Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Bright Side of Frugality

Cotswold Hills by Peter Adams, from

We have been concerned about conserving our resources at home, and have had some very interesting observations.

While some things might not seem to cost much, when you consider the cost next to the family income, it is really high. For example, something that costs a dollar at the dollar store is more expensive to a family with a limited income. It is equivalent to just a few cents to someone who has a lot of money coming in. That really needs to be taken into consideration! Just because something costs a dollar, does not mean you should spend a dollar on it. Have a good look at a bottle of shampoo, for example. It will cost a dollar at your local dollar store, but at a place like Wal-Mart or even the grocery store, it can go on sale at half the price.

You can also use less of the shampoo each time you wash your hair, and make it last longer. When the container is empty, add water and get one or two more shampoos out of it. I remember sort of laughing at my own parents who used up every bit of everything, including rinsing out tomato-sauce cans and adding it to the soup, but later I found that because they did not have to go out and replace everything as quickly, they were able to save money. Later, when young people began to feel that they could not afford anything, it was these people, these men and women who had saved things like rubber bands and old pencils, instead of buying new packages of things, that had enough savings to help their children with a down payment on a house.

The bright side of seemingly silly frugality, is less tension over money. If you have a dollar, you won't be persuaded to part with it easily, and then if you get another dollar you add it to that one, and soon you have some cash for something that is lasting.

We snickered a little to see our elderly grandmas wash and hang a plastic bag on the line and wondered why she didn't just throw it away, but she didn't buy a roll of plastic bags, even if they were only a dollar. I admit you can get a bit ridiculous about cutting costs, but there will be times when you realize that it is better to scrounge around and find something that will work in place of buying something. When you buy something, even if it is a dollar, it usually costs more than a dollar to go and get it. These people are in fact, the old folks who had money in the bank to care for themselves. Now, I do wonder at the elderly men and women who get reverse mortgages and take their pensions to the gambling casinos. Their children will find it a greater burden to care for them, especially if they have ruined their health with drugs, and alcohol and a poor diet.

The bright side of buying less manufactured food and more real food, will be good health. As poor as one gets, it is never wise to buy de-valued, de-vitamized food, which is what happens to it once it gets in a box or a can. An apple is still quite inexpensive for a snack, and if you have small children, it can be divided among several of them. The key to good health is to eat food as close to its original form as possible.

You might find that Little Debbie's or Hostess apple pies are cheaper than a bag of apples, but they do not have the health benefits of the fresh apples and can in fact, reduce your health. Just because something is cheaper, does not mean it is better. One of the advantages to watching your money more carefully is that you discover the difference between something real and something artificial; the difference between natural and processed. Natural food has not been through a process. The one exception might be cheese or butter, but that is still a ancient natural process, and is not as harmful as all the cheap concoctions that pass for cheese and butter. Natural food is the apple, and the processed food is the apple confections. If you get back to real food, you can make your own desserts with the real apples, and not have all the artificial ingredients in it that are in the processed foods. Lunch meat is also processed. You can make your own lunch meat by slicing home cooked meat and fish thin enough for a sandwich. The taste is beyond comparison.

If there is one thing I would never scrimp or cut down on, it is high quality food. I would not buy the cheap bread at the store: it has very little food value and takes tons of it to satisfy you and can give you heart burn to boot, plus cravings for more. You can make your own bread quite easily, even without a bread machine, and it is such a wonderful, loving treat for the family. The bright side of this kind of frugality is that a home starts to smell like a real home and the kitchens left unused when you were away, will get a real workout. Your family will be so much healthier and won't have to worry about the diseases that people are contacting, if you have good bread. To my plain bread recipe, I add flax seed meal, wheat germ, and various herbs and spices depending on the flavors I'm trying to produce. I never used bleached flour, but have found natural flours that are light. A friend of mine bought a grinder and has another friend who grows wheat. She buys the wheat, grinds it and makes wonderful bread. The family doesn't eat as many slices when one slice is hearty enough to satisfy the appetite.

