I’ve known a few tough economic times, and have a generation of relatives who lived through wars and depressions.
There are definitely lessons to be learnt from them though, as I work at saving my home deposit.
Waste not, want not
Don’t feel like chicken legs for dinner? Too bad. Picking up pizza is at least $10, whereas all the ingredients for (a much healthier) roast chicken and vegetable dish are in the fridge. Deal.
Make do and mend / wear it out
Your shoes looking a bit worse for wear but still in good shape? No, you can’t go shoe shopping. (All the pretties … so many pretty shoes…) Breathe. Break out the polish, find a cobbler (so much easy now it’s trendy) and get them repaired. Shirt too far gone? Hello new cleaning rag.
Needs vs wants
These are very different things. Okay coffee is a need. It’s not even all about the caffeine. It’s taking that moment to start the work day off right, or to walk out and get sunshine, or linger on the couch with a book.
Groceries from the menu plan? Need.
Vinegar to make a cleaning spray? Need.
Expensive little tub of artisanal ice-cream. Want.
New shirt just because? Want.
New towels from the sale rack? If the linen cupboard is full, that’s a want too.
Use it up
There are no “leftovers”, there’s only tasty future meals. There’s no scrap paper, there’s a place to write a scrap of poetry.
Make it do
How often have I thought I needed a special tool/thing and after purchase, used it once? Or at best twice. I’ve been making more of an effort to have a good look around my home first. Do I need the one-use widget or do I have something that will do the job?
This one hurts. I grew up without a lot of things and I’ve realised that I’ve been compensating for that ever since my very first pay cheque hit my bank account. It’s been several months since I started my book buying ban and (thanks to my local library) I haven’t missed out. I’ve had to wait a few times for high demand new releases but patience is a virtue, right?
I haven’t needed magazines, I still have plenty of clothes in my wardrobe and shoes on the rack. Not shopping is not “doing without” in the end, because of my previous over-spending. Let’s be honest, it’s going to be a while before I even approach the concept of “doing without”, and this time from choice. I think that makes all the difference.