Monday, 19 October 2009
'Make-Do And Mend'
The radiator went on my brother's van recently. After getting a couple of quotes to have a new one installed, he bought the part and fitted it himself, saving almost £200. I was really impressed by this and it got me thinking how people tend to become so much more resourceful when they have a limited disposable income.
As another example, a friend of mine who recently lost her job and is currently job-hunting has taught herself how to sew and has been making bags and skirts. Again, I was impressed!
There's a sense of satisfaction at your achievements when you are resourceful, whether it's being proud of a soufflé you cooked for a dinner party with friends, knowing you've saved yourself some money, or developing your creative side.
More people are having friends over for dinner rather than all going out to a restaurant and as someone who loves cooking, I know of so many great recipe sites when you are looking for inspiration or just want to try something different. A couple of my favourites are 101 Cookbooks and BBC Good Food.
Last month, John Lewis updated and produced a current-day version of the war-time government publication 'Make Do And Mend', which back in 1943 provided practical, frugal tips to help people deal with the rationing of food and clothes. Their modern-day version has all kinds of domestic tricks which save you money; from cleaning with vinegar and toothpaste to freezing left-over wine in ice-cube trays so you have a glass to add to casseroles without having to open a bottle!
I also noticed that John Lewis are running knitting and sewing workshops at their stores, catering to people who are getting into the 'make-do and mend' way of thinking. Skills like knitting have also become more popular with a younger generation through the growth of groups like 'Stitch 'n Bitch.'
Being resourceful seems to be enjoying a resurgence at the moment and reminds us that learning a skill, practising a creative hobby or simply trying to do something yourself rather than paying someone else to do it can bring lasting fulfillment and happiness. It's a strong contrast to the fleeting buzz we get from frivolous spending and extravagance, which require no effort on our part.