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Attributed to the Amish people, we can all benefit from this quote

Attributed to the Amish people, we can all benefit from this quote

Twee as it might sound, I’ve always really appreciated this rhyme. It really is quite like something our nannas would have said, isn’t it? But when you think about it, it really does help to think about everything we use or consume or spend money on in terms of how far we can make it go.

Use it up

The endy bits of the toothpaste, the last dregs of the tomato sauce, the droopy half-bunch of celery. Do you use them, or do you throw them out? How about bread crusts? I have a legendary collection of bread crusts in the freezer, and from time to time I make bread pudding (we’re adults, you see, so we’re allowed to eat bread pudding for dinner if we want!). Dehydrating or sundrying sad bits of veggies means you’ve got them on hand to toss into a last-minute stew or soup when you’re caught short. There are all sorts of ways to minimise waste – think outside the square!

Wear it out

A couple of weeks ago, I spent an hour mending socks. In that time, I sewed up little annoying holes in the toes of ten work socks. One hour. Each one of those pairs of socks costs in the region of $15, and I tell you what, that hour is an hour well spent to me if it means not spending $75 on new socks! They’re not worn out yet!

Make it do

The cat, bless her soul, is not on board with this whole ethos. Years ago she decided that her litter box was just Not Good Enough, and acted out until I bought her another one. Rather than throwing the old one out, though, I let it sit in the sun for a couple of weeks to really irradiate it and get rid of any nasties, then put it to work as a repotting trough and seed raising tray.

Or do without

As creatures of the social media age, we are bombarded during all our waking moments by subliminal messages shaming and terrorising us into buying ever more stuff. We’re preyed upon by the advertising industry and their clients and kept in a state of twanging self-doubt – the cure for which, we are subtly convinced, is consumption. They push the definition of “need” to breaking point until no one is satisfied unless their wardrobe is filled with near-new garments, their cars are the latest model, and their houses redecorated wholesale on a yearly (or even seasonal!) basis.

And speaking of seasonality – the rampaging juggernaut that is the Hallmark Holiday phenomenon is a crucial tool in the war on our psyches, always making sure there’s another “high day” coming up for which we must scramble to prepare our homes, pantries, wardrobes and party schedule.

Bandwagoneering.

Why do we need so much stuff? Of course, we don’t! The moment you realise that, you begin to feel a thrill of liberation and it’s in that moment that once again you seize control of your life and your finances.

What are your definitions of “need”? Do you “need” a new tube of mascara when the old one runs out? What about when it dries out? What do you consider a “luxury” item, and how often would you buy that item?

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