12 Tips to Use It Up, Wear It Out and Make It Do
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12 Tips to Use It Up, Wear It Out and Make It Do

12 Tips to Use It Up, Wear It Out and Make It Do

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gaye Levy
Activist Post

During the Great Depression, frugality was considered a virtue and the phrase “Use it up, Wear it out and Make it do” was the guiding principal in most households.

Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cooki...

Jan and I made some vegan chocolate chip cookies last night. Despite the fact that the dough was a bit crumbly, they turned out great! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Times were tough, which meant that everything from bits of strings to worn-out clothing was saved and re-purposed in some other manner. Not only that, but every last bit of food from a can or bottle was swished out with a bit of water and used to flavor a soup or stew. Printed chicken feed sacks became skirts and flour sacks became underwear. Nothing was wasted.

These days, most of us are too young to have lived through the Great Depression and yet, because we know that a second Great Depression could happen at any time, we strive to learn from the old ways and to embrace the time-honored frugal ways that were a way of life for our parents and grandparents.


As much as I would like to say that money does not matter, in the here and now, money is the currency of trade. It is required to buy food, put clothes on our backs, and to pay for the shelter of our homes. Plus, the last time I checked, you also need money to pay taxes (whether you get good value from those taxes or not).

I have written often about family preparedness as a lifestyle, as well as some of the choices you can make to ensure that you and your loved ones live a good long time in good health and within a safe environment. From time to time I throw in an occasional essay or rant, too – after all, we all need to get the angst off our chests once in a while.

But back to money matters.

Today I offer up a dozen old fashioned tips for conserving your hard earned cash so that you have a little extra left over for those extra preps as well as a few lifestyle treats that we all need every once in a while.


1. If you already have it, use it

Think about it. Over the years you have accumulated lots of stuff. Some of it may be a bit shop-worn and out of style, but the stuff is still serviceable. If it still works, use it.

Don’t give in to the bombardment of ads encouraging you to go out and purchase the latest model or the next best thing. If money is burning a hole in your pocket, use it for something you truly need – not something you merely want.

2. Shop for a bargain and get it cheaper

Research all of your major purchases and some of the minor ones, too. Check out the online reviews and also the recommendations of friends so that you can be an informed consumer. Ask the clerks at the store when the item of interest will go on sale. Believe it or not, you will sometimes be offered a discount on the spot. It happens.

3. Used can be just as good as new

Sometimes it makes good sense to buy used. Furniture can be purchased for a song on Craigslist or at garage sales and heck, you can often get some pretty good stuff for free.

Another area where you can save really big bucks is on clothing. Ebay is a gold mine for name-brand clothing that is often new. Evening gowns, tuxedos, wedding wear and other dress-up items are especially cheap on eBay. On the other hand, be wary of used electronics since there is no substitute for hands-on testing prior your purchase.

4. Learn to cook

Restaurant meals can be a rat hole for cash. So is your local, specialty coffee shop. That is not to say that you should avoid eating and drinking out completely, but make those occasions a special treat rather than something you do because you are too tired or too lazy to cook.

Can’t cook? Get yourself a basic cookbook and call a friend over to help get you started. Once you start eating home-cooked food, you will be hooked on how delicious those vegetables and salads taste. Oh, and don’t forget about cakes and cookies. Homemade is always better than store bought. Remember grandma’s fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies?

5. Become a fix-it guru

Before sending that broken appliance to the garbage heap and replacing it with something new, try to fix it yourself. There are many web sites (www.fixya.com, www.instructables.com) that offer lots of how-to’s for fixing everything from your Maglite to your laser printer to your espresso machine.

In addition, you can find service manuals for many products online at the manufacturer’s web site. And, lastly, try calling the customer service number. Many times the company will guide you through troubleshooting steps or even send you free parts. I have found that this works especially well with plumbing issues.

Continue reading at Activist Post: 12 Tips to Use It Up, Wear It Out and Make It Do.

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