When I was a kid, I used to love reading Pippi Longstocking books. The girl had skills! Not only was she strong but knew how to survive with just the bare minimum. Salvageable was her middle name (well, not really but it should've been). We didn't grow up anywhere close to wealthy. In fact, most of my childhood memories are based on making do. My parents were experts at getting by. My mom used to grocery shop at at least 3 different places. She would spread out the sales ads and then grab her coupons and decide which store had certain things on sale. Then, we'd tag along with her, watching her skill. She would buy a 5 pound box of Mother's cookies that were marked "broken" and our job once we got home, was to pick through the crumbs and put the "whole" cookies in a separate cookie jar. The crumbs were saved to sprinkle on ice cream. She would head over the butcher where she knew just what to ask for and how she wanted it cut. Once home, she'd divide the meat up and freeze them individually.
She baked her own bread, made granola, and cookies. She sewed all of our clothes. I remember when the rage was wearing the Holly Hobby print dresses....she made ours and we proudly went to school, thrilled to be among the girls who had Holly Hobby dresses. When our socks developed sag, she had us use rubber bands to hold them up. Those rubber bands would be so tight that I'm surprised it didn't stop our blood from circulating. She was also queen of moonlight sales, those crowded but fun parking lot sales held at night. Don't think about her going into a cloth store searching for patterns...it would be the longest shopping trip ever!
The love that I have for shopping in thrift stores and browsing yard sales and estate sales, comes from my mom. She knew bargains when she saw them and we'd frequent some of the shops until they knew us by name.
My dad was also thrifty. I remember the first time he was caught rummaging in the neighbor's trash so that he could read their newly discarded newspaper. I wanted to die from embarrassment but he took it in stride. After that, the neighbor always put the paper on our doorstep after he was finished with it. Then, the day before trash day, my dad made a habit of "trash digging". I was surprised at how many treasures he found along the way. He would go behind the stores and find items still with their tags on them. Eventually, his penchant for collecting led to him starting a ministry of donating food and clothing to those in need.
One thing I've learned from them both is how to search for bargains, look for ways to cut corners and still feel like I've accomplished quite a bit at the end of the day. When I shop, I do use coupons and when I don't, I still plan my meals for the week and mainly TRY to stick to buying things based on that menu. That also means not buying expensive cuts of meat but cooking with ground turkey and chicken most of the time.
What are some of the ways that you are making do?