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:
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.
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