In an effort to make things last as long as possible, maintenance is required. This is true in so many different areas. One of our philosophies over time has been: You can buy a $3.00 basketball once a year, or a $5.00 basketball every three years. Which one is cheaper? This doesn’t work in all cases. But, if you spend $20.00 on a pair of tennis shoes every year, and a $30.00 pair of tennis shoes will last you five years, then you can easily see where there is a substantial savings over five years.
Eating out and eating in. I never understood the desire to eat out on a special occasion just to have lesser quality food. What’s the big deal about eating out? All these little things add up. All of these savings add up weekly, monthly and yearly. I have people tell me that they can’t afford a farm tractor to help them work. But they spend $10.00 a day on pop and junk candy. That money, right there, would make the payments for the tractor.
For 30 years, Frank took a homemade lunch to work. Many folks would drive down to the local burger place and spend $7.00 or $8.00 for a burger, fries and a pop. Add that up on a daily basis, then weekly, then monthly and yearly. There are many, many ways to save money. Fern drives many miles a day. Frank wants her to be in a newer, well maintained vehicle. But, instead of buying a new $50,000 vehicle, she drives a $25,000 vehicle (when it was new). And that homemade lunch helps pay for her driving security.
People have laughed at us for years for saving a dollar here and there. Okay. So what? We don’t need to try to impress people with how much junk food or hamburgers or ‘Look at me!’ type stuff we have just so we can be part of that group.
Frank has long been heard to say he can get blood out of a turnip. He told me when we got married that I would never have to worry about money and he was right. I haven’t. We chose a lifestyle a long, long time ago that focused on living within our means and being perfectly contented, well, most of the time, with what we had. So, we try to maintain and keep things usable as long as we possibly can. Here are some examples of how we do that.
Not long ago, we cleaned out the barn. This not only gives the barn a good cleaning, but it also helps to maintain the health of the goats and the dog. Not only that, but it’s free fertilizer for the garden.
Recently, Frank and a friend replaced a 30 year old leaking faucet on the outside of the house. Then they went to the other end of the house and repaired another faucet. Eventually, it will have to be replaced as well, but for now, it has been repaired.
We need to replace this old shed. We have tried to repair it and keep it going as long as possible, but it’s time has come. For that to happen, we need to dismantle and haul off this old shed.
We have been using up our bath towels until they are just about on their last leg. There are others waiting to take their place, but we can get a few more miles out of these.
I can buy buckets, or buy laundry detergent in buckets and get a free bucket. We learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter how well you wash them and how long you air them, the soap smell is still there and will permeate whatever food item you try to store in them. This bucket of soap was used when we still lived in Alaska. It was one of our trash cans there, and still is, here.
I have been making more dish cloths to replace a few that have finally bit the dust. These two need to be repaired so they will last a while longer.
The car I drive back and forth to work has over 80,000 miles and is ready for a major check up. With new hoses, belts, windshield and a thorough inspection it will keep making the 55 mile round trip five days a week, for a while yet.
Mending holes in jackets, jeans and socks extend their usefulness and help the clothing budget stretch farther.
Aging cheese in wax that is reusable, helps save a few pennies.
Making seedling pots out of saved newspaper and saving seeds from the vegetables we eat is a way of recycling and extending the life of the original purchase.
Each one of these tasks help extend the useful life of these items. Other examples above help save a few pennies and sometimes a few dollars, and these practices add up. It just depends upon what you want to do. It’s your choice. We are very thankful for the means that we have, but are also aware that our means could be removed very quickly.
I listed and described all of these things with this thought: “What if I can no longer get replacements for ________?” Then comes the next thought. “How can I maintain what I have so that it will last as long as possible?” Which leads me to thinking, “If something I have eventually wears out or runs out, what else can I use in it’s place?” And, “Will the replacement be as effective and efficient?” Then I thought, “What can I change now in the way that I do things so I am using things that are not disposable?”
We review our situation regularly to see how we can either extend the life of current items, or replace current items with alternatives that will be more sustainable in the long run. It is a continuous learning process, which is good. Not only does it give us the opportunity to research, ponder and learn, it improves our daily lives, now and in the future.
Until next time – Fern