Money Saving Secrets: A Review

Having never been one to shy away from checking a dumpster or the curb for unwanted goodies, it was with great expectations that I borrowed from the library a copy of Gene Logsdon’s Money Saving Secrets: A Treasury of Salvaging, Bargaining, Recycling and Scavenging. I was not disappointed.

What I discovered was sort of a journal of a life lived frugally packed full of antidotes and money saving tips. Gene has been writing books on homesteading, farming, gardening and practical skills since the early 1970’s and delivered a well rounded book here on subjects near and dear to me, salvaging and scavenging. He breaks his tips down into nine chapters, which I outline below so you can judge for yourself if it would be a useful read.

Chapter 1

Starting the book off are over 50 pages of examples on how to decorate with found and salvaged items. Examples include how to make things such as plant containers, light fixtures, wall and floor coverings and even a cable spool rocking chair.

Chapter 2

Here he gives ideas on recycling items that would have been discarded into gifts, such as making wind chimes from scrap plumbing pipe, as well as making gifts from scrap wood and fabrics.

Chapter 3

Moving to the yard and garden he explains how compost bins work, how to make cheap plant protectors, trellises from trash and even how to make a squirrel den from a tire.

Chapter 4

This chapter deals with the workshop, garage and barn. He describes how to blacksmith using scrap metal, making tools from recycled materials and how to make a stove from a water tank.

Chapter 5

Here he outlines the three ways to recycle a building: tear it down and reuse the materials you can salvage, move the place to another site or renovate it. He fills in the outlines with many examples and tips.

Chapter 6

Gene goes shopping in this chapter and I tended to disagree with some of his points on coupons and auctions. He offers some pretty strong advice on flea markets, garage sales and how to buy a used car.

Chapter 7

This was one of my favorite chapters. Here he writes about how to forage for herbs and morel mushrooms, searching for Indian artifacts and rock hunting. He even touches on salvaging fur by picking up and freezing dead raccoons and then selling them whole to fur buyers. Interesting, but a freezer full of smushed raccoon carcasses might not go over so well with my wife.

Chapter 8

Here he presents the idea of maintaining your possessions rather than scavenging for more. He tells you how to clean various materials such as glass, tin, silver and pewter. He also covers the bases on waxing, maintaining household appliances, taking care of leather and how to keep your basement dry. And those are just the starters.

Chapter 9

His final chapter offers a few case studies in living simply, which he summarizes by saying, “when ones work becomes ones play, then life becomes a joy and the ultimate simplicity has been achieved.”

Further Reading:

Gene’s Blog

Do It Yourself Clubs

Offer Your Services for Barter or Cash

10 Tips on Finding The Great Morel

How To Save Money By Salvaging

Save Money By Foraging

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