Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I've just added another "R" to "reduce, reuse and recycle": "REPAIR." My husband recently approached me with a pair of sandals and told me he could use a new pair. They looked pretty good to me, but he said the insole was wearing thin. They were Clarks; turns out, they run about $80. (Of course, there was no way I had paid that when I bought them!) The next day, I took them to our neighborhood shoe repair and was informed that new insoles would set me back only $15.
I saw some duffel bags in the shop; inspired, I went home and gathered up some items from our graveyard of luggage. One needed some stitching, one needed a new zipper and one needed a handle repair. Total for fixing the three bags: $23 -- probably less than it would cost to buy one new one, and better for the Earth, too!
We just spent a weekend in Big Bear with some friends, and when we tried to fire up their grill, we found that the heating element was shot. We plan to hunt another one down on the Internet and send it to them -- with a promise to install it the next time we're up there!
When getting ready for the beginning of school, we found that we didn't need new backpacks; a couple of them just needed a little makeover. My older daughter has been using the same one for several years, so I told her that if she continued using the old one, I would give her half of what I would be willing to spend on a new backpack for her to spend on books, clothes or an afternoon with a friend. Bribery, maybe, but definitely cost-effective -- and good for the environment!