The Lost Art of Making Do
These days, anything we need (or think we need), is only a few taps of an app away. It’s certainly convenient, but that convenience comes with a price in the form of overspending and impulse buying. It might be hard to remember, but in the days before online shopping and instant everything, we took more time pondering our purchases and often discovered that something we thought we needed was really just something we wanted. In other words, we learned to make do or do without. Here are several ideas to help revive the lost art of making do:
Mending Clothing — With the rise of “fast fashion” and the accessibility of clothing in every price range, it’s all too easy to wear something a few times and then donate or discard it for the next trendy look. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when people had far smaller wardrobes and took much better care of them. Items didn’t get tossed just because they developed a hole or tear – they got fixed instead. You don’t even need a sewing machine. A small hand sewing needle and some thread are all you need to repair a torn seam, replace a button or sew up a small hole.
Cooking with What You Have— The answer to the age-old question of “What’s for dinner,” used to be based on what you had in the pantry, fridge, or freezer at any given time, rather than which take-out places boast the fastest delivery times. Getting back in the habit of cooking your meals at home will not only save you money, you’ll likely make healthier choices. Maintaining a well-stocked pantry makes it easier and more fun to cook at home, because you’ll always have most of what you need already in the house. (Bonus points if you intentionally cook enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day).
Repurposing Household Items — Could your living space use a little sprucing up? There’s no need to run up your credit card on a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Instead, change up what you already have. Rearrange furniture into different groupings, use blankets or throws to give chairs and sofas a new look, and change how and where wall art or knick-knacks are positioned. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can even paint or refinish wooden furniture to give it a whole new look.
Focusing on Function — It used to be that shopping for big ticket items, such as appliances, meant choosing from a limited number of items. Now, the choices are almost limitless. And while more choices can be a good thing, it can also lead to spending more than you need to get the job done. Instead of going for all the cool new (and expensive) features, skip the bells and whistles and focus on what you need the item to accomplish. You’ll not only save money, but there will be fewer moving parts that will eventually need to be repaired or replaced.
Borrowing or Trading — If you need a special tool, piece of equipment, or other seldom-used item, check with friends and family to see if they have it and are willing to loan it to you before you purchase it yourself. It’s a great way to save and get what you need, and you might be doing them a favor by temporarily (or permanently) taking it off their hands.