Whether you’re a dedicated homesteader with your own farm or you’re simply a fan of the old-fashioned lifestyle and of living more simply, you probably know how hard it can be sometimes. There are days when nothing seems to go right, and no matter what you try, things just don’t work. Believe me, we’ve all been there, and you’ll make it through!
While roaming about the internet one day, I came across this awesome saying that was apparently very common during the Great Depression, when everything was a little scarce and everyone learned how to be a bit more frugal, thrifty and creative. I have since been working on adopting this as my own personal motto.
Here’s the quote:
Pretty catchy, right? I absolutely love it and it has really helped me put things in to perspective when things are a little rough. It takes a bit of getting used to and really requires a different mindset, so don’t be worried if it takes you some time. But the rewards are fantastic. Not only do you save money, but you also get to be creative, which is a huge bonus to me! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pride you get when you reuse something or make it yourself.
So, if you’re looking to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” then here are some ideas and tips to get you started:
Use it up
- If you have it, use it – Whenever possible, use up what you already have before buying something new. It might not be as shiny or fancy, but it’s certainly going to be functional. This seems pretty common sense, but when you’re trying to make ends meet or live more simply, then fashion ought to be at the very bottom of your list.
- Make it at home – Making things at home is almost always going to be less expensive and better than what you can buy. Use up whatever scraps and leftovers you have to make something new.
- Use leftovers – On that note, don’t throw away food simply because you don’t want to eat it. Instead, find ways to reuse what you already have.
- Substitute when you can – Whether it’s baking substitutions or reusing something for another project, substitutions are a great way to use up excess.
Wear it out
- Put your clothes to work – Instead of throwing out stained, holey or faded clothes, repurpose them as cleaning rags or simply wear them as work clothes. Old shoes are great for things like mowing the lawn and working in the garden as well.
- Hand-me-downs are king – You’d be amazed how far clothes can go if you don’t mind hand-me-downs. You can even do things like letting out hems or adding ruffles to make kids’ clothes longer or take things in for shorter and younger siblings. They’ll grow into it!
- Repurpose as much as you can – Before throwing something out, try and think of a way you could repurpose it. Take that broken box fan apart and use the rim as a raised flower bed. Plant something in that broken bowl and use it as centerpiece or turn that scrap wood into a trellis for your garden.
Make it Do
- Fix it, don’t toss it – Instead of tossing something out because it’s broken, see if you can find a way to fix it up or repurpose it for something else. There might be times when you have no choice but to replace items, but there’s nothing wrong with making it work!
- Learn to sew – Knowing how to sew can extend the life your clothes by years. Let out hems, patch holes or combine a couple too-small shirts to make one that fits just right!
- Use thrift stores – Make your money stretch by buying from thrift stores. Not only can you find unique, old and cool things there, but it’s way cheaper! Add a bit of creativity and you’ll have it made.
- Use it more than once – You’d be surprised how many things around the house can be reused or used for multiple things. Take the workhorse baking soda for example, which can be used for everything from cleaning to personal care.
- Use what you have – Before you go buy something, look at what you have and see if you have something that will work just as well as that shiny new product.
- Know why – If there was ONE thing on this list that you’re going to do, this should be it. For everything you do, know the reason why. Do you really need that shiny new object, or is it just kind of neat? Do you have to eat out tonight, or do you just want to? Understanding the reasons behind doing things will help you stray away from needless expenses and bad habits.
- Stay home – I’m not saying you should never go out (that would be boring) but if you consolidate your trips to town and find things to do locally or at home, you’ll be better off financially. Also, fewer trips to the mall and other places will help curb impulse buying.
- Keep it simple – Doing without can really simplify your life. You’ll be amazed at how much easier things are without all of those little, unnecessary things.
- Sell what you don’t need – If it isn’t functional, beautiful or memorable, then you don’t need it. Declutter and get rid of the excess that we all collect over the years to make more room for useful things.
Of course, once you get the hang of all of that down you’ll be amazed at how much extra money you have. Be sure to treat yourself every once in a while with a meal out, a new pair of shoes or splurge on a fun afternoon with the family!