We Have Peanut Butter, But No Bread – Making Do With Less

After a long week, the last thing either of us want to do is cook.  We don’t go out because of the rain, and delivery for the 3rd time this week is out of the question.  Inglorious Basterds arrives in the mail, and we just seek something sufficient and efficient to eat.

Unfortunately, as we raid through the cupboards all we find is peanut butter, with no bread and spaghetti with no sauce.  We also find stale crackers, and a pound of dried pumpkin seeds, but that’s it.  Drats!  Good thing I keep looking, because I find my canister of protein powder which I forgot I had.  The filthy drink contributes today.

We pour stale crackers onto our plates, along side two heaping spoons of peanut butter.  To wash it all down, a lumpy and not so delicious vanilla protein shake each.  It was nostalgic, eating like college kids again.


1) Even if someone says, “there’s nothing left in the house to eat”, there’s always something.  We just aren’t looking hard enough.

2) It often takes two things to create an even yummier whole e.g. peanut butter sandwich.  We realize why teamwork is highly valued.

3) Food can be a wonderful experience, but hunger can be a pain.  We forget that much of the world eats for sustenance, and not for pleasure.

4) All the pain goes away once we sleep.  Meanwhile, eating less than normal feels great the next morning.  There’s no bloating, money is saved, and although we’re still a little hungry, we have the energy to feed ourselves again.

5) We adapt to what we have.  A large house inevitably fills with clutter.


Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.  Yet, we all have an amazing ability to adapt to our surroundings and make do with less.  It’s refreshing not always wanting more.  Dig out your old things and enjoy them again.  Call your friends you’ve lost touch with and catchup.  Our reservoir of sustenance runs deep.  We just have to discover it all again.

Readers, anything you’ve experienced recently where you had to adapt?  What did you learn from your experience?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Keiju (Regards),

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. says

    The entire past year has been an exercise is making do with less. My income was down over 20% thanks to the great recession. We managed to save just as much as the year before so obviously we had to cut elsewhere. Funny thing is, we can’t say we really suffered any. We staycationed (best vacation in years!) instead of heading out of town, we didn’t eat out as much and we didn’t eat filet mignon every week but life was still great. Take one look at the suffering in Haiti and you get perspective real fast!
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Money & Time, How We Waste It =-.

  2. says

    Hi Sam, you and your wife are really doing yourselves a favor by cutting back on the calories anyway. Numerous studies have proven a low calorie diet equals a longer life, and even partial fasting will help your body get rid of toxins and other bad stuff.

    When I was traveling and living in motels and working crazy hours I let my weight get up to 205 (and I’m 6′) and I felt awful. I’ve leaned down to about 175 and my energy level has improved tremendously.

    My old refinery shut down and a lot of the people I used to work with have been transferred to the refinery where I work now, and they all say “You need to put some weight on!” But the funny things is I’m supposed to be at my ideal weight and they look like they’ve put on 10 or 15 pounds since I last saw them. The other plus is I’m 40 and everyone thinks I’m at least 7 or 8 years younger.

    I’ve done plenty of creative things with stuff I’ve found in the cabinets to feed me and the kids. One of the worst things we can do is get in the habit of relying on fast food when we’re too tired to cook or are in a time crunch. Plus you save a bunch o’ money :-)
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..You, Inc.: Know when to outsource =-.

  3. 20smoney says

    It’s amazing that I can typically always eat whatever I want to eat. It might be thai food, sushi, steak, whatever. We’re incredibly rich.
    .-= 20smoney´s last blog ..Back To Reality… =-.

  4. says

    This is timely for me, I recently wrote a post admitting that “sometimes we food the dogs cat and food” and numerous other things we had to do when we finally cut up the credit cards…I learned the dogs seem to like cat food better than dog food:)
    .-= sahmCFO´s last blog ..Should we Consolidate our Debt? =-.

