“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With today’s constant barrage of advertisements from the  Internet, the concept of USE IT UP seems quite  outdated.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:

  1.      A cloth for cleaning dishes

  2.      A cloth for drying dishes

  3.      A placemat

  4.      A hot pad

  5.      A holder to wrap around hot handles from the stove

  6.      A napkin in a napkin ring

  7.      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.

Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less