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Ohio State University Extension


Some Options for Resourceful Living

All About Money
Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences

Being resourceful is the ability to find and use available resources to solve problems and achieve goals. It combines a consumer’s desire to be cost-conscious with environmental awareness, and enables one to live within their means.


Use Less/Substitute

Use Tender Loving Care to
Keep What You Have

  • Stick to basic nutrient-dense foods for variety and versatility.
  • Use lowest priced form of food item that fits your needs.
  • Try recipes using less costly protein-rich foods such as eggs, cheese, beans, dairy products, and peanut butter.
  • Avoid buying expensive, calorie dense snacks.
  • Wrap foods before storing to retain freshness.
  • Store foods promptly and in appropriate storage places.
  • Rotate foods using least fresh first.
  • Avoid wasting food; use leftovers to make nutritious frozen dinners.
  • Take good care of kitchen utensils and appliances.
  • Lower your home heating temperature.
  • Raise home cooling temperature; use overhead or portable fans for localized cooling.
  • Avoid buying appliances you don’t really need.
  • Don’t rent or buy more house than you need.
  • Use energy efficient lightbulbs.
  • Consider renting or borrowing equipment or items used infrequently.
  • Develop and use regular home maintenance schedules.
  • Take care of minor maintenance problems before they become major, expensive disasters.
  • Check weather stripping and caulking periodically for effectiveness.
  • Clean rugs, furniture, draperies regularly to prolong wear. 
  • Plan wardrobe around activities and buy color- and style-coordinated clothing that can be mixed and matched.
  • Select classic styles that are suitable for several seasons.
  • Sell or donate good used clothing to reduce closet clutter.
  • Remove spots and stains promptly.
  • Make repairs when needed.
  • Wear old clothes for rough and/or dirty jobs.
  • Follow care label instructions for laundry and dry cleaning.
  • Maintain your weight; fluctuating weight means more purchases for different clothing sizes to accommodate weight loss or gain.
  • Plan work/errands to avoid “back-tracking.”
  • Don’t buy more car than you need.
  • Keep the car longer.
  • Drop collision insurance coverage on old cars.
  • Avoid using the car for short jaunts.
  • Use public transportation when available.
  • Walk or ride bike, if feasible.
  • Practice safe driving methods.
  • Read your car owner’s manual to become knowledgeable about its features.
  • Get regular maintenance and service checkups.
  • Park in areas offering as much security as possible.
  • Avoid duplication in insurance coverage.
  • Beware of balance billing.
  • Check your medical bills for errors.
  • Get a less expensive plan by going in with a group (like a professional association).
  • Enroll in a flexible spending account at work.
  • Opt for a higher deductible.
Practice prevention through:
  • Regular dental and medical check-ups. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Avoiding accidental injury. 
  • Adopting healthy habits.
  • Lower your mobile phone bill by comparing plans.
  • Consider refurbished products.
  • Recycle or trade in old devices.
  • Consider alternative options for TV viewing.
  • Buy fewer “extra” premium services (cable, satellite, streaming).
  • Install all computer updates.
  • Computers generate heat. Keep equipment cool and provide proper airflow.
  • Get a good case for your phone.
  • Handle phones, tablets, and laptops with care.
  • Keep phone and computer clean.

Do It Yourself

Improve Shopping Skills

  • Eat at home, brown bag for lunch.
  • Plant a garden; can or freeze surplus.
  • Learn how to get the most from the meat you buy.
  • Make low-cost nutritious snacks readily available.
  • Make full use of your freezer, prepare recipes in quantity and freeze for later use.
  • Check needs before shopping and use a list.
  • Take advantage of weekly specials and store apps to get the best deals and/or coupons.
  • Pay attention to price per unit and compare unit prices.
  • Read the nutrition facts label.
  • Stock up on specials that have a long shelf life or freezer life.
  • Do simple home repairs and maintenance yourself.
  • Practice energy conservation.
  • Paint and repurpose older furniture for a new look.
  • Make curtain panels out of flat sheets.
  • Learn how to care for the yard and landscaping.
  • Shop seasonal sales for household goods, furnishings, and appliances.
  • Consider utility and maintenance costs as well as the initial price of an item.
  • Underbid the asking price on a house.
  • Watch for end-of-summer sales of plants, mulch, and other gardening materials.
  • Mend, repair, and/or alter clothes yourself.
  • Use coin-operated dry cleaning.
  • Sew some of your own clothes or, if needed, take a sewing class.
  • Store clothes properly.
  • Follow washer and dryer instructions for better laundry outcomes.
  • Shop sales for wardrobe needs.
  • Buy the quality that suits your purpose.
  • Know store’s exchange policy.
  • Explore thrift stores, garage sales, or other low cost options for good used clothing.
  • Inspect clothing carefully for flaws.
  • Walk or ride a bike.
  • Combine trips, run errands before/after work.
  • Use carpools or ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.
  • Wash your car at home.
  • Do some car maintenance yourself (check tire pressure, fluid levels, add oil or antifreeze).
  • Bargain for best deal on a vehicle.
  • Shop around for best deal on vehicle loan.
  • Compare insurance rates with different companies (before purchasing a vehicle).
  • Shop for low-cost airfares.
  • Car shop at the end of the month.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Exercise properly.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Learn first aid.
  • Reduce insurance premiums with higher deductible and/or co-payment.
  • Get prescriptions by generic name, not brand name, if possible.
  • Buy insurance through group plan.
  • Compare drug prices at different pharmacies.
  • Cut co-pays by purchasing 90-day supply prescriptions instead of 30-day.
  • Go with store brands.
  • Identify what you need to learn.
  • Read technical books.
  • Use YouTube, product videos, or other online tutorials or forums to learn the features of your phone/tablet/computer.
  • Take a class to learn how to use your device.
  • Improve your computer skills through e-learning.
  • Use consumer websites and/or magazines to compare makes and models.
  • Take advantage of online resources such as webinars, articles, podcasts, and videos.
  • Ask an expert—use store personnel or online chat boxes.


Originally posted Sep 23, 2019.