  5. says

    We had a similar experience recently. We were snowed in and had no food in the house. We didn’t want to go out because it was still snowing pretty hard and there was no point shoveling, cleaning the car and risking the slippery roads. So we looked around in the cupboards and found – some flour and yeast. (I’d never bought yeast before, but it was left over from when hubby’s aunt had visited) So we made bread.

    It turned out pretty bad actually but we ate it anyway with butter! Fastforward a couple of weeks, and I’ve perfected a pretty good bread recipe and bake my own bread every weekend. Not to save the $3.50 we used to spend on it, but because I discovered it was a great stess-reliever and it makes the place smell so nice! Plus it lasts almost the entire week!
    .-= thriftygal´s last blog ..Ridiculously Absurd Business Ventures =-.

  6. says

    What you are talking about sounds like my frugal life to a T (or to a Tee since you are a golfer ;)). I enjoy what I have and any opportunities that may present themselves (if they are cheap enough) to the maximum!

    I also try to extend the life of the possessions that I have. You should see my lawnmower, hehehe… someday I think I will take a picture and post an article about it…

    I have a category ( series) that I occasionally post articles about called “lemons to lemonade“. It’s all about taking negative changes/activities and twisting them to positive activities or at least a more acceptable form of each activity. So yes, I’ve become very adapt at making negatives turn into positive! ;)

    Have a great weekend Keiju, thanks for another great thoughtful article! :)
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..Stop Waiting For Magical Moments To Happen =-.

  7. says

    Oh, was Inglorious Basterds a good movie? I have been wanting to see that one.
    Adapt? Hmm…. Yes, I am adapting to holding separate accounts with my husband. It makes me jumpy when I see cash in his account that could be put towards our snowball. It makes me jumpy not to control that aspect of his anymore. I am learning to adapt and say I trust my husband with his money. Which I really do. :)
    .-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  8. says

    Hi Lean – It is funny, b/c we’ve all just been through a horrendous recession, and for the most part, we’re all still here!

    @Money Funk
    Inglorious Basterds was EXCELLENT! Phenomenal acting by the man who plays Hans Landa, the hunter. Trust your husband, just not when he goes with the guy to Vegas!

    That is so cool you have a old lawnmower you cherish! The older my stuff is, the more I appreciate them. We’ve got so much STUFF, it’s unbecoming. I like your Lemons to Lemonade series.

    Never been called a genius before, so thanks! Dumba**, yes, but never a genius.

    Nice! I remember being snowed in as well in NYC. Instant noodles for two days! haha. I can smell your baked goods now. Yum.

    @David @ MBA briefs
    David, did you know that Michael Jordan at 6″ 6 played at 200-205lbs for his decade+ career in the NBA? I keep thinking about that datapoint for some reason.

    Fast food is dangerous but so fast and cheap! I love my 1 dolla double cheesburger, I must admit.

  9. kosmo @ The Casual Observer says

    I think you’re overlooking the rather obvious meal – spaghetti with peanut butter sauce. I’m just sayin’ …
    .-= kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Pay Day =-.

  10. says

    Bon Appetit! Living in a tiny apartment, riding a bike everywhere, using public transit after having a car, and sweating all the time are things I’ve recently adapted to. That and eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches! I wonder what your combination mixed with a blender could have resulted in…
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Seeds of Knowledge 2.5.10 =-.

  11. Tracy says

    Peanut butter is something I always keep in the house, especially since it’s yummy and easy to make a meal with it. Since I started trying to live in a carefully designed budget, peanut butter in the pantry (and the fixins to make bread) can help a bunch. And somehow it’s one of those things that’s comforting to eat. Reminds me of being a kid, I guess. I love your attitude towards adapting to circumstances Sam. The truth is, we are really wealthy compared to the vast majority of people on earth, some of whom have never even savored the wonders of Jiffy.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Eco Fraud Friday: Energy, Food, Water =-.

