregnancy, hospital, giving birth, POV

She initially suggested the idea to her husband Alec as a joke.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"After some thought," she says, "I figured I would try it out and that it could capture some amazing memories for us and our daughter."

In the end, she says, Alec was supportive and thought it would be great if she could pull it off. Her doctors and nurses were all for Lisa taking pictures, too, especially because it really seemed to help her manage the pain and stress.

In the hospital, she realized it was a lot harder to hold her camera steady than she initially thought it would be.

tocodynamometer, labor, selfies

She had labor shakes but would periodically take pictures between contractions.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Eventually when it was time to push and I was able to take the photos as I was pushing, I focused on my daughter and my husband and not so much the camera," she says.

"I didn't know if I was in focus or capturing everything but it was amazing to do.”

The shots she ended up getting speak for themselves:

nurse, strangers, medical care,

Warm and encouraging smiles from the nurse.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

experiment, images, capture, document, record

Newborn Anora's first experience with breastfeeding.

Photo by Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

"Everybody was supportive and kind of surprised that I was able to capture things throughout. I even remember laughing along with them at one point as I was pushing," Lisa recalled.

In the end, Lisa was so glad she went through with her experiment. She got incredible pictures — and it actually did make her labor easier.

Would she recommend every mom-to-be document their birth in this way? Absolutely not. What works for one person may not work at all for another.

However, if you do have a hobby that relaxes you, figuring out how to incorporate it into one of the most stressful moments in your life is a pretty good way to keep yourself calm and focused.

Expecting and love the idea of documenting your own birthing process?

Take some advice from Lisa: "Don't put pressure on yourself to get 'the shot'" she says, "and enjoy the moment as much as you can.”

Lisa's mom took this last one.

grandma, hobby, birthing process

Mom and daughter earned the rest.

Photo via Lisa Robinson/Lisa Robinson Photography.

This article originally appeared on 06.30.16