Another bright spot in frugality is the cost of transportation and telephones. People will write letters to each other which are always such a thrill. The "progressives" who put more and more taxes, interest charges, socialized this or that, on us, will find society going back to basics. Those who hate the Victorian era will find that their own policies will drive us back into that family style of life, where people made their own clothes, women stayed home and guarded the house, and men provided and protected that home. The high cost of everything will make us go back to being enterprising, and trading with one another. High costs of housing will make families pull together and become closer, and help each other out more. The great fear that some of the powers-that-be have of going back to a Victorian lifestyle, will actually be forced on us by their high interest rates and high prices. Living with our families together, longer, we will be exercising more courtesy, which will then flow outward into society. We will expect people to be true to their promises. We will be more inventive, more innovative. We will be more distinguishing between good quality and poor quality. We will focus more on what is best for preserving our marriages, our families, our property. We will not be willing to go into debt for things that deteriorate with time. We will surely want what is important in life, which costs very little.

One bright side of frugality is that people will learn to accept each other for themselves, rather than the shoes they are wearing or the sunglasses they are wearing. I saw a ridiculous show about the newest bags. The commentator said, "Up next: it is time to buy one of the fabulous new bags." She showed some high priced, ridiculously designed bags that were nothing more than squares with handles on them, which were selling at the "terrific bargain" of $150.00! Sometimes the morning shows tell women that a skirt is a "must-have" at $49.00. Are they kidding us? It has about two dollars worth of fabric in it. And will any sincere person admire you more and think more of you because of the bag you are carrying? You can put two pieces of decorating fabric (the kind used for curtains or couch covering) together, sew up the sides and make a handle, and get the same results. We sold some of these years ago when my daughter was learning to sew, and brought in a little extra income. I saw a lady in the fabric store the other day who had a beautiful patchwork square bag. Another woman asked her where she could get one. The lady gave her a business card and told her to go to her website and order one from her. She then showed her the inside of the bag and the outside, explaining what kinds of fabrics they were--some antique, some ordered from England.

I have seen women go to garage sales, yard sales, and pay $80.00 for a dresser. They think they have a bargain because the ones in the new stores are $200.00. My limit for a used piece of furniture is twenty dollars, but even at that, I feel better if I only pay five. Every price should be considered relative to YOUR income. If you are on a higher income and trying to cut down, maybe $80.00 for a dresser would be a bargain for people who are used to paying more. To a poorer person, $80.00 is equivalent to $800.00. So, be careful of bargains, and make sure you are getting a good ratio with your income.

Another bright side to frugality is the absolute beauty you can make of everything. Instead of getting a new table, you can paint your old one. Learn to use the various wood glues to stabilize loose legs and arms on chairs. The old wood is better than new wood, which is often made up of various glues and chemicals, so you are better off with your older pieces anyway.
One of the brightest sides of frugal living is that family and friends will begin attending church again, reading the Bible again, and valuing things beyond the superficial, materialistic life of the busy world around them.


Mrs. R said...

Mrs. Sherman, I just wanted to say thank you for your series on frugality. It is so refreshing to hear someone talk about the beauty of frugality rather than telling you you're "cheap". I think I am more proud of the bargains, thrift store clothes and secondhand furniture, than I am of the things we've bought new.

Polly said...

This is an excellent post on an important topic! I learned frugality at my grandmother's knee and agree that we must consider a 'bargain' as it compares to our income.

I love reading stories set in the old days when economizing was more commonplace. Great ideas on how to make something out of nothing! It takes little money at all to make a house a home.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Sherman, I wanted to thank you for your words regarding frugality and when it's not a good idea to be too frugal. There are many frugal websites out there that advise things that are simply false economy, if not downright dishonest (like buying a garment, wearing it to an event and then returning it to the store for a refund, making the item unsalable and a loss for the store.)

One thing that is often said in such frugality websites is that you don't need to buy toothbrushes as often as dentists recommend, and that you can get by with using just a tiny bit of toothpaste, or no toothpaste at all. This was one frugal tip I must admit that I followed for years - too many years, as it turns out.

The fact of the matter is that a new toothbrush cleans more effectively (new brooms sweep clean) and since they are so readily available and can be bought for not much money, it's really well worth the investment. Professional checkups and cleaning are important as well, as is flossing and the use of interdental brushes. Yet many frugality sites really push minimal self and professional care when it comes to teeth.

So I saved a few dollars over the years on skimping on my teeth - my teeth which I have just had to put over twenty thousand dollars worth of work into so that I can keep them for the second half of my life! Wish I'd bought new toothbrushes more often, saved up enough to go for a professional cleaning and checkup once a year and invested in dental floss and interdental brushes! It would probably have saved me sixteen root canals and five crowns (not heavenly ones either!) That would have been true frugality, rather than thinking that saving a few dollars a year on toothbrushes was!

