Every now and then, when the large figures on household bills loom larger than any figures have a right to loom, my brain shifts in to thrift gear. It determines, with complete and utter disregard for reality, that, if I save a little money by making, say, my own soap powder or fabric softener, this will magically translate in to a less overwhelming invoice. No matter how many times my little forays in to thriftiness are squashed like a fly under a swat, the thrifty portion of my mind refuses to die quietly. Thriftiness is engrained, engraved, stamped and imprinted deep in my being; it’s inescapable and, when thrifty thoughts power forth, I find them irresistible. Such was the case yesterday.
I had barely swigged my morning coffee (yes, I swigged it,) before I was off to the garden to gather fresh thyme and sage for a room freshener and a scented drawer sachet, the inspiration for which came from ‘Household Wisdom’* . I dried the herbs in the microwave, crushed them between my fingertips, tossed them into some baking soda, and seasoned the mixture with a few drops of lavender oil. And there, in a trice, was a lovely fragrant powder for a dainty dish, with enough to spare for a sachet.Please note that, whilst searching for something to use as a sachet, I realised that my brown paper package, pink tissue paper and green ribbon from my Lizzie Rose purchase was the very something required. It was the ideal receptacle for home-made freshener. And ‘Household Wisdom’ informs me that by wrapping dried herbs in tissue paper I will always have scented paper on hand to enfold a special gift. How wise 🙂
But onwards with my day of inspired thriftery… (sorry, but I was getting tired of the words thrift and thriftiness and I didn’t want to be a penny pincher, which sounds mean.) Next step was to gather up the runty and disfigured early season apples from the front yard and transform them in to stewed apple and apple cake……..
but, wait, that’s not all …I then took the apple peelings and added a few handfuls of Chilean Guavas aka New Zealand Cranberries from the hedges by the door,
and simmered them together in a little pot of lemon flavoured water. After some minutes , the resultant slush was strained to obtain a pearly pink base for a delicious fruit cordial ( yet to be made!)
What next? Why a thrifty supper, of course. One of my favourites; mini meatloaf muffins.
The recipe I use is related to a basic meat loaf recipe but my version includes grated carrot and zucchini and plenty of my home-grown herbs for flavouring. I make small individual meat loaves by baking the mixture in muffin pans. Why? It’s nothing to do with being sparing. It’s a visual thing. I prefer the look of small portions. Yes, weird, but I digress.
We ate our meat with home-grown corn, tomatoes and beans. We did not have to eat the string or herbs. There are limits to how far my thrift extends.
So, that was my day in full thrift throttle. I am sure I saved cents by the dozens. Yet, despite my best efforts and enthusiasm those fat, fulsome figured bills remain determinedly fixed and undiminished. They haven’t shed a penny. Might have guessed. SWAT! SPLAT!
Footnote: I started this post as an idle exploration of life fueled by thrift. However, it has raised a more serious question, and that is, no matter how thrifty and hardworking we are ( and thrift requires a great deal of hard work and dedication), saving money real enough to pay bills can only happen if we have the opportunity to earn, at the very least, a living wage. If that is not possible, either through personal, unavoidable circumstances or because economic models prohibit full employment, how do we, as a just and moral society, ensure that non wage earners are provided with a decent living. I find these articles written from an Australian point of view, very thoughtful and interesting. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/payrise-for-dole-makes-sense-20130315-2g5oo.html and http://newmatilda.com/2013/01/30/stand-welfare-state
I don’t know what the solution is but I do know that, as it is on the road, so it is in life. To make the best of the conditions before us, we need to change gear from time to time or we will grind to a horrible halt.
*’ Household Wisdom’ by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming