Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! That's a wise old adage that many of our grandparents or great-grandparents learned as children. However, through the years as convenience foods became more available, homemaking skills decreased, and moms joined the work force it seems that many of us today have no idea how to live or even want to live by this adage.
It is so easy to hop in the car for a fast food dinner, ask hubby to stop by Walmart on his way home from work for that single ingredient we left off our shopping list earlier in the week, or make a quick run to pick up a few necessary items for a project that if we had planned more carefully, could have been picked up when we were out for other reasons.
With gas prices inching up even as I type and the cost of groceries and other products going up right with the gasoline, it is even more important for my family to make wise decisions concerning where our money goes. I thought I would share some of our ideas on saving money and energy today.
USE IT UP! I am working hard to be more creative in using up our leftovers. Through the years I have saved bits of meat and vegetables to make homemade soups, but now I am saving even more and freezing them. When the container is full I then make a big pot of soup. I did this last week and made so much that I was able to share a large amount with a family who just celebrated the birth of their newest member and froze some for my married daughter to take home with her. We also had 2 meals off of this soup made with ingredients that many folks would have thrown out!
I have shared before about how I cook chickens: I bake two whole chickens at a time and freeze one for another day. That saves much time and energy, but after we have cut the meat from the chicken I then use the carcass to make a rich flavorful broth. I put the carcass in a big pot and cover it with filtered water. Add a splash or two of organic apple cider vinegar, garlic cloves, a couple of carrots, a quartered onion and some salt and pepper and I can create some fabulous recipes using this broth as a base. I also use chicken breasts in the same way after we cut the meat from the bone for chicken strips or whatever we are cooking. I used to freeze this broth, but am now canning it which makes it even easier and quicker to use.
One roast can become several meals as I divide it in half after cooking. I serve one portion and freeze the other with the juices for another meal. This week we had a smaller roast and we used the leftovers to make wonderful hot open-faced roast beef sandwiches.
WEAR IT OUT! Hand-me-down clothing has always been a budget saver for my large family. Most of my younger boys wardrobes consist of hand-me-downs---even those from their oldest brother who is 12+ years older! I have purchased a handful of clearance rack items each year to give them a few fresh pieces to have as well.
Jackson has grown so much recently that he was ready for a larger bike. Did we go out and buy one? No, just headed out to the barn where there was a bike in just the size he needed. Jackson's outgrown bike will be just right for Caedmon in the next year or two. We'll just need to add a new tire and put the training wheels back on.
Toys and school items? Yes, my little man and the grandchildren play with toys and puzzles that my oldest daughter played with over 25 years ago! And they are not worn out yet! I also have many manipulatives and handmade educational games that I made for my oldest daughter 23 years ago. In fact, we even have some shaped crayons in our crayon bucket that she received as gifts when she was two years old! She is now 27! We also try to use as much of our curriculum as possible with all the children. There are workbooks that we have that are reproducible that I have been using for over 20 years.
MAKE DO! Learn how to substitute ingredients in the kitchen. If you don't have one particular ingredient for a meal use another one that will work just as well or be creative and come up with your own recipe.
We have been making the raised beds for our garden from wood recycled from a deck that the boys dismantled two years ago. When only small pieces were left, Jordan began making planters. We used logs from our woods to make another needed bed or two as well.
If I have curriculum that is not fitting the learning style of one particular child, I find ways to tweak it to fit by adding in simple hands-on activities, changing the location of our lessons, or finding free materials from the internet.
Instead of buying mixes and instant foods, make your own!! Grow and preserve as much of our own food as you can.
DO WITHOUT! I think this will probably be the hardest thing to do! We are taught that we deserve anything we want and only the best. But really, we need to practice self-discipline and realize that there are many things that we can simply do without! Do we really need a new pair of shoes or a new outfit for Easter this year? Won't the same outfit we wore last year do and will anyone really notice or even care? Is that junk food or soda really necessary? Can we drink water for more of our meals instead of tea? Can we stay at home and play a game instead of using gas to head to the park? There are so many things that we can simply do without that will not really be sacrificing all that much and will probably be much better for us. We are trying to do without running the air conditioner more often. We are hanging out the laundry....hanging our clothing out on the clothesline does take more time, but it gets me outside and saves much money as we aren't using the dryer as much. Turning out lights when they are not really needed. Keeping electronics turned off and unplugged when not in use can also save money.
Stay at home more often when it is not necessary to travel. Create a day or afternoon for all of your shopping, music lessons, and library trips. It may make your day a little longer, but you will save money and time in the long run.
There are so many ways that we can use it up, wear it out, make do or do without. What are some changes that your family is making as we face these more challenging economic times? Maybe this is the way your family has chosen to live regardless of the world's economic situation. I would love to get some new money saving ideas from you!
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