Balance in frugality is the key. As you said, a packet of Little Debbie cakes might be cheaper than real food, but the nutritional payoff isn't worth the pennies saved. Nor are the "frugal" recipes touted on some frugality websites, which will turn out a dish made from generic hot dogs, Ramen noodles and powdered soup mix.

I really like how you show all the sides of frugality, not just the penny pinching ones!


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is great stuff you are writing! And I do look at our reduced circumstances as a blessing in disguise. You have given me some more good ideas, Lydia. I like what you said about how "bargains" are relative to how much money you are currently bringing in. Free is still best of all, of course. My father used to go to the woods in the Spring and pick fiddle ferns (which we would sautee in butter), to the meadows and pick dandelions before they bloomed (we would eat them as greens, Italian style), and would also seek out wild mushrooms and berries. Some of my fondest memories are of going with him on these jaunts.

He also was a saver and would find ingenious ways to use little tidbits of this and that to come up with useful items for the home.

I bless the memory of my wonderful parents who taught me so much about being resourceful and responsible and hope to better live up to the heritage they have left me.

Thanks again, dear friend. Not sure how to sign my name anymore, but this is Gail, from Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Great series Lady Lydia! Funny, my DH and I have been married since we were 19 years old and went into the military together so we could provide for ourselves decently and go to school. However, I was raised by two parents who were together since they were 15 years old to NEVER EVER GO INTO DEBT and to do without as much as possible. I made our bedside tables from stacked cardboard boxes with a six dollar glass topper and some pretty fabric. We drove a very beat up car for years (so beat up a coworker refused to let me drive her to lunch because she didn't want to be seen in it-I was able to get out of the military when my enlistment was up and she had to re-enlist for another four years to handle her car payment a huge price to pay to look good to strangers) and paid cash for everything. We were made fun of, harassed, ignored. But funny, we were the first people that they asked money from (we didn't lend except for one time when feeding a child was involved), for prayer, for help with budgets and people were constantly trying to sell us the cars they couldn't afford. Now, over a decade later, we live in the highest taxed and cost of living state in a beautiful home and I stay home. We are able to vacation (for cash) at the drop of a hat and have savings, two paid in cash cars and no debt.

We are just 30 and working to pay off our last debt, the mortgage. My dh will be retired in less than 10 years and we hope to start that new life debt free.

Using your creativity to help your family can be fun and educational. There are thousands of things the homemaker can do, no matter her age.

Many Blessings :)

Lydia said...

You are right: not all that is cheap is a bargain. A lot of cheap things will cost you more in the long run. One of them is rubber gloves for washing dishes in hot water. The best deal is a white glove called Mr. Clean, a hypoallergenic type that lasts a long, long time, but costs a few dollars more. If you buy gloves at the dollar store, you will be buying them every week, for they are thin and defective.

Other cheap things are just not goode for you. Canned meats and fake foods are very detrimental to your health. Buying fresh grapes in season and fresh salmon are worth the price and are cheaper than a breakdown in health. Even if you live in a country where hospitalization is paid, poor health costs money in many other ways. When I go to the market I buy only the best foods for my family. I wouldn't feed some of the things that are sold there, to a dog. Shop the outer perimeters of the store: fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and get things that do not leave you feeling hungry all the time. Then, if there are things you just can't get fresh, you can buy them.

Another bad bargain is cheap cloth. Some of it feels like paper. It is fun to get a discount, but if the fabric pattern is just printed on it, or if the fabric isn't durable, you will waste hours of sewing time making things that will not last. The only exception would be if you are making something that will suffer wear and tear or lots of washing, like a curtain or a tea cozy or something used in a place that won't soil.

Still another bad bargain, particularly bad for poor people, are what is called "Factory Outlets." Often they are far away from home and take some travel expense involving spending the night, and the garments are name brand, which means they are going to be high, even if you buy them there. I went once and was shocked to see the prices on things like raincoats and shoes. I could have shopped a local discount store and got them much cheaper. Factory outlets can fool you because you think you are really going to get a big discount. Some stores where you buy things in bulk are not bargains. Sure, you can buy a huge box of carrots for pennies a pound, but the total amount for the package will be $20.00. You may, as a poor person, only have $20.00 to spend on a few meals, so what kind of bargain is 10 pounds of carrots? You won't use them up before they go bad, and there won't be any other food to combine them with to make a meal. You have to have quite a bit of money to shop at those kinds of stores. If you have only twenty dollars, and there are only a few people in a family, get a few fresh bananas and some brocoli, some chicken and rice and make some nice meals. Until you are more stable financially, you can't afford some of the buy-in-bulk stores. Sure, you can go with friends and then divide it all up but often it is not possible, especially if other people do not want the same things you want.

