The Frugal Catholic: “Who’s in Your Gold Bucket?” by Oryssia Earhart, guest writer–September 2018

Dear Readers,

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a convenient place to deposit prayer requests?   Well, after much  research, I’ve  found that prayer depository, and it’s  called Your Gold Bucket, Golden Box,  or  whatever you wish to call it.  The best part, however, is  it’s free, requires no space, and is only visible to God.   This idea comes from my friend Oryssia Earhart, who is a fiction writer and substitute teacher in the Archdiocese of Seattle.  Oryssia, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with her  Masters degree in Theology from Augustine Institute,  shared this valuable concept; and  I believe you will find her idea complete and easy to use.





1. How did you come up with the mental image of a golden bucket holding your prayers? 

Answer: I was having problems trying to remember all the names people gave me to pray for others, themselves, etc.   My poor mind couldn’t hold it all in.      Then I was watching TV and someone was talking about things to put into your bucket list to do before you die.   Suddenly,  it hit me— I don’t need that kind of bucket list.  Instead, I needed a mental gold bucket for prayers.  So I asked God to please remember everyone who had asked me to pray for them, plus the holy souls in purgatory who need our prayers, and to put their names into that container.   Now every time someone asks me to pray for them, I mentally write their name on a beautiful piece of paper and watch it float into the bucket.   Every day, when I say the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet,  I ask God to apply both to everyone in my Gold Bucket.    And in this way, when someone asks me to pray for them, I mentally put them into my bucket, and they’re good for a rosary and chaplet.   Now my poor brain is happy!

 2. Do you know if any of your prayers have been answered?

Answer: I don’t know and I don’t ask.   I leave that to God.   My job, as I see it, is to continue to pray– to be faithful to all who are in the bucket.   Even if a prayer has been answered, there will probably be more problems that the person has to deal with and will need more prayers.  You know what’s interesting?   The bucket, holding all those souls, including those in purgatory, has never gotten filled.   Amazing.

3.  Greatest advantage?

Answer: I let God do the remembering.   All I do is add another name. He knows who’s in the bucket, and he knows that my prayers are for all of them.   Incredible freedom.

4. Advice?

Answer: Use my idea, or come up with your own.   Maybe others who have better memories than I don’t need a Gold Bucket for prayers, but I’ve found that I don’t stress anymore if I forget to pray for someone.   I let God take care of a lot in my life,  and  I know He’ll give me the strength and  ideas on how to fix my challenges.  It is a relief to put my whole life and trust  into His hands and not let little things bother me.   I love doing God’s will instead of mine.

One thing I learned in my graduate program, from Augustine Institute,  is that we come from God, and we have to get back to Him if we are to have perfect happiness.  God gave us lots of tools to help us return–the Church, Sacred Scripture, the Sacraments, and prayer.  The Father wants us to live our lives with Christ’s love and joy and do  The Father’s Will.

I love and live by Mother Teresa’s precept:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered,
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.”

A final though which I find  to be very important is  “to learn how to get closer to God.” The best way I’ve found to draw nearer  is to do a  Holy Hour of Adoration every week.   Jesus doesn’t ask much of us, but He wants to give us His divine life.   Still we have to learn how to be friends with Him,  love Him, and express that love.   So spending time with Him for one hour a week in Adoration is not asking too much, is it?   Wouldn’t you do that for someone you loved?   I want to go to Heaven for that is my real home.   And right now, I am trying to do whatever I can to get there  because I want to be with God.  Nothing else matters.


The Frugal Catholic: “What’s Your New Straight?”–by Martha Wild King, M.Ed.–July 2018

Some folks are born straight:  others are crooked to the core.  I am one of the latter.  Case in point.  When I was young, I asked God for curves;  I just didn’t specify where.  He gave me lovely curves at age 18– in my spine from Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS).  The moral to the story is to PRAY SPECIFICALLY, whether you’re straight  or not.  Well I am straighter now, (two and one-half inches taller)  and without pain because of complex spine surgery in Seattle  this April  by  Rajiv Sethi, MD and Jean-Christophe Leveque, MD at Virginia Mason.   In my 70 years, this has been my greatest physical test,  yet my most tender time of growth with my heavenly Father.  Life throws us curves, but God is always beside us  to make our paths straight.

So what “CURVES” are you struggling with —weight loss,  exercise, a new baby, a new move, a new job. . .  ?    We have an Elder Brother who knows firsthand how hard life is, and He imparts  the strength for that straight.  As it says in Matthew 3:3, “This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”  By hanging on to Jesus in all of our challenges, we can form better pathways.

An example of a 60 degree curve which mine was.

                                           What’s Your Curve?

None of us are without challenges; we are all carrying around some curve.   Christ, however, came to set us on a straight path to holiness– His joy. Nehemiah 8:10“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  And His joy is forged from forgiveness–of ourselves and others.     (“Father,  forgive them for they know not what they do”–as Christ said on the Cross.)  Correcting a CURVE is something like finding that joy through forgiveness.  It is hard work, it can be painful, and it feels  like it might do you under.  But, if you let it, that curve can be straightened out.  And the process could  help you become “the best version of yourself” as Catholic author and speaker Matthew Kelly says.  The interesting part is that with each new straight we acquire, God needs to rewire us.

A 50 percent curve corrected to 10 percent. Notice hardware now screwed into the spine.

                                                    God’s Rewiring

If our paths are crooked then God must reboot.  For me it meant learning to stand  and walk again without listing to the left, the direction my body remembered.   Fortunately I don’t have to think about it because  those 25 screws and three rods down my spine have  begun to rewire my brain.  My mind has also learned   that my spine isn’t  where it was; it has been reconfigured into a more normal shape and I am no longer feeling deformed or pain like  I did for 50 years.  It has taken three months  of work (like learning to walk again 🙂  but  each day, God has been lovingly reprogramming my mind.

                                           My Student’s New Straight

One of my former students, Mike,  shared his desire for a new straight by losing weight.  He stated, “It would help me not to cheat in little ways if I imagined a steel trap on my mouth that is locked shut and only unlocks at meal time in the presence of small portions of healthy food.”  That is a great “new straight” visualization  tool which God can employ.    Remember, my brain kept wanting to lean to my left,  but my new straight won’t allow me : I am locked in  with permanent screws, bolts, and rods.  So find a visual image or some kind of a mental tool  which can help you focus on  your desires.

                               My Homeless Friend’s New Straight

My  friend, Elizabeth,  has been living out of her truck for months, yet she too is learning a new straight.   She didn’t set out to be homeless.  She lost her job and has been using community and  faith resources to keep alive. Today she knocked on my front door with good news, “I got a job mowing the golf course.  Part time 20 hours a week for $13 an hour.”  As a former architect, that job is below her goals, but it is work.  Today in morning Mass she cried to  God to show her His love.  He gave her a job:  Her new straight.

What has she learned from this journey?  She has learned gratitude, lack of envy, and to trust in God no matter what huge new straights He has shaped.

                                                          The Big Plow

Sometimes when we are plowing through life, we aren’t paying attention.  When God gave me children, He imparted a desire to teach them all at home;  so I  home-schooled all five of them for a total of twenty-two years.  In that journey to educate my offspring, I came across a wonderful scripture that kept me going.  It states,  Luke 9:62  Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”   Know why?  Well if you had a plow and an ox  in front of you and turned  to  gaze  at your work accomplished, what would the plowed rows ahead  look like?  That’s right.  BIG CURVES.  Yes, if I had lusted for an easier way than to home school, my eyes would have been on my goal, not God’s goal for me.    So no matter what STRAIGHT you might desire or need,  take His hand on this marvelous journey,  keep your eyes on His plow,  and have faith in His plan for His love will get you through.


The Frugal Catholic: “Wild Thoughts for April” by Martha Wild King M.Ed.–April 2018

Wild Thoughts #1

You will spend 12-18% more when you use a credit card versus cash according to a Dun and Bradstreet study.  In other studies, I have read as high as 34%.  So cut your spending by using cash.  Give it a try and watch what happens because credit cards encourage impulse buying; whereas, if you have to fork over cash there is a sensation of loss.  Credit cards seem like friction free spending, yet 60% of credit card users can’t pay off what they owe each month so consider cash and watch how much better you manage your money.


Wild Thoughts #2

“The shortest distance between two points is to DO God’s Will.”


The Frugal Catholic: “Your Mother Loves You” by Martha Wild King M.Ed.–March 2018

When my mother died four years ago, her final words to me were, “Your arms are too fat, and remember the poor.” Those words described our kinship.  Our relationship wasn’t what I wanted, but it was the one God gave me;  and it was the only one Mom knew how to give, for we can only give what we have received.  Mom’s words, however unkind they seemed at the time, did inspire me to lose weight and keep it off and to begin selling my dishcloths to purchase farm animals for the poor through Catholic Relief Services.   Her words accomplished their mission.

