Thursday, December 20, 2018

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

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This saying from The Great Depression is the rallying cry for frugality. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without are words we live by here and lies at the core of frugal living. How we choose to do that is entirely up to us. 

Use It Up

This simply means to use all of something rather than let it go to waste. Eat your leftovers rather than throw them away. Use up the last of a bottle of anything, turn the bottle upside down, so the last of the product will come out or even cut the bottle open.

Cut bread bags down to size to use instead of a sandwich bag. Cut open the tube of toothpaste to get the last little bit out. Cut up old towels or worn out clothing to use as rags for cleaning. Take your pantryhose that have holes in them and string up the tomatoes in the garden. 

Think before you throw something away to see if you can use it for something else. 

Here is a picture of a container that had held a store bought cake, which was turned into a watermelon bowl. 

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Here is an old bird feeder with both plastic and metal parts, but the metal parts had outlived the plastic section. Here is a picture of a plastic peanut butter jar, which fixed the bird feeder and made it like new again. 

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Wear It Out

This simply means to keep something and use it until it is no longer useable. If you have a piece of clothing for work, wear it until it is no longer presentable for work and then switch it to everyday wear around the house or in the garden. Amy Dacyczyn used this idea with her three year sneaker plan. 

Make It Do

This means to make do with what you have. Sew, which is an important life skill, an item to extend it's life usefulness. Don't buy a new outfit when an outfit you already own will make do instead. 

Some of the things we make it do at the Frugal Workshop include sewing, repairing items, using items we already own even though we may want something else instead. 

Do Without

Make do without those things you think you need. Have a craving for something delicious for dinner, but already have food at home you can use to make a meal? Do without a grocery or restaurant trip and make the food you already have. Rice and beans are as filling as meat and potatoes. 

Some of the things we do without at the Frugal Workshop include a dishwasher, garbage disposal, cable tv, salon hair cuts, conditioner, car washes, paper towels, and other things as well.  

With a little creativity you can reuse some of the things you've already paid your hard earned money for and not have to buy them new again. Frugality is about making choices. Every frugal person decides what the excesses are in their lives and then they work at removing those excesses.

How many times do we buy things simply because we want them and not because we need them? What is something that you've made do with instead of spending money for?

~ Living within our Means ~


  1. I haven't had my hair cut in a salon in decades.(I do use conditioner, though--sort of a necessity with waist length hair, but the cheapest will do, and I do let my boys get their hair cut in a salon.) I don't have a smartphone. DH and I share a flip phone. We keep the heat at 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the day, 55 at night, if we use it at all. (I would even keep it cooler, especially at night.) People can wear sweaters during the day, and the beds all have down quilts. Mostly, we use the woodstove. I don't get manicures, and don't feel the need to "go out with the girls" much, if ever. We may get together to discuss choreography ideas over lunch, but that's about it. There is much more room for frugality in my life, and 2019 is going to be a year of a concerted effort. Why? Because I think it's fun.

    1. I agree, Meg. I think frugality is fun too You have a great list of things you do that are frugal. I could add the don't get manicures too. My daughter got a gel kit this summer at a yard sale for her nails and she loves it.

    2. Meg, have you tried vinegar as a conditioner?

      I also have very long hair. I keep vinegar in a spray bottle and use it as a hair conditioner. I do use store bought conditioner rarely, but vinegar works very well. I'm not sure if it depends on the type of hair, but it's worth a try. :)
      My store bought conditioner lasts a long time because I mainly use vinegar.

  2. I think frugality is a fun challenge in resourcefulness. What I tell myself on the "I'd really like to go out, or I'd really like to buy X for dinner", even though I already have something at home. . . I challenge myself to remember a situation where I splurged & wasted food, and whether I even remember it a week later? Now, the money saved is there as a tangible outcome, and I usually can't even recall the meal indulgence beyond that day. By keeping that reminder front and center, it's easier to get into the habit & stay the course.

    1. What a great comment, Hawaii Planner. That is such a great way of looking at it. I love it when the money is still there. :)

  3. I constantly tell myself I don't need things, or to reuse what I have, or to go see what is in the pantry. We definitely use that phrase around here.

  4. I am a very hard core frugal person as well as a hard worker. We have a garden and raise chickens. I get my hands dirty, it is not just my husband who is working the garden, tending to the chickens, cleaning out the coop, taking care of the yard and house. I do canning as well as freezing fruits, vegetables, make jams and bake. It can be hard work, but I find doing the garden very relaxing. The other thing that is very rewarding is the satisfaction of seeing a job well done while saving money. We don’t do salon or barbershop haircuts. I am very fortunate that my husband is very good with the clippers and shears. He gives my boys their monthly haircuts and does a great job. I have had friends and other parents at school ask where I take them because their haircuts always look so nice. What is great is that it not only saves me time and money, but my boys like the haircuts he gives them. He listens to them tell him how they want their haircuts and he does as they ask. How your hair looks is a big deal for a teenager and the fact that my son told me he doesn’t want to go to the barbershop, he wants his step Dad to cut his hair for him because he sees friends with bad haircuts from the barbershop and he doesn’t want to look like an idiot with a bad haircut. And I take a seat on the stool every couple months to get my hair that reaches to my elbows trimmed knowing I don’t have to worry about a scissor happy stylist hacking off a foot of my hair when I just want an inch off my ends to remove the splits and keep the ends neat.
    There are certain things we have bought that are expensive and we look at them as investments. With the size of our property, a tractor (used) was not a luxury as we use it to clear snow, rototill our garden, mow the field and move wood, dirt, rocks, etc. I think living rural and having friends with similar values reinforces the frugal DIY mindset. My good friend at work asked if my hubby could help her husband fix his snowblower because I told her how he had to replace the blower belt and parts on his as it would not turn the wheels. He was able to fix it pretty easy, I don’t recall exactly what it was, but he took off a cover adjusted something and then it worked. And next summer my friend is going to help me pick berries and make jams. So being a frugal DIYer can be contagious as well.

    1. Thank you for such a great comment, Keri. Sounds like your husband is very handy and that is a great asset and blessing to you. Kudos on living the frugal lifestyle so well. :)

  5. this is fantastic! I think I am going to try and host a frugal workshop too. So many basic things that people just aren't doing. Then the same people lament on how it is so hard to get by. It sure is if you are living above your means. Solid tips to live by.


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