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The Make It Do Budget

Being the frugal-minded soul which I know you are, I am sure you've heard this depression-era slogan before, “Use it up: wear it out: make it do: and do without.”  Well, I found that version rather boring, so I've reworded it to rhyme–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.  For the first part of this four-part series over the next few months, we will carefully examine each segment. And if you want to get really rich, apply every one; and green will grow in your wallet!!!

”The Make It Do Budget”


When I was in Huntington High School in the 1960s, women didn’t have sports, so one 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.  It was a wonderful time in my life! My favorite dramatic piece 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 from the heart. 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.  The story opens with Della lamenting that with all of her savings and scrimping for a whole year, all she only 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 2017–a budget that was to include food, fashion, and fun.  Our financial plan looked exceptionally bleak until my husband and I put our heads together and began to focus on “THE MAKE IT DO  BUDGET.” We cut all expenses back to the bare bones. Food came from the garden. We used up all leftovers and frozen goods in the freezer. Dinners were as simple as possible. The pantry goods of cans and boxes were all used up, and I baked bread again. Planning and staying out of grocery stores worked!




While studying those Depression Era pictures during this "Make It Do Budget" time, I realized that three verbs lept forth-- release, rearrange, ration. During the Great Depression, very little was released or thrown away, for everything had a second or third purpose. Also, homes wouldn't purchase new but would rearrange what they had. And rationing occurred because not as much was available. Could we create such a spending plan for food and fashion, and fun that would keep us going?

We did. We have already read about the food, but we also released anything in the home we weren't using, like ho-hum clothes and household goods. Releasing can be as much fun as purchasing, by the way. Note here, though: try on your old clothes and have your significant other give the thumbs up or thumbs down. It makes releasing much easier.

We also rearranged some furniture to make more magic in the home. Why? It is because magic is a big money saver when you don't have big money.

And we cut back or rationed our sweets. Good self-discipline.

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 learned, like making homemade bread again. Frugal tricks have helped save money in the past and had been neglected.  So if you only have limited funds this month or the next, create a "Make It Do Budget" and give release, rearrange, and ration 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 anyway and save some big bucks next month!

The Frugal Catholic  Make It Do Bread Recipe


You can make this bread with or without a bread machine, but if you have a machine, pull it out, dust it off, and try it.  If you don’t have a bread machine, 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 flaxseed, 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 it into two greased bread pans for however long you want it to rise, and make sure you cover it with a dishtowel.   (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.  It freezes very well and fits nicely into a Ziploc bag.


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

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

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