We should avoid sales if they have a lot of added on expenses. Something might be a dollar but only if you buy 20, and if you need other things, that item is not a bargain.

It is true, some people always have money for vices and never enough for the basic essentials of human survival. There needs to be a reverse snobbery to reverse the mentality that driving in a new car is important or wearing up to date clothing, even if it isn't comfortable and doesn't adequately cover you, is essential. We need to reverse the mentality that we should look like everyone else and live like everyone else. Being frugal is not just about money. It is about sense.

Lydia said...

oh yes, my father still does things like that. Lately he has been digging up small orchids growing in gravel around the community he lives. Then he replants them in his own little garden in front of his house. These grow wild in many places and he enjoys domesticating them. If everything we do has to be bought, it takes the fun out of things. Shopping should be enjoyable, too, but not pressure.

Tracy said...

I am enjoying reading your articles on the beauty of frugality. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

Anonymous said...

Such an excellent point about comparative costs for those with limited income vs. those who have more expendable income. For us every dollar really matters. It is vital to make wise purchases. To me spending $20 is a bit of money; to those with more it's probably trivial. I try to refrain from shopping (helps with wanting stuff I usually don't need). Shopping is usually for groceries, unless I am able to get some free or low-cost items with couponing. Once in a while I will purchase helpful magazines or books. I get a lot of quality pleasure from reading and as you mentioned Lady Lydia, it's something one can do in their own home.

I've been thinking about living frugally due to necessity vs. by choice. A person with a choice will have money to fall back upon, whereas the person with limited income may not and often does not. I find I always learn the most from those who live frugally by necessity as they need to be creative, they need to find ways to make do and to not purchase items. They try to avoid the stores, instead of looking for reasons to shop. They are resourceful and are used to doing without, but are often content with what they already have. In my own very frugal journey, these are the types of people I love to talk to and learn from!

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed this post. I will scroll down and read the prior ones for this series.
I told my parents and hubby just the other week that I think we all need to consider buying a piece of property in the country so we can start raising our own food like in the old days.

Anonymous said...

I love your recent posts on frugality...they have been wonderful. One thing you spoke of that I do find hard to do on a limited budget sometimes is buy better quality food. We are a somewhat large family of seven..and while I would prefer to buy say a better quality bread....if I do I can only afford 2 loaves instead of 5. So in some cases, even though I would love to buy better quality...I do have the reality of quantity also. That has been a struggle for me. We do grow a garden every year, I can and freeze for the winter. I do buy fresh fruit also. We have meat butchered at a local market once a year with our income tax that does help and is better for us I think..but in some areas I just find it hard to pay the price for quality when it costs so much that I can't afford the quantity I need...maybe you can help me with some ideas??? Other than just buy better and eat less of it..hubby won't go for that. Any thoughts would be welcomed. I love all your writings!! Thanks~ Angie

Anonymous said...

We have recently started to once again pay cash (vs. write checks or use the debit card) for our grocery and household (i.e. cleaning, bathroom, etc. products) and this has helped eliminate unneeded items from our expenses.

I guess I'm a tightwad by nature, because I am a lot more careful of my purchases when I have to hand over the cash. We have been feeding our family of 5 on about $200/mth. We use very little processed foods; and as much fresh or bulk items that we can obtain.

In conjunction with this, I have began making bi-weekly menus so I only shop for exactly what I will be needing every other week. When we began, I was concerned that the meals seemed to frugal, but my dh said he was enjoying them and felt they were varied and tasty. Plus, he said, he enjoyed coming home to the smell of good things cooking. What a great affirmation!

Home Educator's Helper said...

I, too have been loving these articles! I have one thing I would like to say to those who live in the US. In Australia, we have a clothes line in almost every backyard - a dryer is NOT something that is a given in every household.

I had recently fallen into the trap of using my dryer even when the weather was suitable for hanging the clothes out, my power bills were very, very high (and I don't have air conditioning or central heating) so I have started minimising my dryer usage - my last bill was $50 cheaper!!!

