When I was taking my Interior Design classes in college, in one of my classes I was given a special project. We were to go downtown shopping. We were to buy something for a small amount of money. It could be anything, but it had to be able to serve 3 purposes.
It was interesting to see all different objects people purchased, and their explanations on how they could be used. Most of all, it was a great lesson in creativity and versatility.
I call it Rule of Three. If you can find three uses for something you want to buy, it will never be wasted.
Our pioneer ancestors, who had to be frugal by necessity, followed this rule. Everything in their home was used, worn out, or recycled, and served as many purposes as possible.
An example of this is their eating table. It was called their Harvest Table. The wood was only finished nicely on one side. They did this so that in fall, when crops came in, they could take table outside, turn it over, and place their precious bounty of crops on it for sorting and cutting.
We do not face same challenges as our ancestors. However, we have our own obstacles to rein in our spending. We are bombarded from every direction with temptations to overspend and go into debt.
One of easiest ways to waste money is in needless, or impulse spending on clothing. Our society is extremely visual. We place far too much importance on our looks and clothing. Trying to keep up with fashion is very expensive.
However, with proper planning, we can keep this expense down. A few well-chosen clothes can go a long way. For instance, if you buy a dress, there is not a lot of versatility. However, if you buy a sweater, you can find many uses for it. You can wear it casually with pants, or dress it up with a skirt. It can also just be worn for warmth. It meets Rule of Three.
An object like a glass bowl has many uses. You can use it for food, either serving or preparation. You can fill it with fruit and use it decoratively on your countertop or table. You can fill it with potpourri. You can even throw up in it when you are sick!
Same thing for a simple basket. I'm sure you could come up with a dozen uses, from yarn to bills, magazines to food, floral arrangements to endless storage ideas. What could be more versatile?