I was poking around the staff library at work when I found this little gem of a book: aaa|The American Frugal Housewife|048640840X|aaa by Lydia Maria Child and published in 1844. It is full of helpful hints on how to tell if walnuts are ready for pickling and how housewives should be sure to employ their children in making their own clothes, etc.
With all the talk about the price of gas the past few days, I thought that this passage was particularly timely. While there may not be anything individuals can do about the rising prices, they can change their practices to save, none-the-less. Child tells us not to be ashamed of our frugality, but to embrace it.
>We never shall be prosperous till we make pride and vanity yeild to the dictates of honesty and prudence! We never shall be free from embarrassment until we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy. Let woman do their share towards reformation- Let their fathers and husbands see them happy without finery; and if their husbands and fathers have (as is often the case) a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them gently and gradually check this feeling, by showing thatthey have better and surer means of commanding respect- Let them prove, by the exertion of ingenuity adn economy, that neatness, good taste, and gentility, are attainable without great expense.