A month without money?.. Let’s mend and make do!


Immediately after Christmas, most of us, especially those with limited income, single parents, those on benefits or simply those who have really overspent are pretty much BROKE in the month of January and the only way to balance the books is to cut the spending, and be extra frugal for a month or two.

I’m not against a little moderate consumerism, we need it for our economy and businesses BUT I am against mindless consumerism and the pressure many individuals and young families can feel to overspend way beyond their means. I can understand that we want to give our kids things that make them happy, even more so if they have little or nothing and I enjoy the giving and receiving of affordable gifts, but the sheer weight of debt many encounter post Christmas is a ‘horrible’ situation to have to struggle against.

Looking back to the home front during WW2, that pressure of consumerism was alleviated, families had to mend and make-do and use their ingenuity and creativity to often make gifts. Expectations were certainly not the same as they are today.


So what can we do to really cut back in the New Year to balance the financial scales?

I guess it has to start at Christmas. Reduce the spending, give smaller gifts, don’t use credit cards if you can’t afford to repay it back in a month or two, never spend more than you have and don’t be afraid to say no.

When my marriage broke down several years ago and then consequently losing my work visa in Canada and with no means to support myself, our life took a dramatic turn and ever since the first of those events we have have lived within our means at Christmas and do not own credit cards. That’s not to say we still don’t feel the pinch in January and February though, especially with a multitude of family birthdays taking place BUT a couple of careful months and we are back on track.

So here’s the challenge for anyone who want’s to join in and share their experiences…

“Let’s spend as little as humanely possible for a month, lets do without stuff, be mindful of the food we buy and eat and let’s just mend and make do!”

I’m up for it if you are!!!

I’m not saying we should list our private outgoings and bills etc but rather celebrate the daily cutbacks we make to save money in what we purchase and what we buy at the grocery store!

How little can we spend?

What can we save?

If anyone is up for this as a group lets do this here and/or on my Facebook page.
Well my challenge starts today – I’m off to the shops in an hour or two. I’m going to keep all my receipts and ONLY buy something if I REALLY have to.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

C xxxxxx


So here’s my first spend since Christmas. £2.80 for toilet rolls and sanitary towels. I wonder how long I can make 6 toilet rolls last!


MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the 'Equipment Pool', to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908

MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the ‘Equipment Pool’, to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908


67 thoughts on “A month without money?.. Let’s mend and make do!

  1. I’m up for this! I want to get back to being able to cope on very little (as I may be losing my disability benefits 🙁 ) – so Health and Home is my Mantra at the moment!

    • Oooo glad you are up for this! I’m going to use up as much cupboard food as possible, eeeek out my toothpaste, use less loo roll (have to buy some today!), NOT buy stuff that isn’t essential and TRY mending a few things on my sewing machine!!! xxxx

      • Yep menu planning is happening this afternoon (with OH yelling through what we have lol), I am back to living off Rations (updated for the fact that we have better bread, different cheeses and more varied veggies!) and that is being tracked on a private blog, other blogs are being dusted off (just realised I only ever use my wordpress ones for responding to posts from other wordpress users – I set mine up on Typepad http://www.knyttwytch.co.uk/tempewytchhealthyliving/) and I have set up a 1940’s group on FitBit! (Ration Book Re-enacting FitBitters). I have yarn to knit with, I have crafting projects to finish so spending money on those shouldn’t happen. I will be healthy, I WILL be debt free, I will start to love myself rather than hating myself. Bring it on 2017!

      • I will connect with your group on FitBit as soon as I charge mine…it went flat yesterday! Have just been over to your blog too so will enjoy reading about your journey! We can do this!!!! xxxx

  2. Am looking now at all the stuff I’ve accumulated in my cupboards, flour to make bread with, lots of dried ingredients such as kidney beans, lentils etc, quite a lot of canned goods, some frozen bits and pieces including “wartime mock apricot flan”….to be honest apart from buying some margarine and soy milk today (and fresh vegetables when needed) I think I have enough food wise to make it through January!!!!

  3. I’m with you! I was already planning to do a “no buy” year, buying only essentials, so I’m with you! Doing a lot of the same things as you– preparing meals from stuff on hand, using everything up before I buy new, considering whether I need to replace something or can I use something else in its stead, getting books from the library, listening to all the CDs and records I already have, finding new ways to wear my clothes, keeping my shoes mended, switching off lights, no unnecessary driving, shorter showers, etc. Just being really mindful of what I’m doing. Also trying to save the planet! Count me in!

  4. I’m soooo in! I feel like I’m drowning in ‘stuff’. Plenty here to live off of for quite a while. Thanks for inspiring us…not just today, but every day with your posts. You remind us of the important things in life! Xoxo–here’s to a healthy and happy 2017!!!!

