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And Wear It Out

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 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.” 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 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.” However, they know 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 Palmer's Dairy. So for $25 in 1974, I scammed many people with my white milk mustache, which was later picked up in print by many famous folks. 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 till lactose-free milk was developed. Was I deceptive? Of course, but this 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 because zero was left in the jar. I failed to 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 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 online for how to repair just about anything. My husband has now renovated two homes in an awful state of disrepair by solely researching the Internet.

Jesus was a master of 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 Christ 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 express disdain for lacking what you want? 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


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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