Something a little bit different on today's Thrifty Friday Five. Instead of giving you five top tips I'm instead going to share with you the top five books on my bookcase that I go back to time and time again for thrifty tips.
1. Practical Self Sufficiency – Dick & James Strawbridge
It was the Strawbridge's TV series It's not Easy Being Green that first started me off on my green journey several years ago – and that in turn was what lead to me starting this blog. When Dick & James' Practical Self Sufficiency came out in 2010 it became my bible for everything self-sufficient. Now I know that we're a long way being fully self-sufficient here, but this book is full of some amazing tips and "how to" sections and I dip into it regularly.
There's everything in here from conserving energy at home to growing your own vegetables, animal husbandry and craft skills. Being published by Dorling Kindersley it's full of very clear guidance as well as lots of lots of photos and illustrations. There's also a great resources section at the end, plus a further reading list for people who want to take things a bit further.
2. Bicarbonate of Soda
If you're not yet using bicarbonate of soda in your home then you really should be. Bicarbonate of Soda: Hundred of Everyday Uses covers all the different uses that you can find for this white powder for cleaning, laundry, personal care and food. There are literally hundreds of tips in this book and using bicarbonate of soda instead of other chemicals or products could save you a fortune, whilst also being much more environmentally friendly too. I hope to be sharing some of my bicarbonate experiences here on Thrifty Mrs C very soon.
3. The Vegetable Expert – Dr D. G. Hessayon
When we first moved to a house with a garden I was fortunate enough to find a copy of The Vegetable Expert in a local charity shop and I still find it the most useful of all my books on growing your own. If you're not familiar with the "Expert" series the style of the book can take a bit of getting used to, but it is packed full of useful factual information plus lots of photos and diagrams to help you.
The copy I picked up was originally published in 1985 and it has since been superseded by The Vegetable & Herb Expert which has been updated, although it should be noted that my original version does also cover herbs. There's also a separate The Fruit Expert available.
4. McCall's Sewing in Colour
If you're interested in trying to with make your own clothes, or save money by altering things that you already own or that you pick up secondhand then understanding how the clothes are made is vital. I picked up a copy of McCall's Sewing in Colour in a charity shop about three years ago and it's the best book I've found for explaining how clothes patterns are constructed and also the section on pattern alternation, which can be applied to clothing alterations.
The book also contains huge amounts of information on how to sew clothes and home decorations and is ideal for someone who has no sewing experience to start with. At the end is a chapter on "The Three R's – Repairing, Remodelling, Remaking" which is incredibly useful if you want to extend the life of things that you already have.
5. Women's Institute Practical Know-How: In the Wardrobe
My mum popped a copy of Women's Insititute Practical Know-how in the Wardrobe in my Christmas stocking last year and it's a great little book for lots of handy tips. If you want the clothes that you have to last as long as possible, whilst still looking good you really need to follow what the WI have to say. There are instructions on how to care for and store different items, what classic items you should have in your wardrobe, how to ensure that you only buy things that you will wear in the first place and using accessories to bring new life to an old outfit.
The book is interspersed with humorous quotes and it's lovely to pick up and flick through. As I've always said, those women from the WI are full of useful information and it's great to see some of it brought together in a little book like this.
What are your favourite thrifty books? Any titles that you go to time and time again to help you lead a more thrifty, greener lifestyle? If so then please share them in the comments below.