More shoestring reading

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…


Categories: Book love, Frugal ideas | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “More shoestring reading

  1. I really want to read this book but my library never seems to have it in and obviously I can’t buy it. A book like this is a great way to get your spending habits under control.

    Early 2007 I read a book called The New Spend Less Revolution: 365 Tips for a Better Quality of Life While Actually Spending Less. This was the book that really started me off thinking about how crazy my spending was.

    Sometimes a lot of saving is just simple common sense but having it written out and under your nose really brings it to your attention.

    I’m glad you’re trying to save £500 this month. Do you have any old mobile phones you could sell? Or books you could put on Amazon? I used to make a bit of extra cash by doing baking and taking it into work. Always worth a shot – people love cakes!

  2. shoestringalley

    The book you mentioned sounds great – and I know exactly what you mean about having it all written out in front of you!

    I hadn’t thought about the old mobiles (am sure I’ll come across a couple in the decluttering process). I have been sorting through my books and have quite a lot to get rid of but had intended to take them to a carboot sale. How much hassle is it selling on Amazon? Did you have to wait long for the books to sell?

  3. Just done a post about a good place to sell books and get at least £3 each.
    I would love this India Knight book, I was obsessed by her book “The Shops” and it still sits next to my computer. I love the cover of this book, and until I read your post, I didn’t know about it. Would like to know what hardships India has sufferred to enable her to be an authority on thrifty living! The amount of tweets she puts out on twitter, I am surprised she has time to write books, and seeing her ramblings on there, has quite put me off her. Still want the book though!

  4. shoestringalley

    Wow – I am riddled with curiosity about India twittering now! Maybe I’ll sign up after all. Does she go under her own name or one of those fake ones?

    I love ‘The Shops’ too (no surprises there). Don’t you just love the story about the nun at the end?

    As for her financial hardships, she was served with bankruptcy papers. So I guess she knows a thing or two about thrifting as well as shopping these days!

  5. She goes under her own name. Did you check out Green Metropolis?

  6. shoestringalley

    I’m going to have a look today!

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