Sometimes we assume that everyone has experienced the same things we have. Some may; some may have not. I wonder how many of you out there have had to make do. I would love to hear your stories. When you are in the middle of tough times, it's not too fun; it can even be stressful. But later on, when you look back on it, it might not have been as bad as you thought it was. And usually, we can say it was good for us and only made us a stronger and better person.
I've learned a lot by making do. Learned a lot about myself. Some good; some not so good.
...I don't like to have to make do. I feel like it's not fair.
...that I can stick rigidly to a grocery list.
...I can personally do a whole lot of things I originally thought I couldn't or I thought was someone else's responsibility.
...that at some period during the tough time, I will whine about my situation. (hate this about me)
...that no matter how low the pantry/frig is, I can always come up with one more meal.
...that we can get by on way less than I thought we could.
...that contrary to popular belief, it is possible to raise a family of 6 on a single income.
...that the Dave Ramsey way of budgeting works very well for us.
...that a simple life without lots of "stuff" is very comforting and freeing.
...to estimate my total at the checkout like a pro. :)
...the way to keep cruddy linoleum and carpet looking better than it really is, is to keep it very clean.
...how to take care of clothes and make them last longer.
...that if necessary, I can use my skills and strengths to make some money.
...that when I don't have a dollar to spare, I'm not as likely to give. (don't like this either)
...how to trick myself into thinking I have new furniture.
...that hand-me-downs are a wonderful thing.
...that I don't care what my car is as long as it works well.
...how to get out of debt and stay there on a very modest income.
...that at some point in a tough spot, I will knuckle down and embrace it as a challenge.
...that the best way to not spend money is to not go to town.
...that the old worn out sheets feel the best anyway.
...that paper towels truly are a luxury.
...that there is always someone else worse off than me.
I find myself doing things I used to laugh or roll my eyes at about my parents. Things like:
...reusing Ziploc bags.
...saving the feta cheese container from Sam's. (because it's strong and reusable!)
...getting 2, 3, or sometimes 4 meals out of one.
...limiting everyone to two pieces of bacon.
...driving past a gravel or mulch pile and sighing with covetousness.
...saving semi-used sheets of foil.
Sorry Mom and Dad. Yes, I'm eating crow. You guys were amazing.
I've also learned that there are a lot of things I took for granted when I was growing up. Things like:
...always having meat. I never bought meat until after we were married; in fact, I didn't know how. To this day, Tim is still the best meat buyer. We raised our own beef, pork, and chicken. So whenever it was time to plan the next meal, you just opened up the big chest freezer and it was like having the entire meat department at your disposal! Nothing like Circle R beef!
...always having a (massive) garden. Yeah, the one we complained about having to work in. But that thing gave us most of our produce for the year!
...nuts. I love nuts! And they are so expensive! Pecans are my favorite. I never even knew that they were an expensive item, because we always had our own pecans from our trees or from someone in the area. Year round, you could open the freezer and there would be bags of pecans already picked out of the shell and ready to go into a recipe. Mmmmm. Now..., well suffice it to say that buying pecans is a HUGE luxury. And the ones you can get out here in the store - so second rate. I like to stock up when we go to OK, but that only works if we are out there in the late fall/early winter. You can't beat a good, fresh, golden pecan.
All in all, I write this to encourage myself and others that there is nothing wrong with making do. It may not be ideal; it may not be what you want. But it CAN be done.
Look at it as a challenge. Something you can tell your kids or grandkids about someday. After all, the way my parents had to make do is nothing like the way I've had to. They had it way worse. So keep it in perspective.
If you have to make do; do it well.