Now maybe your relationship with your mother is or was better than mine, or perhaps it’s worse.  After all, the only person who could chose His mom was Jesus.  And better yet, He gave  His Beloved Mother to us when he was being crucified on the cross which now means that we too  have the best Mom possible.

So how is your relationship with Your Blessed Mother this Easter season?  She wants to show you.

I first learned of this lovely tradition from Kimberly Hahn, mother of six and wife of Dr. Scott Hahn, a well-known Catholic author and speaker.  She told her children that whenever they find a PENNY, it is her way and Mary’s way of saying, “Your mother loves you.”

Therefore when you are down, look down, and most often you will find a penny on the sidewalk or street.  Ask Mary to show her concern, and some shiny copper will appear letting you know.  Feel alone or confused?  Well that small coin will show you aren’t.

Hence the next time you find that one-cent piece, pick it up and thank God for your Mom—your Blessed Mother, your biological mother, or your adoptive one. Then if you think about it, drop that penny into the collection for the poor:  She dearly loves them too.


The Frugal Catholic: “Make Money by Wearing It Out” by Kaveri Marathe February 2018

Dear The Frugal Catholic readers:  For the past four months my husband and I have temporarily  downsized from a big house to a tiny home of 325 square feet.  The reason is we purchased, sight unseen, a real fixer upper in the middle of Washington DC.  While renovating, I had the pleasure of meeting a resident in our building, Kaveri Marathe–a lovely young woman with an amazing frugal-earth-changing vision.  Hopefully you will be inspired by what she is doing as much as I have been.  For furthur information on her organization, go to

  1.   TFC–  Kavari, my last four Frugal Catholic articles were about— make it do, do without, use it up, and wear it out.  As I have discovered, does exactly that. Can you explain what is and why and when  you started this company?
KM—Texiles is a startup clothing recycling service dedicated to eliminating clothing waste in the landfill. We offer customers a home pickup of used clothing and household linens and encourage them to include items in their pickup bag that they would otherwise throw in the trash, like garments with holes or stains, or underwear. 
Americans throw out 80 pounds of clothing every year on average, even though 95% of that content is recyclable. I started Texiles not only to prevent usable material from ending up in the trash but to educate consumers about the harmful impact of the fashion industry on the environment and factory workers and the role they play when they make purchasing decisions. 
I started the company in September of 2017 and we are currently offering pickups in the DC area, though we hope to both add a few drop-off points soon, as well as expand into neighboring Maryland and Virginia within the next year.

2. TFC Whom does it benefit?
KM—Our service benefits the environment by keeping clothing and textiles out of the trash. In the landfill, these materials can biodegrade slowly, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and leaching toxic chemicals that are found in modern dyes into the groundwater. It also helps the environment by reusing material instead of manufacturing that material from scratch. It requires over 700 gallons of water to grow enough cotton just to make one t-shirt! By recycling used cotton, that water is saved.
We also benefit society by donating some of the clothing and linens we receive to local charities, such as Dress for Success, a charity that helps economically disadvantaged women, Thrive, a homeless shelter, and the Humane Rescue Alliance, an animal shelter. 
Finally, we help our customers by offering them a convenient and responsible method for disposing of their clothing.


3. TFC— Are lice and bed bugs a problem?

KM—So far, not at all! (Keep your fingers crossed for me on that front.) I require that customers launder everything before putting it in the pickup bag, which has thus far prevented any infestations.

4.  TFC—In what ways has owning this company affected your style of living frugally and dressing frugally?
KM–-I’m glad you asked this because this has been one of the biggest benefits to me personally, so far. Once I became aware of the environmental cost of manufacturing new clothing, and the harmful labor conditions in the fashion industry, I decided to only shop secondhand, do clothing swaps, or wear hand-me-downs (I make an exception for underwear!) Initially, I thought this would be a sacrifice as, previously, I would often make shopping pitstops when I had free time. Quitting shopping, though, was actually quite liberating–it made me much more conscious of the underlying emotions that were triggering my shopping habit as well as the vast amount of clothing I already had. Most importantly, I no longer feel the urge to shop idly or that I’m somehow missing out by not shopping.

