Frugal Endeavors – Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

January 16 to 31, 2019

A common phrase during the Great Depression was “Use it up, make it do, wear it out, or do without.” These principles are as useful today as they were during the 1930s. These last couple of weeks, I used all three of these principles to save our pennies.

Use it up

In keeping with my goal of eating down the deep freeze, I declared one night to be “Appie Night.” We cooked up all the bits and pieces from the fridge, freezer, and cupboards. This included a small package of chicken wings, a few egg rolls, some mini frozen tacos, some almost stale crackers, a little bit of fancy cheese, and a few carrots served with dip. We feasted while watching The Return of the Jedi, which we had recorded earlier when it was aired as part of a Star Wars marathon on tv.

Make it do

While setting out my clothes for work one night, I noticed that one of the shirts I bought at the thrift store when we went to the Really Big City was stained with bright yellow dried on paint. I don’t know how I missed it as I check over any used clothing I am interested in pretty carefully. Fortunately, I was able to remove the old paint using a scrub brush and rubbing alcohol.

No more bright yellow paint on my cozy flannel shirt

At my side gig, I have to wear a hard hat. My long, baby fine hair keeps getting tangled up in the “suspension system” in the top of my hat. A little research revealed that many people with long hair wear who must also wear hard hats rely on something called a “Buff.” A little more research revealed that I could make myself one from an old tshirt. And so I did.

I used the back of my son’s old boy scout tshirt for this project. In total, it took me probably about 15 minutes to make my self a Buff and that include the time it took me to change the needle in my machine and search for the right colour of thread. I am happy with how it turned out. So far I have only tried out the “Legionnaire” style but I found it did the trick. My hair did not get tangled, it kept the sweat out of my eyes, it will wash like a dream, and I was able to reduce the waste I produce. Win-win.

My Buff worn as a beanie and in the Legionnaire.
How to wear a Buff

My regular job in the bakery requires me to be on my feet on a hard concrete floor. This means that I need to wear shoes that keep my feet happy. In my closet I had a pair of old wooden clogs that are make my feet so happy I want to spend my shift dancing. The only problem is that they were an ugly shade of orange and speckled with old paint (yes, more paint).

I borrowed a bottle of black leather dye from my mom. The Man scrubbed the paint off my clogs and set to work.

I forgot to take a “Before” picture but you can see original ugly orange colour in this picture.

They turned out better than expected!

Happy Feet!

Wear it out and Do without

Unlike many in North America, we have escaped the bone chilling cold battering the Eastern side on the continent. In fact, it has been warm enough that some days we play “chicken” with the heat. We will let the fire go out at night and some times we can make it until late afternoon before we get cold enough to relight it. I make myself a cocoon on the couch with a couple of quilts and a rice bag. This is the prefect place to catch up on my mending and hand sewing. This week I put the finishing touches on several projects and I mended a couple of sweaters that we can now wear until they are completely worn out. This means we saved money on heating and clothing.

I tried my hand at visible mending on a work sweater.

What did you use up, wear out, make do or do without this week?


  1. Great find! I asked at the local trade school about possible manicure … they don’t do those, but offered free haircut, shampoo, style, etc. I did say yes, and had a wonderful shampoo, scalp massage and brush out style, (all free, supervised, although I did tip well). I will go again!! such fun.
    today is pea soup day in the crockpot, it is snowing here on the Island so tonight is pea soup w. home made bread night. love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do this as well for my haircuts, go to the college training salon. I only need one length for my cut so it isn’t too hard to do. So a trainee washed cut and blowdried my hair for £7.50. Bless her it took ages but you have to just factor that in as they are learning, after all. So I brought a book and read that while they were working. And the manager always checks the hair and that you’re pleased with it before you leave. What a bargain ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done for being so frugal. We regularly have dinners like yours to use up leftovers in the fridge, Husband loves them as it’s always tasty and a bit of everything. XD

    I’ve used something up in a sense. I have to wear smart things for work so often tights, but what to do with tights that are just unsightly and full of holes in the wrong places? I now cut them up into small pieces and use them in place of cotton to wipe the nailpolish off with nailpolish remover. I also know people use them to stuff things they make like draught excluders.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so enjoyed reading your frugal ways…… is always encouraging to see other people living a similar life!
    I cut up an old sheet and tshirts that were in too poor of condition to donate into rags to use instead of paper towels. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks simplywendi. I also enjoy reading about how other people save money in their day to day lives. I either learn something new or get inspired. I also cut up tshirts and linens in poor condition for rags. Thanks for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My super-easy version of a buff is just to take the sleeve from one of DH’s old short sleeve t-shirts. The body gets cut up for rags, but the sleeves are the right size to use as an oversized headband without the need for any sewing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply. I love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.