You can even hang clothes around inside the house in bad weather, on your porches - wherever you have some weather proof space!

The cost of a few dollars for some qood quality pegs (clothes pins)are a small price to pay for the savings you will make.

Also think about your central heating and air conditioning - do you really NEED to have the central heating on all day - or especially at night when you are under covers anyway? Are there times during the day when you could turn it right down - like when you are going out or are busy moving from room to room? Would a sweater be a better investment for around the house?

Air conditioning costs can be lowered by just following the sun around your home and closing blinds as you go. I also find that when I am busy working, I barely feel the heat as much as I do when I am sitting around lamenting about how hot it is (and I live in Australia, it gets hot sometimes!)

Another idea that can be used for cooling you down on a hot day is to run your wrists under cold water - it works! Also, electric fans can do a reasonable job of making you a little more comfortable on a hot day.


Lydia said...

You are right that you do not need to remove to the country in order to have a garden. You can grow plenty of food in the available soil around the house, or in pots. However, do not grow things like wheat and barley, oats, etc. in a neighborhood. The chaff will blow into other people's yards and you could get into trouble, unless you can find a way to do it without it affecting your neighbors.MOst other things are permissible in a neighborhood plot. If you grow a fruit or nut tree, be sure you will not quarrel over the produce that falls on your neighbor's side. Just let them have it. If you think there might be problems, do not grow things like berry bushes, or trees, near the fence where it will drip over into the neighbor plot.

Mel, you are right: people got along without air conditioning in the past and we can reduce the dryer use quite a bit. In the summer our bill goes down $100.00 by using lines. In winter we use the lines for huge items like blankets and sheets and some towels. Unfortunately in a climate where it rains continually in winter, some things will need the dryer. But it doesn't have to be used all the time. We now have one of those gadgets that connects to the house that pulls out 5 or 6 rows of line and hooks over a fence, to dry clothes on.

*~Tamara~* said...

Lady Lydia, I really appreciate your recent thoughts on frugality. I think a lot of people equate "frugal" with "cheap" and the two are not the same at all! We live quite happily and sated on one income, with a few niceties thrown in, not because we are living the high life on a huge salary, but because we set our priorities in such a way that we are happy with less.

I will admit there are some things we would really like...not necessarily to have, as we have more than enough, but to do. My husband and I will be married for 15 years this year, and we have never gone away together. (Our honeymoon was 3 days spent in downtown Chicago.) Our kids have not seen any of the world but what exists between our house and Grandma's three states away. So I wish that we could travel, but again...priorities.

And I am currently reading a book written by a small-time farmer in which he says (paraphrasing) that adventure and fulfillment often exist right outside your door, if you'll stay there long enough to realize it. :-)

Thanks again for your writings here. They are often so uplifting.

Anonymous said...

I just had a comment to the lady who makes more than her husband and wants to quit work. Would it be possible to get the company to give your present job to your husband? It would be great to have more men in banks, post offices, schools, etc. It is possible that they could take these jobs. Interesting that if a job ad appeared in a paper "for a man only" women would have a royal fit, and scream prejudice, yet many of the jobs in banks and schools, though not said in so many words, are intended only for women, and sometimes have bigger salaries than a man could have unless he was in construction or working in the oil fields. We probably need to begin a trend of getting men in the jobs when women want to go home.

Anonymous said...

oops...sorry I posted my comment on the wrong article. It was in regard to a comment in a much earlier post and I can't find it now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lady Lydia for your articles on frugality, they really show that being frugal about more than just not spending money.

I fully agree that it is not worth skimping on quality food but instead making as much of your food as you can, it can be very enjoyable too. I currently don't have the time to bake very often and I miss the quality bread (and the good price), however I am building a (mental - must write it down) menu of fast, tasty and economical foods for myself and my husband.

I guess we all have a limit to our frugality and mine is where it comes to washing out old plastic food bags and cling-film (seran wrap?) - my mother used to do this and they were never properly clean. I decided long ago to have good quality containers that for the most part are used instead of disposable plastic. Indeed I have some wonderful glass containers with plastic lids that can go straight to the table, such a time (and money) saver.

Lydia said...