5.  TFC—What advice can you give to my readers regarding their purchasing recycled clothing from consignment stores or thrift shops?
KM—Thrifting is so much fun! I think the best part about shopping secondhand is the thrill of the hunt. There’s no better feeling than finding a truly unique garment for an amazing price–it’s much more satisfying than shopping something new, even on sale. 
Some people worry about quality or cleanliness of items at thrift stores so my advice is always to take it home and wash it right away. I have some tips on my website for getting out stains and musty smells too. (

6.  TFC—How could The Frugal Catholic readers do something similar to help their environment?
KM—I think following the classic Reduce, Reuse, Recycle model is the best thing you can do when it comes to clothing. 1. Reduce your consumption. Think carefully before shopping for something new and see if you can borrow something or get by without it. There’s a great company called Rent the Runway I recommend trying that rents out fancy party dresses. 2. Reuse what you already own, i.e. shop your closet! Most people typically only wear 20% of the clothes in their closet regularly, so before heading out to the stores, head to the back of your closet. 3. Recycle what you don’t want, don’t trash it. Even if Texiles isn’t yet in your city, take your old clothing to a Goodwill or other charity that accepts clothing donations. Many Goodwill locations have recycling partners, so you can include your “unwearables” (clothing with holes, stains, etc.) in your donation.
Finally, educate your friends and family! Most people don’t know that 95% of clothing material can be recycled or that many charities will accept unwearable garments.

The Frugal Catholic: “And Wear It Out” by Martha Wild King M.Ed.–December 2017

The whole concept of wearing something out sounds awful. Who wants to use something so long that it eventually gets holes and cracks and can no longer endure repair? Nevertheless, this thought is the last of our four tenets of that nearly 100 year old Depression  era motto.  MAKE IT DO; DO WITHOUT; USE IT UP, and WEAR IT OUT!!!  And “wearing it out” involves a whole lot more than than just saying goodbye.

        So Let’s Look at WEAR IT OUT and How to Do Just That

In America, most live with far more than needed. In her book, The Family Sabbatical, author Elisa Benick and her family of four lived for 18 months in a Mexican village to experience the culture of a completely pedestrian lifestyle. She said, “The simpler you can live, the more comfortable you’ll be anywhere you go. Keep in mind that the rest of the world doesn’t typically share the American obsession with stuff. People make do with much less.” Benick added, “We do, at times, wish we had more money so we could travel and take advantage of the concerts and restaurants this city offers in abundance. But even more often I think about how lovely it is to boil life down to this tiny box of money, thoughts, activities, and belongings. I suppose that’s actually the most Mexican of anything we’re doing. I feel like we’re slowly reducing our sense of entitlement and acquisition–those American habits of assessing each situation based on what there is to take, buy, or own.” Indeed when we choose to live frugally, wearing it out is much easier, for most of the world does likewise.

So instead of taking a look at how to wear it out (which is a no-brainer), let’s consider The Frugal Catholic’s:

                      5 Reasons Why We Don’t Wear It Out

1.   We Just Want Something New–Newness is fun even if the newness comes from a previously owned item. Why? Well your new item shines with no defects. It smells good. The article brings the possibility of lots of enjoyment. It is just like Christmas, but you, the purchaser have control over your present; and yes, if you want, you can celebrate Christmas by yourself all year round! New makes you feel happy, and who doesn’t want happiness. (And those people in those ads–they sure look happy 🙂

2.   We Get Addicted to Shopping–According to , “Shopping addiction also known as compulsive buying disorder, or compulsive shopping, affects about 18 million adults in the United States.  It’s described as the compulsion to spend money, regardless of need or financial means. Little is known about this addiction.” They do know, however, that someone with this challenge gets the same rush or high from purchases as someone on drugs, and the brain will try to recreate that rush again and again. If you know of someone in credit card debt, check for “Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself.”

3.   We Are Sucked in by Advertising–When I was a penny-pinching  High School English teacher in Vermont, I was asked to do an ad for skim milk for Palmers Dairy. So for $25 in 1974, I scammed a lot of people with my white milk mustache which later was picked up in print by a lot of famous folk. I was completely allergic to milk, but the $25 looked like a worthwhile exchange. Thus for about three years, my milk ad played on local TV, and I never drank milk again. Was I deceptive? Of course, but thus is the nature of advertising.

