What is your idea of “quality of life”? According to the Oxford Dictionary it is: the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. Quality of life does not depend on the things you can afford to buy. How many people have you heard about that are rich and yet, are still unhappy? Do you know any Great-Depression-era grandparents or parents who talk about that being the best time of their lives? I interviewed my Mother who always talked about how difficult her childhood was and yet, all the fun she had. As a result of those interviews, I spent a significant amount of time researching the differences between four Generations.
Those of us in the United States have experienced three major recessions since World War II. They were in 1973, 1981, and the most recent was December 2007, which officially ended on June 2009. Those of us who were raised by parents who were raised during the Great Depression grew up knowing primarily significant money-saving techniques.
In today’s world, using some of that old-fashioned realization can help maintain quality of life. The great thing with today’s world is that we have the best of both worlds. We have technology that our parents did not have and we have the creative techniques that our grandparents and parents used. Today, it is really easy to find and compare sales by using apps, SmartPhones, and computers. The only ways our parents could compare sales were via newspaper ads and physically going to different stores. Today, you can apply for jobs via the Internet. Our parents used want ads in the local newspapers and then physically went to locations of potential job opportunities. And, they could only do that during regular business hours. Using today’s technology, you can apply for a job any time, 24 hours/day.
I was raised by the phrase: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. We recycled and reused things as a way to save money and make things last longer and go farther. People were creative and resourceful out of necessity back then. Many Great-Depression-era people always talk about how happy they were. Americans have become spoiled, so it is difficult for us to understand how people could possibly be happy during the Great Depression.
My goal with this series of articles is to provide techniques to re-institute practices that our grandparents used. My parents were slightly more lenient; however, we were still very frugally raised. The reasons for being thrifty, reusing, and recycling today are different from back then. Being thrifty back then was out of necessity. Today, we reuse and recycle for environmental concerns. Whatever your reason, you will still be able to reap many benefits for being thrifty. This is one case where the Ends Justifies the Means has a positive spin and is not morally wrong!
Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Do Without
To a large extent, I still live by Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without. I do not live to the extreme that my grandparents and parents did. However, the entire concept is the reason that I started my website: Sort~N~Save.
Use It Up: I still turn bottles of salad dressing, mustard, ketchup, etc. upside down in the fridge so I can get as much as possible out of those containers. I still repurpose old clothes: my flannel nightgowns, worn out dish towels, etc. become rags to be used for all sorts of tasks.
Wear It Out: I still mend clothing that have tears in the seam or lose buttons. I refinish furniture that has worn out or show lots of signs of wear & tear. When the ends of towels become frayed, I sew wide ribbon over those frayed ends and have “new” towels.
Make it Do: Years ago, when something broke, I gave it to my son to try and fix rather than just trashing it. I could not afford to have it professionally fixed. My thinking was since I could not use the item anyway, nor could I afford to pay to have it fixed, I had nothing to lose. I quickly learned that he was always able to open those “child-proof” medicine caps because he looked at things differently from the way I did. About half the time, he was able to get appliances back into working order! Today, this is much easier because of the Internet. There are great websites such as WikiHow, YouTube, eHow that all show you how to do just about anything. You only need to search for “How to xxxxxxx” and fill in the x’s with what you want to learn or fix. Back Door Survival lists another tactic: find service manuals for many products on line at the manufacturer’s web site.
There is so much great information about post-Great Depression era benefits that I decided to write several articles on this topic. I will provide tips and tricks learned from those crafty individuals that you can use to increase your quality of life.
- Traditionalist Generation
- 10-Step Supermarket Combination Technique
- Easy Trick to Keep Mildew Off Shower Walls
- Corral Plastic Utensils
- How to Save Time and Money with a Clothespin