Yes of course there is a limit to it. I definitely think it is dangerous to your health to eat cheap food. When you are poor, the body is all you have, and it is the thing that will get you on to a better life. The hands and the mind together can create so much more to help on the road to prosperity and stability. The eyes, the teeth, the ears---all these things have to be looked after and it is good nutrition that is the basis of health. The foods on sale that are processed haven't got the food value to feed a bird. In fact if you have a dog or cat, they have to have specialized food and the owners are warned that a lot of the commercial food will kill the pets. As for bread: make a good hearty loaf full of the things you love and one slice a day will do. You aren't better off eating 5 or 6 slices of cheap bread. If buying it, the heavier loaves usually have higher quality, higher nutrition. However, with practice you can make a loaf a day at home, or else heat up the oven once and put as many loaves as you can in it fo rthe week. With just a husband and wife, however, it isn't necessary to do that if you do not want to do the work. You can buy a good loaf of bread and it will last awhile.

Daisy said...

I love this line:
"Just because something is cheaper, does not mean it is better."

So true, in so many aspects of life.

Anneatheart said...

Dear Lydia,

I too am learning to live frugally. Currently I am living in a very large rent home that we are renting from my in-laws. They have told us that we can paint or wallpaper or whatever we want. We know we may only be living here for another year or so and don't want to put a lot of money into redecorating. I have somewhat of a problem. The entire living and kitchen area is paneling. While it doesn't look bad, it just doesn't feel homey and cozy to me. Yet my husband dreads painting it. I wanted you to look at pictures of it and see if you had some ideas of how we can alter the appearance without lots of painting etc. You can see the pictures here at my blog,

I am so blessed to have such a large dwelling, but with three little girls 5 and under, it's hard to keep it up! Thanks so much,


Anonymous said...

I do agree with the comments about an electric clothes dryer not being necessary. We live in Scotland, where we have abundant rain all year round, and I have brought up 2 children without using a dryer for laundry. They are at a school with a strict uniform code, so the laundry involves 10 long-sleeved white cotton shirts to wash and iron each week. I find that it is an interesting challenge for me to work out how to keep the laundry moving and ensure that the family has what they need when they need it. (I also involve my son and daughter in this, so that they will be able to do this for themselves). We have an outside clothes line, and there is nothing nicer than air-dried laundry. I keep a constant eye on the weather to see what I can hang outside. As soon as it rains I snatch the laundry inside and dry it further on the victorian pulley airer my husband has fixed up in the garage. When it rains for days on end we make use of this airer, and also drying racks in the kitchens and bathrooms. All our bedrooms have hook-over racks on the radiators so that underwear can be dried there in private on rainy days, making use of the heat that is already coming from the radiators.

On plastic bags, I use the bag that breakfast cereals come in inside the cardboard box. They are excellent for storing home-made fruit loaf, and will go in the freezer too. Of course it's preferable to have porridge and not to buy processed cereals, but we do eat cornflakes and wheat bisks in our house!

We now have neighbourhood recycling stations for plastic bottles, and taking bags full of plastic waste up to the top of the road every week has made me really aware of the impact of this on the environment. It's good to recycle, but it's better that these plastic bottles weren't made in the first place. We are now using only bars of soap in the shower, because bottles of shower gel were so expensive, and environmentally unsound.

Jennifer C. Valerie said...

So very true. This post has made me take an even closer look at what is called bargains. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Another great post.

Cheap bacon is another false economy, it's all bulked up with water and when it's grilled it shrivels up to nothing.

I try to pay for our weekly shops by cash, it makes it easier to see at a glance how much has been spent that week, how much we have left. When I pay by card it is difficult to remember sometimes where I'm up to with the budget. Although I do have a spreadsheet to keep up with it all :)


Anneatheart said...

Thank you for the helpful ideas Lydia. If I ever get to have my 'dream home' there will be NO paneling whatsoever- since I got married (almost 7 years ago) every house we've lived in has been covered in dark brown paneling.

Interestingly enough, my dream home is an old refurbished farmhouse with a wrap around porch covered in climbing roses and farm land :) See I'm frugal in my dreams too :)

Anonymous said...

I ,too, appreciate your series on frugality. It has been very encouraging. It is truly a virtue to look well to the ways of the home. Thank you for giving so much wisdom and inspiration of this subject.

Jan Hatchett said...

Dear Lady Lydia:
I must echo your other readers in saying what a wonderful, uplifting blessing your blog is. It always feeds my soul to stop by here and read awhile.

Yes, frugality is more than saving money, it is stewardship of all of the blessings the Lord gives us. Taking care of the home, of ourselves, our children, our homes, etc. is what is really fullfilling in life, if we will allow it to be.