    • Awww and to you Julia xxx And I know what you mean about “stuff” – it’s the same here, I re-buy “stuff” when I really don’t need too so I think it’s a good thing to try and use stuff up first….certainly going to give it my best shot here and spend as little as I can in January!! xx

    • Also trying to do KonMari – books are getting winnowed out and I am replacing them with e-reader versions – this is because I am finding it increasingly difficult to turn pages :(, the upside is less on shelves!

  5. This is a wonderful idea! We need to pay down some debt, and try to eat out of our freezer as much as possible. I can’t have dairy, or corn products, so we eat home made a LOT! Tonight is an exception – we got some gift cards to a restaurant & we’re all sick and don’t feel like cooking. Hooray for gift cards!

    • Love this idea – how are we going to be able to set up some sort of group? Have just spent the last few hours picking through the end of my son’s turkey – he brought it round yesterday, otherwise it would have gone in the bin. Difficult, as it was only a crown, and very dried out; however, have a small amount of meat and some gorgeous stock. Am not going to put my details below, but would be happy to join a group.

  6. Signing on with this. I get a greatly reduced cost transit pass at work so I can park the car for all but long distance errands.

    Pledging not to use credit or debit cards…cash only.

    Going to eat only wartime rations only.

    Thanks for your post…it reminded me I had lost focus.

    All the best in the New Year!

  7. I’m in already have freezer full of home grown vegetables and home made soup, moose, crumbles etc. Also home made pickles, jams all made from growing on allotment. Enough Onions and Potatoes to last at least 6 months then the new crops will be ready.
    Good luck all

  8. I like it a lot! I’m trying to reduce our consumption in general and, when we do need something, to buy used goods that still have lots of life left. And money is always tight around here.

  9. This is one of my missions this year – we’re trying to figure out whether or not we are going to have kids, and one of the big things is that we’d like for me to be able to stay home with them. This is one way to see if we can set some money back, and how much we can actually live on.

  10. In answer to the question about sts ..my mum would cut up old sheets which I wore at night and she would boil clean.During tne day I wore a sanitary belt which held the looped pads in place.They were like netting filled with cotton wool with a loop at each end.Awful when you think about that! My store cupboard is full so absolutely up for a frugal January.

  11. Carolyn this is an amazing idea, I love it and am definitely in for it. I would love a closed FB group or thread on here. I’m already sorting through to see what I can do without for a month, they say 30 days to break a habit, hopefully I can ditch my spending ways.

  12. Great idea, I’m up for it as following redundancy last year I have only had two temping jobs since…..and like others a store cupboard full of packets and jars that need using up.

  13. Hmm could we get hold of curry spices/powder? If so the Chickpea and Potato curry we just had is an excellent Wartime dish!

  14. Come January 1st I am Definitely back on the wagon! The house is crammed with food and ‘stuff’ so there’s no need to go spending… would be very very interested in joining the group!

  15. A village near me has started a little twice monthly workshop. Folks can come by with their mending and have it taken care of, or learn how to do it themselves. It is very popular. January is a lean month for me with property taxes and dog tags due, so I’ll be keeping everything to the bare minimum. I am thankful for some gift cards that will come in handy for buying a couple of Birthday gifts for grandchildren.

  16. I love this idea! It is such a wonderful way to take time and reflect on what is really necessary. The one thing i do miss about the UK is the cost of fruit/Veg!!!!! living on the East coast of Canada my shopping bill has doubled!

  17. Well went to the store yesterday only bought loo roll, bananas, and bread so far so good.
    The fridge and freezer and pantry are packed so only fresh foods will need to be bought for quite awhile

  18. Count me in too. I just cleaned out and inventoried my upright freezer. I’m working on a menu from the list. I can’t wait to see how long I can make it last.
    I’m usually just a lurker. Being American, I sometimes get lost with the recipe conversions, but I’ve been trying a few out and we really like them.
    My family will start with the UK rations on January 8th. I’m excited to give it a try. Wish me luck.

  19. Count me in. I live in the US and having just cleaned out my freezer, I was wondering how long we could live off of what was in it.
    I’ve been planning to try living on UK rations for awhile now. Guess it’s time to go for it.
    Wish me luck when I tell my husband and 11 year old. For the record, I expect the most resistance from the 11 year old.
    Carolyn, I can’t tell you what an inspiration you have been to me. We can do this together!

    • We decided through discussion on Facebook to just carry on through the website and through the current 1940s Experiment Facebook page as it is a month’s challenge and people are already bogged down with so many groups etc so keep it simple. Xxxx

      • Ah right! for some reason I don’t get messages from your FB page even though I am a follower so must have missed that.

Leave a Reply