The Temporary Tightwad, a book review

I just reviewed another terrific book that y’all simply must add to your Amazon wishlist. Actually, as the digital copy is currently on sale for just .99c, you ought to just go ahead and complete the purchase… you won’t regret it.

“Radically reduce your spending, meet a goal, and change your life forever.”

Carrie Willard is an incredible homeschooling mom of seven (se-ven!), who in her new book answers the whys and hows of what she fondly refers to as tightwaddery. I love this, she’s proud to be a Tightwad! Though labelling herself thusly, she’s contrarily generous with tried and true tips of the penny-pinching trade.

Carrie’s proven her methods not once, but thrice— in her book she candidly recounts 1) getting herself out of debt incurred from a divorce and sudden foray into single parenthood, 2) in later assisting her new husband to do the same with his own finances, and finally 3) in radically saving together to purchase their first home with a sizable down-payment. (This blesses my precious little Realtor heart, high five to instant equity and lower monthly mortgage payments!)

Her practical handbook trumps generic financial advice, instead citing specific tangible ways to squirrel away savings aggressively. Rather than a long-term approach to frugality (though certainly one could heed her instruction indefinitely and reap a greater harvest still) she details a tactical approach to saving mightily for a time, for a specific goal— namely paying off debt and saving for a down payment on a home, but mightn’t one do the same in order pay cash for their next vehicle, take a special vacation, or, ahem, save for adoption? When we were funding our costly international adoption, we battened down the budgetary hatches, reduced recurring and discretionary expenses, and increased our income–but we surely would have saved more, faster, had we been privy to Carrie’s inventive tips! I appreciate how even a consistently frugal gal can identify and employ strategies to make a sizable difference in an already modest budget. I found her tips to be empowering, illustrating how even a stay-at-home mom can creatively unearth avenues of income and sizable savings.

I won’t give away all of her amazing tricks, but I will share a few of my faves: During each of her three seasons of radical frugality she tracked EVERY PENNY spent in the same way someone dieting might track their caloric intake in a food diary. Not only does this provide motivation and accountability, but for her proved insightful in identifying stumbling blocks. For instance, she realized that not packing adequate snacks for “in the car days” made impromptu fast food stops to pacify hangry kiddos more frequent. Um, guilty! A little trail mix goes a long way in my sexy minivan– if only I could remember!

but if you do stop at a drive-thru (this week) make it fun and let your preschooler pay with your debit card from the back window

She effectively kicked her Starbucks habit by investing in a $3 milk-frothing wand which allowed her to up her at-home coffee game– I plan to copy this! She lists pet-sitting as a potentially profitable side-hustle– my girls have done this with much success. I appreciated her empowering reminder to run a simple Google search prior to phoning any repairmen– Bestie Christy does this wonderously, utilizing YouTube videos and innate gumption to DIY the bulk of her household repairs.

“Personally, a budget does not give me permission to spend, it gives me impetus to save.”

I loved Carrie’s mention of re-reading the later volumes of the Little House series for a healthy dose of perspective whenever tempted to grumble and pity her circumstances. “So while I was feeling stressed about not having a hot bath for I-won’t-mention-how-long, I didn’t have to haul water in buckets and heat it over a fire in a dress that went from my chin to my ankles…. what a privileged and comfortable life I lead. In short, I am a spoiled brat.”

Thank you, Carrie, for your compilation of inspiring stories and helpful tips, and the motivational kick in the behind they gave this mama.



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