It has taken me many years to come to this realization, but it is so true. At this time in my life, I have to work outside the home in order to earn tuition for my sons in a school that can meet their needs. But, when I am home, I am HOME and my wonderful family is my priority.

Thanks again for your writings. They are a blessing to me.

Lydia said...

I remember turning off lights in rooms where no one was sitting. Someone who was not a member of the family said, "Are you folks having hard times?" meaning "Are you broke?" I explained it was just good not to be wasteful. Some people just do not understand that. They think the whole house ought to be blazing with lights. I've seen people also use up a whole tank of gas just driving around and around a town just to see and be seen. Also, furniture can be treated harshly. Shoving chairs around or dragging them instead of lifting them, can loosen the legs. It takes a bit of repair work, but these can be fixed. However, you still can't lift an accent table or coffee table by its top and expect it to last and do good service for years. Our parents and grandparents had furniture and large families and still managed to train everyone to take good care of it all. It isn't surprising that everyone wants the antique furniture from the past. It might have been made of better materials and built better, but it was also taken care of much better than furniture is today in most households.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

It has been wonderful to get back online and read your last three posts on frugality. Thank you! I'm newly married, and we try to save every penny. We got a used refrigerator for free, and my husband has a good eye for finding and re-using stuff. We have an old table my husband found and his father repainted; it looks brand new. He also found some used drawers; we are using old folding chairs we got from his relatives. Some might pity us for not having everything brand-new, but I feel a deep satisfaction at the thought of all the money we're saving.

Mrs. Anna T ("Domestic Felicity)

Kate said...

I'm so glad you pointed out the issue of eating well and not just buy the "cheap stuff." I used to compare my homemade foods and preserves to the cheap stuff at stores. Of course my homemade stuff cost more! However, if I compare my homemade foods to the nearest equivalent in the stores, then I'm obviously saving money, and eating less and eating more healthfully!

Anonymous said...

What a blessing to have found your is so rich. I will be back often. Thank you for giving of yourself in this is no small amount of time to create and maintain a valuable and helpful blog such as this one. Be blessed, Lady Lydia!

Anonymous said...

Dental hygiene schools may offer discount cleanings for the sake of their students' practice. It seems it would be better to do that than not at all.

Anonymous said...

I've just written along these same lines on my blog today! Then I came across your entry . . . As one who washes plastic bags out herself, you are not alone!

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

You've written a winner - again!

I can't agree more about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet - even when the money's tight. processed foods may, as many have stated, be cheaper but they are barren of nutrients and injurious to health.

Often, outlets in migrant neighbourhoods such as asian, lebanese, or Indian providors can be cheap whilst maintaining the quality - these are usually run by independant operators who know the constraints of their own communities. here's an example. A mainline butcher in our area charged, just a few weeks ago, $15 per KG for lamb chops. These same chops we bought from our local Lebanese butcher (whose premasis is may i add spotlessly clean - not even the rank smell you get in most butcheries) cost $9 for comperable quality. Same goes for staples such as rice, couscous, pasta, burghel, pulses, oil, spices, ghee etc - the local Lebanese grocer has a fantastic selection at affordable prices. Most of his clients are traditional families, by the way, where a good number of the ladies are homekeepers. You can tell - he can't get away with any shifty business - his customers will call him on it right away!

I can't speak highly enough of maintaining good health either. For the investment of a few hundred per year, I ensure my teeth stay sound thus avoiding major problems later on. health experts have actually linked poor health and even heart disease to poor oral health - it cannot be overstated enough. We only get one set of teeth as adults...

Even, sadly, many of the 'Traditional' christian homemaking sites I've encountered on the net (the US ones in particular) place too great an emphasis on packaged or processed cheap foods in their menu suggestions. This is simply too risky.

Same goes with washing bags for food storage... it's better to invest in good quality, freezer to table containers (preferably glass) that will last years than using disposables.

On a lighter note, speaking of quality nutritious foods, for our 3rd wedding anniversary last week, my parents sent my husband and I a gorgeous box of pears - half a dozen varieties - rather than chocolates.

These are by

check them out.

I'm off to make pear crumble slice this afternoon; it is our Autum down here in Australia so these beautiful fruits are at the peak of their season. if anyone has a recipe for pear jelly, I would be most appreciative.


Mrs. E.,

Melissa said...

Another excellent post!

Many Blessings,