Being the frugal minded soul which I know you are, I am sure you have heard this depression era slogan before, “Use it up: wear it out: make it do: and do without.” Well I have The Frugal Catholic 2017 take on this popular saying which is–Make it do, do without, use it up and wear it out because “making it do” is where this slogan should begin, especially in our over consumptive 2017 era. So for the first part of our four-part series over the next few months, we are going to look at each segment carefully, and if you apply them, green is going to grow in your wallet.
” The Make It Do Budget”
When I was in Huntington High School in the 1960’s, women didn’t have sports so you gravitated to school clubs for activity. Being a dramatic sort, the Drama Club fit the bill, and for lack of female actors, I was cast in a lot of leads. My favorite was a Christmas story by O. Henry entitled “The Gift of the Magi” where Della and her young husband, Jim, sacrificed their most precious possessions to give each other desired Christmas gifts: She sold her very long hair to purchase him a gold watch chain, and he sold his gold family watch to purchase beautiful combs for her very long hair. You can see the problem, right? The story opens with Della lamenting that with all of her saving and scrimping for a whole year all she had towards her gift for Jim (before selling her hair) was one dollar and eighty-seven cents.
That is what our budget felt like entering the month of August–a budget which was to include food, fashion and fun. August 2017 looked exceptionally bleak until my husband and I put our heads together and began to focus on “THE MAKE IT DO BUDGET.”
Although I know the following verse doesn’t really apply to what you have in your pantry, I think it holds a lot of value; for it tells us a real source of “making it do” which is take a look at what you have, NOW. It states in Revelation 3:2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. (RSVCE) Yes, that concept of strengthening the things that remain is where you need to start. Here is how. Pull out all the food in your pantry, refrigerator, and shelves in the garage or basement. Clean the refrigerator, throw away expired goods (I recently gave food poisoning to my lovely daughter-in-law by serving her a rancid taco shell), and release what’s not working–i.e. that jar of jam from Aunt Estel which is not your favorite flavor. If you can give anything away to your local food pantry, do so. That alone makes one feel better.
Once you have everything pulled out like cans and cleaning goods, clean off your food-locker shelves (even if it is only one shelf), and start putting back in what you want to keep in an orderly fashion. As I was doing this, several key actions came to mind. The first key was to put what I use most commonly at eye level, just like they do in the grocery stores. We had a lot of old cans in the garage pantry, and I decided everything cook-able needed to be inside. That, in itself, made a huge difference in our food supply. I grouped items better, and with this rearrangement, I immediately felt like I had more because I could SEE what I owned which brought down the panic level. Michael and I then sat down with some of our favorite cookbooks and pulled together our monthly menu using goods we had. That felt good because instead of running to the grocery store to purchase what we couldn’t afford, we “made it do.”
Rationing, or “apportioning or distributing by some method” is a concept when financial times are hard. You have X amount of goods, so you limit yourself to a certain amount each day. When you run out of olive oil, you use that old jar of coconut oil, sparingly. I realized we were going to have to ration what we could consume and I was also going to have to get creative with what we had on hand versus heading to the grocery store. So out came my faithful old bread machine, and I “reinvented” it. Instead of purchasing bread, I used a recipe I found, put the machine on dough cycle, and turned one loaf into two. The success of this rationing was amazing, for cutting that one loaf in half made a tastier treat. And instead of snacks of chips, moist home-made bread was used with peanut butter. Rationing not only proved to be an overall improvement, but it really kept me out of the grocery store.
Now just so you don’t think I am dealing with food alone when it comes to budgeting, these same principles–RELEASE, REARRANGE, and RATION– can be applied to fashion and fun too. When thinking of fashion, let go of any clothes that are “ho-hum.” If you can’t decide which ones those are, try them on for an objective family member. And for fun, make your home so magical with ideas from The Frugal Catholic: “The Hidden Value of Making Magic in Your Home” by Martha Wild King, M.Ed.–June 2017, that you will want to stay home. Magic is a big money saver when you don’t have big money.
So there you have it, “The Make It Do Budget.” Yes we have made it through the month and are even keeping some of the tricks we have learned like making home-made bread again–frugal tricks which very much helped save money in the past and had been neglected. So if you only have limited funds this next month or next, give “releasing,” “rearranging,” and “rationing” a try. And don’t forget to work together with your significant other in full communication. Heck, even if you don’t have a lean food, fashion, and fun budget, try it any way a save some big bucks.
THE Make It Do Bread Recipe
This can be made with our without a bread machine, but if you have one pull it out, dust it off, and try it. If you don’t have a bread machine, simply combine ingredients in the below order, knead it, let it rise, and follow the below instructions.***.
combine and put into the bread machine pan—1 and 1/2 cups milk, 2 tablespoons of soft or melted butter, 1/2 cup honey
combine 4 cups of white flour (or use 2 cups of white flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour) with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of flax sees, and put into the bread machine pan over the wet ingredients
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of yeast on the top of the dry ingredients
Use the dough cycle on your machine which will take about 1 and 1/2 hours for the first rising. *** Then take the dough out of the machine and divide it in half and put into two greased bread pans for however long you want it to rise, and make sure you cover it with a dish towel. (I usually give it about one to two hours depending on the weather outside.) Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. Let cool and remove it from the loaf pan. Freezes very well and fits nicely into a Ziploc bag.