After seeing the book Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride recommended on several blogs, I requested it for Christmas and recently finished reading it. Though I enjoyed reading about another family's frugal journey and commitment to beauty and simplicity, I will not add this title to my list of favorites. I felt much of the information was somewhat outdated (granted the book is ten years old) and not especially creative. (On the subject of frugal luxuries, my favorite resource is Like Merchant Ships, which I feel offers both inspiration as well as practical direction. In fact, I thought of Meredith when reading in the book that "a well-set table and an artful presentation of foods is a strong indicator of resourcefulness and ingenuity.")
I did appreciate some of the material, though, and found several noteworthy quotes:
The goal of a "frugalite," McBride writes, is to "seek to enjoy the maximum comforts and freedoms that the wise use of money may bring."
"True simplicity is eliminating both material and intangible excess, and conserving time, energy, money and thoughts. It is using the resources you possess in a way that will take you toward your dreams, your goals--your desired future."
These words cause me to reflect on our current situation. The house we live in is owned by the college where my husband works, so searching for a new home is a first for us--and a big goal looming in the near future. Though we are blessed to have no other debt as we begin the home buying process, the magnitude of such a purchase can be quite daunting. When Eric and I sat down recently to re-consider our budget in light of a mortgage payment, we decided to scale back in several areas and to implement those changes now. It has been empowering to see that not only have we been able to live within the new budget, we've come in under those new numbers so far. (On a sidenote to keep you posted, we did put in an offer on the house I mentioned to you a few weeks ago, and it was rejected without even a counter. At this point, we are not sure how we will proceed.)
Another quote from the book made me think of our recent discussion of hospitality: "The house needn't be perfectly decorated or remodeled, the china need not match, and the foods do not have to be grand or expensive. All that is necessary to pleasantly enjoy the company of family and friends is to care. This affection will be made visible in thoughtfully prepared foods, presented in a warm and inviting setting."
Though I did not love the book, I certainly appreciate the subject and highlighted several thoughts and ideas for future reference. If you have read Frugal Luxuries, I would be interested to hear your opinion about it.