4.  We are Trying to Impress Others–“Look at what I have that’s new? See you aren’t the only one who can afford it, and I deserve it as much as you!” ( unspoken thoughts)

5.  We Don’t Explore What We Already Own–Case in point. I sent my husband out to buy mayonnaise today which I had worn out–zero left in jar. What I failed to do was open my cabinet and spot the brand new jar overhead. Or maybe I want a new winter hat because my present one is too airy and lets the wind blow through. Could I wear a polka dot bandana under my present chapeau and achieve the same warmth as a new hat? Of course. I just need to explore what I already possess and figure out multiple uses.

              What To Do With Things That Are Worn Out?

When something is worn out, it is time to ask yourself a hard question: Is it worth repairing? Now if the answer is yes, then it’s repair time.

Do you own a clothes mending kit with needles, buttons, and thread? If not make one.  (Recipe included below.).  Hand mending is extremely satisfying. Before the sewing machine was invented, it used to take about 14 hours to make an article of clothing by hand, and most people only had a few articles of clothing, and maybe a new shirt or two each year. Now landfills are being swamped with cast off garments which could be given new life with a bit of the owner’s time.

If you need repair of other merchandise, check the owner’s manuals or better yet look on line for how to repair just about anything. My husband has now renovated two homes which were in an awful state of disrepair by solely researching on the Internet.

Jesus was a master in wearing it out and living lean. Remember when He sent his disciples out to minister? He told them to take nothing but what they were wearing. And how do you wear out five loaves of bread and two fish? You feed five to seven thousand people as He did and still have leftovers. (Matthew 10 and 14.)
And we know as Saint Paul stated in Philippians 4:9, “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God will meet our needs, period. The question is, will you see your needs being met with thankfulness or disdain for the lack of what YOU wanted  instead? If you let God change your heart about “wearing it out,” you’ll never lack.

                                 Innards of a Good Mending Box

*buttons *safety pins *small scissors *seam gage *sew on snaps or hooks
*thimble *thread–black, white, grey *needles *needle threader *seam ripper
*straight pins for hemming



The Frugal Catholic: “Use it Up” by Martha Wild King, M.Ed.–November 2017

With today’s constant barrage of advertisements from the  Internet, the concept of USE IT UP seems quite  outdated.  Why should I focus on using up all of that creepy shampoo I got on sale versus purchasing a new bottle of one the Interned has convinced me I prefer?  Because when we do USE IT UP, we save dollars in two ways–from the past and for the future, and by using it up, we teach our families and community a valuable lesson in living.


Saving from the Past

One goal about choosing to  live frugally is that it helps cut down on impulse buying.  Most everyone likes to shop (I call that “a case of BUYITIS– BUY–ITE–US”), but sometimes we don’t give quality/quantity enough thought.  Then we end up with purchases where we might leave the tags on because we bought the article hastily and don’t really love it.  When we think about saving from the past, we need to give ourselves credit.  “I bought this curiously cheap shampoo–or whatever–because it was all I could afford at the time.  I need to not spend any more, and just use it up.”

Saving for the Future

So by using up our purchases from the past, we obviously don’t spend money which gives us more for the future. But how does one USE IT UP well when you feel like throwing it away?

The One Use It Up Rule

To use up whatever you need to, simply DON’T BE  AFRAID.  Yes, don’t be afraid to try new combinations of food, fashion, household, and whatever else needs using.  Got some stuff in the refrigerator which begs usage?  Then fear not when putting  that chutney or fancy mustard into your tuna sandwich.  Combine those shoes with a different outfit.  Put the polka dot blouse with the polka dot skirt and see what happens.  Wear that Christmas tie  NOT at Christmas.  Don’t fear when putting together; just have fun.

It is right and good to minimalize and have less.  Nevertheless, in the area of clothes, don’t  become anexoric  about having too few clothes either.  Use up what you have and slowly decrease your closet size.

Our Heavenly Father is The Master in using it up.  If you’ve ever hiked,  you might have noticed a “nurse log.”  That  is a classic example of using it up where one thing has several purposes.  The old, fallen log becomes a fertile ground for new trees to grow–thus the “nurse log.”  And we too should look for multiple uses from our possessions.

For example, by pondering  multiple usage, I have been able to make my knitted dishcloth ( or any heavy rag) into the following thus using it up better:

  •      A cloth for cleaning dishes
  •      A cloth for drying dishes
  •      A placemat
  •      A hot pad
  •      A holder to wrap around hot handles from the stove
  •      A napkin in a napkin ring
  •      A cleaning rag for the bathroom  

Yes, go ahead and throughly use up what you have versus buying new. Find multiple uses and don’t be afraid to try new combinations.  God provides for His children in so many ways.  He is the Master of letting nothing go to waste, and we should think likewise.













