More Frugal Luxuries: Simple Ways to Save Money and Enhance Your Life

Established: 1993

The cultural shift that seems to be occurring is lovely to behold and quite freeing. Frugality is fun! It also holds the (sometimes hidden) power to inspire creativity, knowledge and appreciation for what we have.

Simple Ways to Save Money and Enhance Your Life

All of the following tips were taken from Frugal Luxuries; by Tracey McBride, Bantam Books, NY, 1997
In our house, before we buy anything, we'll always look about to see if we have something else that would do the job just as well. Some of our creative discoveries have been...

  • curtain rods made from copper pipe--left-over from a plumbing repair (also PVC);

  • broken wine glasses became planters in the garden or window box (the broken stems were firmly pushed into the ground, cups planted with herbs);

  • sprouted onions and ginger root transform into fresh chives for use in salads, soups and other recipes (you can use the broken wine glasses as bulb vases -- as mentioned above);

  • Discarded garments became fabric ribbons and gift bags. These are used in lieu of paper for holiday gift-giving (washed and pressed beforehand) and used from year-to-year.

More Ways To Save:

  • Enhance the Ordinary. Serve even the humblest meals attractively. Bean soup with cornbread looks charming when garnished with parsley and the cornbread served on it’s own saucer, with a pat or swirl of honey butter. The same holds true for beverages. Our dinner table often features a pretty glass or silver pitcher filled with ice water, and garnished with a few citrus slices (using what’s in season) or a sprig of mint or scented geranium. (The pitchers bought for a song at yard sales and thrift shops.)

  • Eat by design. Make a weekly or biweekly menu and plan your meals using what you already have in the house. Include leftovers when planning.

  • Buy food in it’s simplest form and steer clear of prepackaged convenience foods. Keep in mind that anytime you buy a food that has been cut, peeled, washed, chopped, diced, sliced, pureed and/or cooked by someone else you will usually be paying an average of 100 percent more. [A quick example that comes to mind is one of those $20 fresh vegetable platters in the produce section of the market—they probably contain less than three pounds of washed (?) cut up celery, carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower spears, along with a few ounces of ranch style dressing/dip. For the same money, you could buy the ingredients for less than half the amount (i.e., $10) -- enough to make about five of those platters. ]

  • Take up the art of eating by the seasons. We are regular visitors at our local farmer’s market and farm stands. [This allows us to support growers of local produce, find organic, fresh food, in its season, often at a fraction of the cost you’d spend on the same food at a grocery store or chain market.]

  • Soup! It can be safely assumed that soups are the oldest form of cooked foods on earth. The magic of soup is that it has the ability to transform bits of food (past its prime, but still good) into a nourishing delicious meal.

  • Freeze homemade beans as well as home cooked rice. Most people don’t realize that rice and beans (together or separately) freeze beautifully and will hold up quite nicely in the freezer for up to a year if well wrapped.

  • Make your own, healthier, version of nonstick cook spray using equal parts vegetable oil and lecithin (available at most health food stores) and store in a clean, pump spray bottle. (We like to used cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil.)

  • We recycle interesting wine bottles for a multitude of uses in the kitchen. They hold homemade simple syrups (sugar, water and flavorings) for use in recipes and on pancakes and waffles; in the refrigerator you’ll find a two-quart wine bottle, re-purposed to hold the water that our vegetables have been steamed in—we save this nutritious, flavorful liquid and use it to enhance sauces and soups.

  • If you don’t care to sew, learn to mend. Mending enables you to extend the life of existing garments by repairing any flaws.

  • Before spending any money, try to shop your own wardrobe and put together new outfits from clothes you already possess.

  • If you sew... but don’t want to spend large amounts of money on fabric... consider recycling fabric from old clothing. I have made matching dresses for my daughters and myself from fabric I garnered from a bridesmaid’s dress I found (for $2) at a yard sale

  • Be creative! There is a fallacy circulating that creativity comes from a secret, inner source. I heartily disagree. All creativity needn’t be entirely original. Most creativity is merely a twist of the familiar, a new translation of an old idea. To stimulate your own creativity, read books, blogs, catalogs and magazines. Study paintings, set-backdrops in movies and on television, and spend an afternoon lost in thought. I have been an idea collector for most of my life and I find that by mingling two ideas from diverse sources, I come up with a brand new one. Frugal Luxuries is a prime example of taking the best frugal strategies and mingling them with ideas for luxurious, lovely living. The result is an entirely new way to live—mixing the best of both worlds.


