Growing Up with a Tightwad

Growing Up with a Tightwad

Growing Up with a Tightwad | brokeGIRLrich

Before I really knew what a tightwad was, I had my dad as a pretty good example. I had to laugh when he was spending the day at my newest home, an ancient RV, and helping me fix it up. On his way out the door, he gave me a book so covered in dirt and grime, I could barely read the title. He said he’d had it in his truck for years, but thought I would want to read it.

I wiped the muck off the cover and found my dad had passed on a copy of The Tightwad Gazette to me. I thought the writer would be pretty proud of how dog-eared and gross it was – and the fact that it was still being passed from person to person.

After wiping it down, I started reading it and along the way, I started to wonder what other “tightwad” skills my family has taught me over the years.

My Change Jar

I can’t believe how many people just walk by change on the ground or just pay no attention to the change they receive. Mine goes into a jar, and that goes right to the bank. I’m always surprised by how much winds up in it – it just seems like magic money.

A few years ago, I wrote a post about my plans to travel the world with my change jar. While it hasn’t exactly worked out that way, you can still amass a surprising amount of change over time.


One lesson from my dad that has stuck for years is the ketchup lesson. Going grocery shopping with my mom versus my dad were two very different experiences. Grocery shopping with my mom was just a buy anything you want spree.

Grocery shopping with my dad was an endless lesson in cost comparison and making sure the lowest price was actually the lowest price considering the quantity of servings, etc. I generally hated it. I remember once though, pretty excited that I was sure I had gotten something right, I raced back to the grocery cart with the generic version of ketchup – definitely cheaper by volume. My dad sent me back to grab the Heinz. He said you can always taste a difference and it’s better to buy higher quality items sometimes.

To be honest- I’m not picky about my ketchup. But the moral of the lesson stuck.


My grandmother used to save everything compostable in a container under the sink and take it out into the backyard garden every day or two. Her garden was amazing and she wasted so much less than anyone I know.

What has your family taught you about being a tightwad?

9 thoughts on “Growing Up with a Tightwad

  1. OMG, my parents were the complete opposite. Spendthrifts who specialised in stupid decisions funded by someone else, like other family members. My grandmother was a champion thrift shopper, though. She also taught me that men’s and women’s items are priced differently, and to make sure that you’re not paying for that. I also have a distant ‘aunt’ who taught me how to stockpile – when there’s a good special on something you use regularly, buy 10. My parents didn’t teach me one damn thing.

    Would you post some more about your circus job? Maybe some pics of your RV? That sounds like the weirdest and most wonderful job ever!

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