The Frugal Catholic: “Do Without” by Martha Wild King M.Ed.–October 2017

In our last blog, we looked at the first part of the Depression Era slogan which holds such relevance today– Make it do: Do without: Use it up: and Wear it out.  As stated, we are going to examine each part of those life-saving catchwords and see how, in today’s economy, we can employ that phrase to our advantage.  During the Great Depression, people worldwide learned smart budgeting by following each of those four shibboleths; and with a bit of insight and self-discipline on our part,  we too can learn to DO WITHOUT.


In High School,  I was just an average C grade gal, but during my Junior year, I found a book which taught me how to study and it changed my grades and goals.  The title of that book escapes me, but it held five key concepts  to better studying and learning (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review)  which I believe can apply to doing without.  So for this article, we will examine doing without by using SURVEY, QUESTION, RELEASE, REARRANGE, and BE RICHER  because as Warren Buffet says, “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you {do} need.”  And just as I improved my grades, you too can apply SQRRR to get you through the rough times and help build your savings.


To define “SURVEY,” the dictionary states, “To take a general or comprehensive view of.”  One could also say, “To get a feel for what you really own, have, and need.”   When I would survey my reading/studying assignments in high school, I would go through all of the pages to get a general count and notice what questions had to be answered. I’d look at how difficult the reading was, the black print, and  the paragraphing.   Just an overview: That was all.   The same principle applies to surveying your possessions and home. Walk through your bedroom, kitchen, pantry, and any area where items flow in and out.  Now make a mental or paper note of what you are lacking.  Likewise see what an abundance you do have and consider this SQRRR assignment as an excellent Catholic journey in living without.   And as you do survey your possessions, give thanks for many live with nearly nothing. 


In my SQRRR study pattern,  the “Q” stood for “QUESTION“, and to question was simply that.  “Why is this assignment so long?”  “What is that dumb looking picture in there  for?”  “Gee that fellow is handsome.  Wonder what country he is from?”  Responses like that.  Here are a few questions you might ask:

Your Closet–Why is my closet so stuffed?  Do I really need all those shoes?  Which ones don’t I wear?  Gee, my husbands underwear seems full of holes.  Wonder if I should buy him some more at Costco?

Your Food Locker–Now switch to the pantry, and ask yourself similar thoughts.  How old are those spices?  Ugg!  Time to let that five-year expired parsley go.  Wonder if I could use those sardines in some kind of crock pot casserole?  Now which cookbook would have a sardine casserole in it?

Your Collections–We all have them be they the dusty bucket of yellow softballs in the garage corner, or the cow, rabbit, and bluebird of happiness collection scattered around the house or nesting in a glass-front cabinet.  The same questions remain.  Must I keep these?  Do these things bring me pleasure?  Could they better benefit someone or something else?  Could I let them go?


Our first “R” in the original SQRRR study method stood for “READ” (Gotta read something to understand it!); but in our SQRRR model, RELEASE is the third step in doing without.   Yes, by letting some of  your possessions go (after you have questioned their usage), you become keenly aware of what remains–food, clothes, and all of our other scarlet-stuffs.

Start by doing a forced releasePick ten garments and ten cans of food,  and  give them to charity.  By doing so, it becomes even clearer what you need and want.  So put first things first and release what you can.  Personally, I’ve also found that by releasing, it helps me strengthen the things that remain as Revelation 3:2 states (NRSVCE), “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.”


Our second “R” in the original SQRRR study method stood for “RECITE.” That meant to close my study book and verbalize out loud what I had learned.  In the same fashion, you will want to take what remains in your home, closet, and pantry and “REARRANGE” it differently.   For example, I have found that with only half of the clothes I used to have (RELEASED), I have more clothing choices and I’m  using what is left with more imagination.  I’ve even started asking my husband to pick out what he wants me to wear and have discovered different combinations.  Michael has put together scarves, shoes, tops, and bottoms I didn’t even remember I had.  I’ve acquired a definite rearrangement without spending a penny.

With your household goods and furniture, try putting them in new places.  Just make sure to point out to your significant other that you’ve “rearranged” so he or she doesn’t sit down where no chair exists anymore.  By releasing then rearranging you will feel empowered to DO WITHOUT.

