Whatever happened to Amy Dacyczyn and The Tightwad Gazette?
Somebody came across my blog asking that, and although I don’t know the full answer (only the Frugal Zealot herself knows that), I do know what she said in her final book — The Complete Tightwad Gazette, which included all three of the other books, as well as the final editions of the newsletter and her farewell column.
Basically, in addition to feeling like she had covered most topics (in one book, she likened it to learning multiplication tables — once you know the basics, you can apply those principles to other problems), she was feeling drained. Their tremendous success (appearing on Parade magazine soon after finding out she was pregnant with twins, about a year or so after she started The Tightwad Gazette newsletter) enabled her and her husband to fully retire after 6&1/2 years of doing that. But her newsletter subscriber base didn’t just mushroom — it exploded after that Parade magazine interview, and stretched them all really thin. She says that in that first year afterwards, her kids were lucky to be able to pick the color frosting on their birthday cakes, instead of having a full celebration which they typically did (for $25 or less). And after so many years, there were only so many topics to cover without repeating the same information, which she promised herself she would not do — especially after the books came out, and made the information in the newsletters permanently “out there.”
Here is an interview she did earlier this year with the blogger The Simple Dollar, in which she talks about life since retirement (basically, what she did before, just without writing about it, and presumably with most or all of her kids out of the house, since they’d be 18 or over… well, maybe the twins are just 16).
So, basically, she retired when she retired, and continued her frugal ways, resuming the anonymity (more or less) that she had before launching The Tightwad Gazette. But for all of us who “knew” her through her newsletter or (like me) her books, we feel like she’s a friend we’ve just lost touch with, and reread her old letters to connect and reminisce about old times — old times that it feels like we’ve shared together… but never actually did, oddly enough.