This is a review for an online book – 1918 book “Thrift in the Household” By Dora Morrell Hughes – Here is chapter one…

THRIFT is the making the best of what one has in strength, time, or money; getting one hundred per cent, in one’s relations with life.

Thrift is an appreciation and application of the accumulative force of little things.

Thrift is a constructive force; waste is its destructive opposite. Sometimes thrift is saving, going without; sometimes thrift is spending “there is a scattering that increaseth ” but always it is something for something.

Chapter 1 WHAT THRIFT IS AND IS NOT: That opening line in the chapter is wonderful, it sums up the explanation. If someone asks, "why you are thrifty?" It is about gaining what is important to you and giving away, in exchange, what is not.

I like how she views the opposite of thrift is waste or destruction. What you don’t save you waste. What you don’t need or don’t use and give back is thrift. Easy enough.

Of course given the year that this was written (1918) I will take the servants comments and gender generalization with a grain of salt. But, we can all do better in our thriftiness whether male or female.

“There is no thrift in saving when the value of the article saved is less than the expense of saving it.”

I like this comment and her following example about bread crumbs. Some people would view washing out sandwich bags as not being thrifty. This is situation where you have to add the value of time into the equation. Does this not only save me money but does it save me time or does it add quality to my life. Perhaps washing out sandwich bags isn’t a great idea and instead buying reusable sandwich containers is, it depends on the person.

“An empty garbage pail is the certain indication of two things: How to buy and how to use what one has bought.”

What an excellent analogy. You can determine what type of person you meet by not looking in their medicine cabinet but by their trash. What do they spend their money on, what do they consider waste and what do they consider not worth their time in fixing up so they can continue to use it.

If you want to read the full 17 chapter book, it is online for free


  1. Brandi @ Frugal Farmhouse // Friday, March 19, 2010 5:20:00 PM  

    this is very interesting. thank you :)

  2. The Grouch // Saturday, March 20, 2010 10:05:00 PM  

    I think you hit the ball out of the park with this post. What a neat and concise way of thinking about thrift.

  3. Anonymous // Sunday, March 21, 2010 8:32:00 AM  

    This was very interesting. I read most of it. I like the ideas for using leftovers and learned a few new things to try. I didn't realize oleo was aroung in 1918,I thought it was a product of the 1960's!