In January I had a conversation with a friend that began with me telling her that 2009 was going to be my year of thrift. In response she merely grinned. I wondered if she doubted my ability to reform. Then I discovered the reason for her amusement. She had just bought me a book by one of my favourite writers – India Knight. Fittingly, Knight’s latest offering is titled The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less.
I had already started making some financial plans but this book really helped me step it up a gear – not least by introducing me to the world of blogs. It has chapters on everything from food to beauty. Did you know you could kill spots by using crushed asprin mixed with a little water instead of expensive, over-the-counter products? I didn’t. This books is filled with little gems (from all kinds of sources which she details for further reference). Of course, now I have read some of the fantastic personal finance blogs around, I can see that by comparison this might be a book for the thrifting beginner. Some of the ideas might seem obvious, but there is something hypnotically soothing in the way Knight extols the virtues of the local library, eating what is in season, learning some basic sewing techniques, why weddings don’t need to cost an arm and a leg and so on. It reminds of us of the things we know already but might have forgotten or never got around to putting into practice.
Okay, so she might have more pennies than the most of us (or not actually – see the introduction of the book for confessions of her own financial disasters) but surely any book or blog or article about personal finance is going to be subjective to a degree? I want to save £500 this month and am making cuts to achieve this. For some people, to be able to save this much is unimaginable. For others, it will be what they spend on booze or shoes for the month. Everyone is in a different situation but it doesn’t mean there isn’t some common ground on how we could be more sensible with our spending choices and lead a simpler life.
I found this a really inspiring and entertaining read and would be interested to hear from anyone who has read any books that have inspired them on their frugal path…