Frugal Luxuries

After a week of testing Asda Smart Price products, some of which were fantastic, others I’d prefer to live without, I have to say that it was seriously good to tuck into some of DJ’s fresh produce from the vegetable patch over the weekend.

The summer having been disappointing, his tomato crop was fairly mixed. Generally they turned out nice and red but some had a rather watery flavour thanks to too much rain. But recently with the warmer weather their flavour has been improving, so DJ made a gorgeous roast tomato soup from a recipe he found in Grow Your Own Magazine, actually from It was delicious, especially with fresh homemade bread. You just can’t beat simple homemade soup.

That combined with reading a top 20 list of money saving tips from readers of Glamour Magazine – including a home-made spa treatment a lady who used to spend $10,000 on pampering at spas now uses – got me thinking about frugal luxuries.

It may sound like a contradiction in terms – surely the frugal life is all about self-denial? Stopping yourself from spending cash on things you don’t need and scrimping and saving? Well, it can be, but as some of you have pointed out in your blog comments it should also be about enjoying a simpler, better quality way of life – if possible – by scrimping in some areas of your finances so you can spend money – or time – wisely on other things that matter to you. That might be working fewer hours, and surviving on a smaller salary, so you can spend more time with your kids or on a project you care about. Or saving the cash you used to spend on cigarettes towards a holiday. Although it’s clear from your comments on the blog that everyone’s circumstances are different, and for some people frugal living isn’t a lifestyle choice but a necessity.

But even in the depths of the credit crunch – perhaps especially so, because life right now is stressful for many people – we all need a little pampering now and then. For some it might be good home-cooked food, for others it might be a home pedicure or curling up with a favourite old film on TV or a gripping book. I’ve realised that one of the most pleasurable things in life for me is enjoying the company of good friends or just going for a walk in the woods. And it sounds bonkers, but one of the most decadent things DJ and I enjoy is tucking into a warm sweet corn cob, freshly picked from the garden. If you’d told me ten years ago I’d list that as a luxury, I would have laughed in your face! Back then I was more used to treating myself by going on a clothes shopping spree paid for by credit card which usually came back to haunt me later.

So what I’d like to know is – what are your favourite cheap ways to pamper or treat yourself? Please get in touch and let me know, and I’ll put a list of the best ones up on the blog.


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5 Responses to Frugal Luxuries

  1. Christine says:

    I read the pampering link and thought "Oh for the days when videos were free from the library" – nowadays it\’s at least £2 here. There are very few free concerts either except in the park in the height of summer – churches are finding that their halls are expensive to heat and repair so there always seems to be a charge. At the moment it\’s so quiet in a lot of the big local shopping malls and shops with people guarding their money here that they don\’t notice if you sit in a corner with a cup of coffee for rather a long time on the grounds that you need customers in to attract other customers in.

  2. piper says:

    Hey Christine. That\’s a shame about the library – mind you, videos – as opposed to dvds – are dirt cheap in charity shops now. I bought two last week for 25p each.  One was an Eddie Izzard thing and the other an old Michael Caine film. And I know what you mean about church concerts. Our choir pays a fortune renting halls for concerts and occasionally we\’ve not made enough money to cover it.  Good tip about the coffee shops.

  3. Christine says:

    Trouble is that with no telly and the facility to watch DVDs on the computer, videos are sort of out for me. It was a choice of internet or telly with the personal budget and there are far more discounts on bills via the interweb thingy than via the telly – so ergo no telly.

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