Making do

making doSaving money isn’t about being mean. However, it is about doing all you can to avoid unnecessary purchases. Sometimes that does mean making do and making the best of what you have.

We are so spoilt as a society we barely consider this. When some gizmo or gadget  breaks we buy a new one. We rarely stop to think about whether we could fix whatever the broken object is as our grandparents and many of our parents would have done, or whether, if it is truly past it and completely unfixable, we have something that will do instead (or even if we could manage without said gizmo altogether).

Making do on my no spend month

Because I am having a second no spend month I need to think through every single potential purchase to work out whether I can avoid it. I am making do with what I have. My preference is for pale tights over black ones but I have laddered all the pale ones. I don’t want to buy more, so I am wearing the black ones. Actually the thick black Lycra ones last so much longer I think I will give the pale ones up altogether!

I have completely run out of my usual foundation. However, I remembered I had one I bought several months ago that was a bit too pale for me. I am wearing that now and chucking on a bit more blusher!  It will do.

I have been brave and cut my own hair rather than pay for a hairdresser. It isn’t as good as a salon cut but it is fine.

The handle of my favourite old bread knife finally cracked and started to come off. I didn’t throw it away and buy another one, I got Mr S to fix it. I don’t know what he did exactly – it disappeared to his workshop for a while and came back as good as new 😄.

A friend recommended a yoga book as essential reading. I could have bought a copy but instead it is on order with the library.

A frugal lifestyle

At Shoestring Cottage we do a lot of this stuff anyway as part of a generally frugal lifestyle. We wanted a bench for the garden last year but we weren’t prepared to spend mega bucks buying one. Fortuitously, a neighbour threw one out which we transformed – you can see the story here. We also upcycled an old dresser as part of our cheap DIY kitchen make over.

I have a cupboard full of clothes. Some are quite old but I make them last with gentle cleaning and repairs where necessary. Most were secondhand but there is nothing wrong with them. I have enough of everything so I can make do for now.

It’s easy to make do and not shopping and just buying stuff for the sake of it gives me time to do other fun stuff like writing this blog. Are you a make do and mender?


10 thoughts on “Making do

  1. I do try to do this. My 2 oven proof dishes cracked so I’ve been using either a baking sheet or small terracotta dish that I had although one will eventually need to be replaced when I find one that’s good value. I also try to make clothes last. Few are 2nd hand to be honest, but some things are over 10 years old.

  2. Sure do! I think it keeps you in a very positive state of mind, purchases don’t have the guilty tag they are just necessary. I was explaining to my son that frugal does not mean going without it just means a system of evaluation. We are not poor but prefer the freedom of spending money on our terms not by societys’. That’s not to say a bit of frivolity kicks in now and then !

  3. I have 4 boys so they have always had their clothes passed down to each other – many of which were second hand to begin with! Even now they’re 15-23 the youngest still gets his brother’s cast off T-shirts, poor thing. I just sew up the holes and worn bits and he doesn’t care!
    He gets first pick of the jeans now though, as he’s grown to be the tallest of them all! 😀

    I remember the older 3 had matching team anoraks when they were very young, with many nylon panels stitched together in the team colours. The seams were always coming apart and I was always sewing them back together again! They still lasted a good 10 years until the youngest finally grew out of the last one – and were still in good enough condition to donate to charity!!

  4. I have actually discovered it is like a hobby to see how I can live frugally when others overspend. My home looks every bit as nice as theirs and it is not all matchy matchy and boring. I love the country primitive look so have lots of vintage items bought for next to nothing. I get compliments on my clothes all the time, and they majorly come from Salvation Army. Our store is a good one!

  5. I love this post. Make do and mend is simply not a part of many people’s vocabulary today. I love my daughter-in-law to bits but she is a real ‘thrower outer’. So often I think – that could have been saved/reused/remodeled.
    My grandfather was an electrician and I remember the lean-to at their house was always full of irons, lamps and other small electrical appliances that people had brought him to mend. Trying to get anything like this repaired today is impossible – obsolescence is built in.

    I often remodel clothing. I have recently made two mid-calf length skirts straighter and shorter (don’t image them as micro-minis!). A couple of straight seams and a hem – done! I like a skirt now and then but I wouldn’t get a great deal of wear out of a new one so why spend the money? I think I am one of the few people who mend a small hole in tights. Given that I more often than not wear trousers, the mend doesn’t show so it seems crazy to just throw them away. You’re right – making do and mending is very satisfying.

  6. We are great ‘menders’ here, or rather husband is! He repairs all kinds of things – I can’t remember anything offhand, but it’s what our generation and our parents’ generation (and even further back) always did. But sadly things these days are manufactured not to be repaired. But most thing come in parts, and if they have been put together – so says engineer husband – then they can be taken apart and repaired. It’s just that it’s too costly to employ people to do this.
    As for clothing, a few years ago I went three whole years without buying anything as I just didn’t like the fashions in the shops and wasn’t prepared to spend money on things I did not like. Now I’m still careful about what I buy (apart from the appalling waste of money on three dresses for our son’s wedding, ending up third time lucky with the perfect dress for me – but the charity shop will benefit with the first one). I have two Country Casual long jersey knit coats which are more than 25 years old and still look good worn with jeans and boots (I dispensed with their matching dresses, but loved the cardigan-style ankle length coats). And I have some handbags which are positively vintage now! It’s not miserly to be like this, it’s just plain sensible.
    Margaret P
    PS A big outlay was required today, though, as my computer died last week and a new one had to be purchased as repairing the old one was going to be costly and it was still a very old machine.

      • I felt lost without my computer – how pathetic is that! And I’ve bought a new compact camera, it arrived today. My old one had a bit missing, the flap which holds in the battery and SIM card and they kept dropping out and I have almost lost them on a number of occasions. Time to invest in a new small camera (although I have two Nikon SLRs! But they are soooo heavy!) and now I will see if I can take some good shots with the new little chap and get them onto my blog.

  7. I love trying to make things last just that bit longer. My best black trousers split right across the seat, exposing my knickers. Aarrgghh! My initial thought was that they would have to be replaced, but then I realised that if I mended the split, it wouldn’t show under my favourite long tunic tops. I love wearing those trousers now – I’ve got a secret & nobody can tell!

Comments are closed.