Sunday, January 8, 2012

Practical Wisdom From Yesterday's Women: Nothing Should Be Wasted!

I told you earlier in the week of my plan to read through some really old homemaking books that I found free for Kindle and share with you the wisdom that I glean from them (you can click over and read my intro post if you missed it).

I told you that I was going to start off reading The American Frugal Housewife, and I did not even get a full paragraph into the introductory chapter before I had a great quote for you!

"Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money."
Child, Lydia Maria Francis (2009-10-04). The American Frugal Housewife (Kindle Locations 89-90). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition. 

The book goes on to suggest a few ways that this should be accomplished (written, if you recall, in 1832):

  •  Knitting/mending our own stockings.
  • Patching clothing.
  • Teaching children to prepare and braid straw for their own bonnets (and their brother's hats!)
  • Using feathers that fall from turkeys and geese to make fans to be sold for profit.

Now there are certainly a ton of things in this book that are not going to pertain to us anymore.  Obviously, not many of us knit stockings, or wear bonnets, and own geese!  But the main idea here is still the same today!

Some things that we can do today to make less waste:
  • Learn some basic sewing so that small tears in clothing can be repaired.  (I'm certainly talking to myself here, because I'm not sure I'm equipped to so much as sew a button back on!)
  • If the children want to create, let them color on the backs of those papers that coupons print on.  Let them cut pictures out of your old magazines.  Think about the items you throw away everyday and determine if there is anyway that you can reuse it.  I cleaned out some empty spice shakers for my girls to use as tub toys!
  • If you have a skill (we all have skills), see if you can profit from it.  Make things to sell if you are crafty (I'm not!).  Tutor.  Edit essays.  (I've done both of these, though!)  I keep telling my husband that people would pay for his computer expertise.
  • If you have things that you don't need, but they are still useful, try to sell them.  Post them on craigslist, or have a garage sale.

These few little paragraphs resonated with me because my husband recently had to switch to a different part time job that paid much less, and we are trying to find ways to make up for that loss of income.  He has applied for a tutoring position a few hours a week that will pay quite well given his teaching experience, but whether or not there is a student for him is up to chance!

We've been going through our house and doing a lot of purging (wasteful yes, but sometimes you just have to!)  We have sat a number of things off to the side in our garage, and we are planning to have a garage sale in the near future.

Of course, I am using this site to share my skills and knowledge with all of you, and continuing to learn more about blogging and always working to make this site better and more user friendly  (I'd love any suggestions!).  I love what I do here, and do not blog to make money.  In fact, I blogged for an entire year before ever signing up with any affiliate sites whatsoever.  But, I do spend a lot of time doing this, so I am always looking into ways to make my site become profitable.

I don't know if Ms. Child would say we were living up to her frugal expectations (I've definitely got to figure out the button sewing), but I truly believe it is a process, and everyone slips up from time to time.  We've not always been the most frugal people, but we are trying our best to get there!

Looks like the next frugal topic the book discusses is budgets, so stayed tuned!


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