Cheap Trick #1: Make Do – When you run out of something, don’t replace it!
This trick may seem oversimplified, but it works.
We live in a world where we think every need we have should be met. We are deserving, entitled, and might I even say coddled? We are treated and we treat ourselves in an overindulgent way.
It’s not bad to need.
Let me say that again. It’s not bad to need!
That statement goes against everything we know to be right and good and true in this world, at least it goes against our first world frame of mind.
Make Do – Practical Living
Let me help make this vague concept a tangible reality.
How many times do you run to the store for milk or bread or eggs in one week?
If you run out of any of those items, will you die of starvation before your next regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip?
My friends, it’s very doubtful.
Your kids can eat dry cereal for two days in a row and live to tell the tale. Maybe it will even become a story as big as a legend one day – like the one our parents tell us about walking miles uphill to school in the snow with only plastic bags covering their shoes.
Let’s up the ante.
What if you run out of coffee?
Ok, ok, calm down! I won’t dare go there.
My point is that we’re conditioned to rid ourselves and our lives from need. We are programmed to fill needs the moment they happen. That’s not always a financially great idea.
Making do with what we have is a lost art.
“We’re making do.”
Nobody even says that anymore!
When was the last time you “made do” with what you have?
You may have a very real need, but needs aren’t a bad thing. It means you’re living life well and you’ve used up what you have. Delaying gratification may even give you more satisfaction when your need is fulfilled.
I didn’t learn this lesson until my husband began a new job and got paid once a month.
We had two babies and I was always accustomed to getting paid weekly. I had to adjust my entire way of thinking. I needed to either grocery shop for a month at a time or figure out a way to budget my grocery money over the course of a month. It was difficult at first. Those first few months we ran out of things. The money was used up too quickly and I resorted to scrounging around the very dark recesses of my cabinets to find ingredients for dinner. We ate Ramen noodles a few times too many, but we survived.
I learned that when I ran out of something, I could wait to replace it or not replace it at all.
This wasn’t just about grocery shopping. It was everything in life – clothes, shoes, hair products, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc.
When I had no choice, I learned to made do with what I had.
Many years later, me and my bank account are better off for learning that lesson.
Take a few minutes and think of two areas where you can make do. If you’re feeling especially brave this morning, share them in the comments and help encourage others to make do with what they have and save some money along the way.
Click Photo for More Cheap Tricks
You can go to MyRecipes.com and put in what ingredients you have in your kitchen and it will give you recipes with those ingredients! A life saver at our house!
Great post and very true! I’ve been trying to practice this during the week. We’re nearly out of food and I haven’t had time to buy groceries until this weekend. So instead of running to the store, I have been cooking with what’s in the pantry and fridge. It’s a great feeling when you actually prepare something and use up all the stuff that’s been lingering in your kitchen too. Keep up the great tips!
That is so true!!! When we were living on a really tight budget, I would empty the cabinets of most everything until we could go to the store. My cooking got a lot more interesting, but really a lot better. I experimented with a lot of different spices and combinations of food and expanded my recipe horizons! Great post!!
I try to make a game called “what delicious meal can I make with what is in my kitchen?” It’s fun actually; makes me think and cook creatively. (Mostly I just hate grocery shopping –it bigs me that nutritious food is the most expensive!)
This is a great post. We all need to turn off or throw away whatever makes us want “stuff”.
Jessie @ Dream and Differ says
Great advice! This is something I am really just beginning to focus on intentionally. It’s been gratifying to see the difference it’s made in our bank balance! Not only that, but I get a real sense of satisfaction from “making do.” Looking forward to the rest of this series!
I hear ya. We have been trying tolive this out here in Spain but that materialistic attitude is here too. Its very tough to undo. we are living without certain clothes.
Rebekah L. says
Oh, I like this very much! Bookmarking so I can remember to come back every day.
Kristen Hamilton (@KristenHami) says
Awesome! Yup, I’ve done things like use vinegar & water for cleaner; baking soda for soft scrub or toothpaste; put all-purpose cleaner concentrate in the washing machine or dish washer; used leftover napkins from birthday parties when the paper towels run out; we haven’t paid for TV in 15 years; even now, our desktop computer died six months ago and I’m using an old laptop with a cracked screen & no battery life. We make do!
If I made like my mom actually did, I would save tons of money because you just can’t do it all on the one day you woud have the car! If ony I would…have a good day!
When I ran out of shaving cream for my legs, I discovered that hand lotion does the job just fine.
The Domestic Fringe says
Oh, yes, and baby oil too. Just don’t use too much or you’ll be well greased for the rest of the day. The upside, nice smooth legs.
Cheap hair conditioner works great o replace expensive shaving cream.
Next time I come up to visit!!
Best advice ever! we can all do this, especially the kids! this being said as I picked up a cute outfit for my daughter at Walmart last night along with the bread and milk LOL. Yeah a little impulse control should be on the shopping list as well. Not ashamed, just giving you some major props for your advice!
Baby things – oh me, oh my. I think I need them all. I’m going to stretch RG’s wardrobe, see if I can’t “make do” with what she’s got (its a lot, but for some reason I think more & new & better is needed). Also – pantry eating. Lets see how long before I buy pantry items!
Rebecca Lately says
This is great! My husband and I shop this way for our nearly everything. I really don’t even like to go to the grocery store more than once a week. It forces you to think outside the box and become a better planner. Our microwave stopped working in August and we haven’t even replaced it yet, because I’ve gotten used to doing everything with just our stove/oven. It’s liberating when you’re don’t feel the need to replace everything!
The Domestic Fringe says
Rebecca, Yes! It is liberating. You don’t feel like a slave to “stuff”.
Making do with what we have on hand in the pantry – and making do without doing a load of laundry every other day. Those are the two I’m going to focus on this week. I don’t need to run the washing machine just because “somebody” insists on wearing his favorite t-shirt twice in one week. Right? 😉 So looking forward to the rest of this series!
The Domestic Fringe says
Right! Missy, yes. I think sometimes we create extra work for ourselves, at least I do. I’m good at that. This is the week for making do!
Good advice to us. Thanks for the reminder that we do not need to run to the store every time we run out of something. I have learned to stretch a meal into two, sew the hole in the back of the sock and wear it for a few more times, and add water to the dish soap container and get a few more days of washing dishes out of that empty bottle.
The Domestic Fringe says
Uh, mom. I have some socks for you fix.
Every day I wear the same skirt to work. I bought it in 1997. When it fade I use Ritz fabric dye. I have to make do because life circumstance (though better now) require I am frugal until we recover from financial constraints beyond our control.