As Always...

We'd Love, love, love to hear Your Simple Ways for Saving Money!!

P.S. Don't forget to enter to WIN a copies of Frugal Luxuries and Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons! (Please see last post for details.)


Elizabethd said...

So many ways to save money. I think it is easier for my generation, as we went through war and post war years and had to make do and mend!

Tracey McBride said...

I must agree with you Elizabethd.
I know that I learned many of my own frugal strategies from my parents. Both were children during the WWII era and were brought up to think before acting (i.e., sensibly).
Thanks so much for your insight.

Pondside said...

I like all of those ideas, but the Be Creative one, at the end really caught my attention. I think it's good to remind ourselves that we don't have to be Rembrandts or Da Vinci's, or design experts or wildly original to be creative. It's what we do with an idea that makes something our own creation.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries TM said...

Very well put, Pondside!

I addressed this point because, when starting out, I would give talks and demonstrations to small ladies' and church groups. Beforehand, I'd set up a display table to show examples of the ideas I was speaking about. Countless times, as they browsed the table, I'd hear people say, "I can't do that, I'm not creative." Many people do not try to learn or do because of this limiting belief. It would be lovely to change that a bit. :)

Thanks so much for your thoughts and comments, they are very appreciated.


Storybook Woods said...

Great list Tracey,
I love the curtain rod idea. But am I weird, I always spend more money when meal planning. I do better just having a stocked pantry and winging it each night with what I have on-hand xoxoxo Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries TM said...

Hi Clarice! No, you're not weird... you're amazing...and smart! I agree with you regarding the stocked pantry--I'm convinced we spend more money when we're making meals that just "sound good" at the time. Like you, we keep a stocked pantry then plan our meals around that, and/or sale items we have stocked-up on! Of course, your menu and recipes are exceptionally creative and delicious!! :)

Storybook Woods said...

Thank you for telling me I am not wierd, I needed to hear that today ;-P xoxoxox Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries TM said...

You are most welcome! oxoxo

Gill - That British Woman said...

great list, I must re-read your book again as its been a while since I last read it.


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries said...

Thank you so much Gill, for your kind words and support!
Tracey xo

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tips, Tracey! I'm very frugal and do well with that. However, I'm not always so creative. I try, but I'll never be someone who is artfully-minded. You have such a good balance of both.

Anonymous said...

To add, right now I'm working on making the best use of my pantry and freezer for November. I'm working hard to be creative to save on food to allow for other things that are needed in December.

Much of what I try to do comes from not spending instead of spending. I try hard to utilize what I have on hand. I really dislike spending when I don't need to!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries said...

Very wise of you Lyn! I think frugality is simply a matter of thinking before you act and making best use of what you have, as you mention. Thus, I think frugality itself is a form of creativity! :)

P.S. Wanted to say "Thank YOU" for the nice compliment!

matty said...

Thanks for such an upbeat post! We are considering our options of retirement (at 54!) and are looking for even more frugal means of enjoying our lives. This is certainly encouraging and delightful!



scrappy quilter said...

Has it really been since 1993 you wrote the book. I've read it at least twice every year since. I always learn more. I love the simple ways you choose to be frugal and yet live with luxuries. After reading your book the first time, I started collecting lace and old baby clothes. I've been doing it every since and will continue. The lace fills my drawers, is sewn on towels and used in quilts. The old baby dresses hang on my bedroom wall. Other than my Bible it's one of my all time favorite books. Hugs..

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries said...

Hello dear Carol!

You are such a wonderful friend and kindred spirit. To know that my book(s) have been a help and inspiration to you is the epitome of pleasure to me. Thank you so much for always uplifting and believing in me. I cannot tell you what a blessing you are and have been. Please know that you continue to have my appreciation, best thoughts, friendship and prayers.

P.S. Regarding the publishing date of the first book, it was released in 1997. However, both books are compilations of the newsletters we created and self-published from 1993 until 2001.

Linda said...

Your books sound amazing. And I love the kind replies that you have written here to people's comments.

I am thrilled to have found your blog.

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Anonymous said...

I read your book Frugal Luxuries years ago and it has been a true inspiration! I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog today!

Gwen Jones said...

You can even paint copper pipe black and attach black finials. The hardware store will cut the copper to the size you want.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Gwen!
Great idea...especially if you are aiming for the wrought iron style!!
Thanks so much for the suggestion.

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


Frugal Luxuries
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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

Frugal Luxuries Book I

Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons Book II

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