Use it up
January Money Diet

Save Money and Fix or Repurpose Something

Thanks for SHARING!

Dear friends,

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

The ad above was printed when Americans were united in supporting the Allied troops in the goal of winning World War II, and everyone tried to do their part by being thrifty.

Our ancestors were continually looking for ways to reuse and repurpose things. For example, if they hadn’t been so clever about saving fabric scraps and creatively stitching them together, we would have no patchwork quilts.

Meat scraps were turned into delicious sausage, sour milk was used for baking, and scraps of wool were cut in strips and hooked into rugs.

In our great-grandmother’s day, nearly every household had a rag bag — and they didn’t need jumbo 8-packs of paper towels, either.

Repair Instead of Replacing

Just yesterday our Pop told me that some of the letters had worn off his otherwise-perfectly-good computer keyboard. He used his label maker to create new letters, and voila! The keyboard is fully functional again.

My friend Scott shares, “I fixed some wheels today that had not been greased, ever. They were dry and would not turn. I took them all apart and sanded the bearings and cleaned and greased and now they work, saving a trip to town and paying for new.”

Find a New Use for Something


repurposed wine bottles

I always love seeing the creative ways people use items that might be otherwise discarded, like the outdoor chandelier above made from old wine bottles.

Here’s a post from the Happy Simple Living archive that has been shared more than 5,000 times, for a wall decoration I made from, yes, toilet paper tubes:

Toilet paper tubes heart

Instead of throwing away old, worn t-shirts or tube socks, turn them into rags.

Float toasted slices of stale French bread in homemade French Onion Soup. Or use the last few pieces of bread to make croutons or bread crumbs. If you have tortillas that are past their prime, turn them into homemade chips.

Use newspaper to wash your windows. Don’t throw away the red mesh bag that the onions came in; use it as a Salad Spinner to dry washed salad greens. Or take it with you to the farmers’ market and use it to carry home your produce.

Today’s challenge is to fix or repurpose something.

We’d love to hear your resourceful ideas in the Comments section of this post or over at the Money Diet Community Facebook Group.

Best always,

Signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. P.S. Huge thanks to the 2021 January Money Diet’s generous sponsor and the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign.

To find a credit union near you to stash your JMD cash, use this handy Credit Union Finder.

P.S. If you use Pinterest to save aticles and ideas, here’s a handy pin:


Repurpose Something

Eliza Cross is the author of 15 books, including recent titles like Bacon Beans and Beer and Small Bites. She blogs at and is the founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society. Her articles have appeared in publications like Sunset, Parents and Writers' Digest. Eliza lives near Denver with her family.

One Comment

  • Kimberly

    I started a two day rule. Leftovers not eaten within two days get put into the freezer for future meals. So far this year has been hard. Husband had surgery so getting less than half his pay. I have big goals this year so I am making it a no spend year. Only going food shopping once a month, reuse, repurpose, and wear it out. It will be a challenging year but something I have to do. We want to move and that takes money. Thank you for having a site that I can come to. I don’t do facebook or other social media and any tips are going to be very usefull to me this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.