Savvy = Resourceful

By Melissa Tosetti

I confess that I totally and completely threw my husband Paul under the bus.

About six weeks ago, my son Dante’s teacher told me her 4th grade class was going to do a play and asked if I would have an interest/ability in creating the set for the play which was based on the California Gold Rush.

My response: “No, but my husband Paul is an artist and I’m sure he can do it for you!”

And so, for the last few week’s, unusual sounds – and smells – have emanated from Paul’s workshop as he and Dante worked to transform various cardboard boxes, glue, duct tape and spray paint into a Conestoga wagon and a ship sturdy enough to survive the trip around Cape Horn.

In this day and age, Paul is someone who you would call a Maker. The title of Maker comes from a movement seen around the world popularized by Maker Fair.  Paul has always needed to “create” in one form or another – painting, drawing, sculpting and most recently, beside his work in cardboard, woodworking.

I’ve especially appreciated and benefited from his woodworking skills.  For Christmas, he built a bee box for me (talk about a project!) and he’s also built all the planter boxes that I use for vegetable gardening.

Anyone who is a crafter knows that the purchasing of materials can get addicting – and EXPENSIVE!  If you know a knitter, just ask her/him how much yarn they have in their yarn closet – addicting!

One of the elements I most love about the Maker Movement is that a large aspect of it is to use the material you already have on hand.  A conversation I had with my Dad about the props Paul and Dante made reminded me of this.  The cardboard was resourced with what Paul had on hand as well as what the school had in their Maker Room (Dante’s school is pretty awesome in that they have a Maker Program).

Those planter boxes that Paul made me?  All were built out of extra fence boards that we had on hand or from pallets retrieved from the cabinet maker housed next to Paul’s martial arts school.

The resourcefulness of Paul and other makers reminds me of my grandparents, aunts and uncles who grew up during the Depression and out of that experience, honed skills of being able to turn what they have on hand into what they need.  As a kid growing up on the same farm as my grandparents, I had the good fortune to see this first hand.

So, when starting your next project, before grabbing your keys and heading to Home Depot or Michaels craft store, first, check to see what you already have that might work.  You’ll save money and you’ll also clear some of that clutter… or what they call in the steampunk world, “obtainium”.

One final note, if you were driving down James Street in Redwood City at about 10:05 am last Wednesday, I’m so sorry!  The top of the Conestoga wagon wouldn’t fit inside my car and so we strapped it to the roof. We quickly discovered that despite securing it, we had to hold the front down with our hands as I drove 3 miles an hour toward Dante’s school and the awaiting stage.


Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 450 individuals and families to create Spending Plans.

Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page