Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thriftology Thursday--Four Basic Principles

October 17, 2013

Today, I'm gonna let ya'll in on an age old secret:

Use it up,
Wear it out.
Make it do,
Or do without.
Seriously, this old sayin' from the Depression says everything you need to know about Thriftology. I was raised by my grandparents, and it was normal to do these four simple things--they were just a part of life. Now, I DID become a spendthrift once I had my own money (and my then husband's paycheck, but that is a whole OTHER post about spendaholics and their enablers), but after I became a single mom who wanted to continue home educatin' her son with special needs and still be able to pay the bills--I relearned REAL QUICK how to use these four principles. Now that I'm able to be a stay at home mom again, I still use them to further enhance our lives without puttin' a strain on the budget.
Okay, so most of ya'll know this little sayin' by heart--but do you UNDERSTAND it? Do you see the basics behind the cute rhyme? Do you know how to APPLY it to your own life and family situation?
Let's just break it down into each line, and take a moment to really look at what it's sayin'.
Use it up.
Seems pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many folks either don't get this, or they're too lazy to make it a part of their lives. Yet it's something that is easy and doesn't take a lot of effort to do.
Examples range from openin' up a tube of tooth paste to get the last bits out (or even buyin' a GOOD toothpaste tube squeezer from a company like WALTER DRAKE), usin' a DRIP-IT smart funnel to get the last dribbles from one container to another, and one of my favorites--makin' a drippin's jar (I learned this from my buddy Jeff Yeager, The Ultimate Cheapskate by rinsin' out the residue from a jar of jelly, catsup, mustard, honey, etc, usin' a bit of apple cider vinegar. You pour the resultin' liquids into a jar to keep in the fridge. Eventually you will have a wonderful marinatin' sauce for meat.
As far as usin' up other types of foods--create a soup fixin's container in the freezer. Just pop in leftover meats, veggies, broths (I even include the water from canned veggies--hey, I paid for it, I'm gonna use it), etc. When it's full just thaw and plop it into a big pot, addin' tomato sauce and anything else ya feel like to make a soup, and then cook it until you like it. Add some homemade bread and you got a good meal that you didn't have to work hard at. There are a lot of good cookbooks and websites to inspire you and guide you.
 Fruit can be made into crumbles and cobblers, juiced or even fed to animals. I always have an extra apple or carrot that my horses enjoy as a treat. If you have chickens or a pig--the food that would have gone into the trash can be fed to them and pay you back with meat and eggs. A compost pile will yield soil that helps you to grow more food, or flowers it you like.
Wear it out.
I'm good at this one. At our home good clothes are church and goin' out clothes until they become torn, stained or faded. We work to take care of our clothes to ensure they last a long time. Then they become work clothes until they are tood worn to wear. Then they become somethin' else. Jeans are bein' cut into strips to make a homemade rug, T-shirts with cool sayin's and pictures have the logos cut out to be sewn into a lap quilt, throw pillow cover, or a big old car/picnic blanket. The rest of the shirt is then cut into cleanin' rags or washable toilet paper.
Old sheets are saved for backin' quilts, makin' napkins for the table, or cut and made into somethin' else. I love to weave usin' strips of old sheets, on a loom made from a metal sawhorse with a couple of wooden yard sticks made into the shuttle and the thingy that lifts the weave and worf (the thingy that lifts the weave and worf? I am SOOOOO technical.). I have also made the new three tiered bedskirt for my bed with two different color sheets and a cople of lace curtains.
Old towels can be cut down to wash cloths and cleanin' rags. Check out THREADBANGERS (, for a cute bathroom rug you can make from bath towels. Other types of clothin' scraps can be used for patchwork.
Basically--NUTHIN' gets tossed out around here until it can no longer be used for anything.
Make it do.
Some folks don't quite get this one. I guess it is a little fuzzy in it's meanin'. Basically, how do ya make somethin' work? Case in point--my GO phone lost the speaker that makes it ring. I can hear folks and they can hear me durin' a call--I just can't hear it ring when there is a call, a text, or an alarm, and I can't hear the audio on YOUTUBE videos.  I can't afford to get a new phone just yet, and I don't need a new one. I just needed to make it do. With a little research and a bit of creativity--I figured it out.
I found that if I put the phone on the 'meeting' setting---it vibrates. If I place it in a cup or glass, it magnifies the sound of the vibration, and you can't miss it, even if you're asleep. I have a few pretty coffee cups that I had in the cupboard, so I took 'em out and placed them around the house in areas where I could put my phone in them and now I don't have to keep checkin' the phone to see if I have a call or a text. As far as the audio on videos--I found that a simple headphone set plugged in still gives me sound. These little stratagies will enable me to use this phone until next year, when I'll be gettin' a new phone, 'cause I admit--I wear the HECK outta my phones.
I'm also makin' do right now, because I don't have a vaccum cleaner. So I sweep my carpets to get up any hair or other small debris, then I get out my big shop vac and use that to get any dust that may be in the carpet. I admit--I hate it, but it makes do until I can get a real vaccum cleaner.
Okay, you clear on that one? Great, let's move on to the last.
Do without.
We are not talkin' deprivation here, okay? What this means is simple. Be content with what you have, and don't be in a rush to acquire. I recently had the lock on my food processor break, so now it's pretty well useless. Do I rush out to find another one, or send off for a new lid? Nope. I will just use a knife to chop my veggies. If I ever get anpther processor--yippee. If not, I still have a knife.
When my famly lived in a 35 foot travel trailer for several years, I was content, and I worked to make the trailer into a cozy, comfortable home. I knew that someday I might have a bigger house, but I wasn't worried about it. I worked with what I had. When we moved into this 3 bedroom trailer, we had only our beds and a couple of dressers. I was fine with waitin' to get anyting else. Too many times we THINK we need something, and we spend money to get what we THINK we need and want. Anyone can go out and charge a bedroom suite, with all the matchin' chairs, headboards, tables and lamps, but then all ya got is a room with all the charm and personality of a motel room. I prefer to wait until I can find things that I can afford, and that reflect my family's personality.
Also, if you are content with what you have, you won't be a slave to consumerism, which is almost as serious a pandemic in our world as any other plague.  
The Scriptures have a lot to say about contentment. Philippians 4:11-13 says;
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.        
Timothy 6:6-8;
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.        
Matthew 6:31-33;
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.    
So, we clear on all this? Great!    
Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2013

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