                                                 Be Richer

The  fifth and final “R” in the SQRRR study method stood for “REVIEW”; in our plan, it stands for “BE RICHER.”  How can giving your stuff away increase your riches?  What I have discovered by interviewing many frugal millionaires is that “being richer” doesn’t have anything to do with what you spend; it’s all about what you save and already have so that you are living UNDER your means, not above them.   Yes,  Saint Paul likewise had the right formula when he said in Philippians 4:11-13,   “11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. “

So give part two, DO WITHOUT,  a try.   It is astounding  what doing without will do for your faith.  For by doing without, you give God a chance to show His provisions.



The Frugal Catholic: “The Make It Do Budget” by Martha Wild King, M.Ed.–August 2017

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, NOWIt 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.***.

Wet ingredients:

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

Dry ingredients:

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.







The Frugal Catholic: Guest Author, Hannah J. King M.A.– “You’ll Go When You’re Ready”–July 2017

Dear Readers,

Since I just had a hip replacement last week and my thoughts are on healing versus writing, I wanted to share my daughter’s blog post  which I found quite insightful.  Hannah will be starting RCIA Classes to become a Roman Catholic this September 2017.  Her journey to become “the best version of herself” is reflected in her blog, and I hope you will enjoy her contribution.  You can read/ subscribe to her blog or refer it to someone whom you know could benefit.  All of us have struggles, and isn’t it wonderful to bear each others burdens as our Lord commands in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

For more of her writing click on:


Martha Wild King, M.Ed. The Frugal Catholic


Dear Can You Feel This,

I’m spiraling. While I was getting ready for work my husband said to me, “Wear your hair up so guys don’t look at you. Never mind, guys don’t look at you anyway.” After he walked away, I started thinking how unattractive I am. My husband locks me out of our bedroom at night. I want to disappear, but gradually, you know? Am I supposed to leave him for a fresh start to go Instagram pictures of my Target cart #mommysdayout , because mania is how I get someone to pay attention to me? I feel like I am beyond repair, or just walking baggage.


Dear Goodboy,

You must be in a great deal of pain.

The fears you’ve now, over what has been lost, is a commitment to the person you were. Pride tethers your broken heart to his broken soul, because to dispatch from it leads to conventions of uncertainty. Mania is searching for what is left to put back together. It’s your way of staying safe in fear, instead of feeling the devastation of what you’re surviving while not living. Why are you loyal to this version of yourself?

The dream of viable love, with a man who doesn’t know how to give or receive it, has shown you hollow depths of loneliness more so than ever. You’re scared of who you have to become to leave, so all you can do is stand there waiting for his love to stop hurting. Faith, belief, courage, none of these intrinsic nuances will be enough to help you not disappear into the safety of fear. So stop; let the dream fall apart.

This is really hard right now. It’s horrific, unfair, a half-hearted existence, and you may judge everything and nothing of what is or isn’t.  It would be easy for me to assume to be an expert in your life to tell you to run out of this hopeless place, but I don’t think you’re ready to do that yet. What I will tell you is what I wish someone had told me when I didn’t know how or when to leave: you’ll go when you’re ready and not a moment sooner.

Bulimia was how I ignored being sexually abused by my long-term boyfriend in college. I lived in a paradigm of fear because it was safe, whereas the cost meant abandoning my true self over and over to stay there. I did gradually disappear, as you desire to and have. I placated the life I had, versus the life I wanted, with him, because I was terrified of who I was without him. What I hear in you is that same terror.

Things are bad, they may get worse, don’t crucify yourself because you’re not ready to go. Don’t call yourself names, or give weight to the ones he tells you; give yourself grace to mourn over the dream that fell apart. Hold the inner child inside you that isn’t ready to go, because she’s paralyzed over losing what she’s been told is love, again. She needs you the most right now. Don’t tell the child in you she’s unattractive, beyond repair, or just walking baggage.

I walked away from him moments before he boarded an airplane to Afghanistan with the Marines. He told me, “You’ll regret this.”

“I probably will,” I replied. “But it’s my mistake to make now.” I left when I was ready and not a moment sooner.

Everyone wants to be the hero in their own story, but that person is not you. This suffering will mold you towards holistic intrepidness, and I believe through that you will crave something deeper than heroism. This period will let you atrophy into the safety of fear to the person you were, or this period is a preamble to the person you’re becoming.  The moment of loyalty to the version of yourself who makes the exceptional decision to go, is the moment you will see you’re anything but beyond repair.