Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul by Tracey McBride
Someone asked me if Frugal Luxuries, which I quoted from earlier, trod the same ground as Your Money or Your Life—it almost seemed that way in the beginning, but as Tracey McBride began to neatly (and maternally) check off the different aspects of frugal living—from finances to food to your wardrobe—while drawing from her family’s experiences, it became clear that hers was more reminiscent of the housekeeping manuals of the past, updated for our post-Susan B. Anthony era, of course.
Just some of the tips I’m eagerly lapping up from my tattered library copy, in McBride’s own words; her book contains multitudes:
1. To make nonstick cooking spray, combine equal parts vegetable oil and liquid lecithin (available at most health food stores and some drugstores) in a clean pump bottle. Use it as you would the more expensive sprays (at a fraction of the cost.)
2. Save water that vegetables have been cooked in, and use it as a basis for soups and gravies. It is best kept in a large (2 quart) recycled wine bottle, with a cork stopper. Or your can keep a large container in your freezer, and add vegetable broth to it.
3. Transform an ordinary dinner salad into a meal by adding rolls of prosciutto stuffed with sauteed red chard (saute in garlic and olive oil), or herbs and cream cheese; add chopped cucumber and sweet red onions.
4. You may easily sour fresh cream or milk by adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice. … To make a rich sour cream you may mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of undiluted evaporated milk and let it stand for 5 minutes.
5. Cooked vegetables may be heartily improved by adding a bit of acid. Spinach is a prime example. Ordinary cooked potatoes become sublime by the simplest addition of lemon juice and parsley.
6. Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap. It will be dear to you.” In other words, do not acquire a garment simply because the price is so low “you cannot resist” it. Avoid buying an item because it “will do.” Chances are you will not enjoy wearing it, and it will clutter your closet and unnecessarily drain your budget.
7. Make your own lingerie bags by running a ribbon through the casing of pillow cases to create a drawstring. Or attach Velcro on either side with Tacky Glue.
8. Make your own dryer sheets by pouring a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener onto a damp rag (or use a clean sock with a missing mate).
9. Candlelight at the dinner table, in the bath, or simply set strategically about your home (always away from the reach of little hands), used on a regular basis, can add a comfortable, romantic quality to daily life.
10. Always look for beauty in the ordinary. Use time-honored strategies and materials in new ways that suit your personal needs and tastes. When you treat the ordinary objects in your life with artfulness, they will become extraordinary.