  12. says

    The craziest thing I have ever seen one of my old basketball teammates do to make do was that he would take a package of raw hard ramen noodles and just break it into chunks and crunch away and eat it down and then follow it with a glass of water :) BTW it is also great to be reminded of how blessed we are to be able to do things like go out to eat or eat for pleasure rather than just to survive…
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Kwedit.com: Social Payment Network for Teaching Kids about Credit Use =-.

  13. Charlie says

    ah yes. I’ve had many a day when I don’t want to fork over another $35 on delivery, haven’t been to the grocery store in 2 weeks, and can hear my stomach growling from across the street. It’s a great way to go through that last can of soup I don’t like, the last bag of popcorn, and the half bag of stale saltine crackers that have been there for longer than I’d like to remember. I clean out the pantry, save money, and make room for the groceries I will eventually get around to buying.

  14. Suzan says

    If you can’t find anything to eat, you can fast for a day or two but don’t forget to drink WATER. You are actually taking a rare opportunity to cleanse your body.

  15. says

    Haha, so true. I did waste $5.24 this week and bought a PB&J for lunch just b//c of this post. I overpaid by $3.24 at least I think! Sometimes, ya just gotta treat yourself though.

    Kinda nuts to fork over $35 for delivery each time. Do it 3X and that’s $105 for the week. I said no no, can’t be spending money like that. We spent a big fat $0 on food instead, and felt better the next day.

    @Credit Card Chaser
    You know, in Japan there are actually rock hard instant noodles that can be consumed rock hard or boiled… but can’t find em here in Amerika. Yes, we are blessed we eat for pleasure instead of sustenance… something I should probably write more about.

    I might go crazy not eating anything for an entire day due to all the sports I play. But, I definitely find I fast a lot for half the day and just eat fruit and water.
    .-= admin´s last blog ..Someone Always Farts In A Crowd =-.

  16. Suzan says

    FS, Haha…I can’t fast because I love to eat. I don’t even do sports. I learned about fasting when I took some nutrition classes. I only have the experience of eating one meal a day because I was too busy. I always feel very good afterwards. NOT EATING ACTUALLY SAVED ME TIME and MONEY, too! Yes, we are so lucky to be living in America. But it will be good to fast (or go on fruit and water diet) once in a while. BTW, sleep does make me forget the hunger.

  17. says

    haha. Sounds like lunch today. We had a lot of snow and my wife normally does grocery shopping early Saturday mornings to beat the crowds. Instead we stayed in and cleared out the fridge. This works once and awhile, but it won’t do for Super Bowl Sunday! :)
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..How to Buy Super Bowl Tickets =-.

  18. says

    Some people go crazy without food, their tempers flare, and become impatient. You’re right, sometimes eating is a pain, and it’s great to save time and money not eating. We should probably just eat when we’re hungry, which would probably lower our caloric intake.

    Just got back playing 4 hours of tennis, squash, and working out! Hungry!

    Ah yes, SB Sunday should be fun! But, I think I’ll try and cut down on the intake for sure!

  19. Heye says

    Yeah. Story of my life. But as to not bore you with that particular story, I’ll sum up. I’m 17, I’ve moved 18 times, and my familys finances have never advanced over middle class income. We’ve had highs and lots of lows, and we’ve always made due with what we had. To be honest, looking back, I think I had a better childhood for having to use my imagination more. I can remember Friday nights when my parents would go out on a date to escape the stress; my sisters and I would rummage any goodies we could find. We always got creative with foods….unless we had mac ‘n cheese. Haha. As for every time we moved, that’s always been its own case of having to adapt. You have to when you go from a two-story house to a small one-room apartment or a hotel room. While it’s been hard, it’s also been of great benefit to me in many ways, and it’s been an adventure. If nothing else, it has taught me to adapt to wherever God leads me. And I’m thankful for that.

    • says

      Hi Heye, the ability to adapt is seriously one of the most important skills one can have. It will serve you well the older you get! Are you planning on going to college?

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