Bread and Water Can So Easily Be Toast and Tea

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by the author of What School Should Have Taught You: 75 Skills You’ll Actually Use in Life

Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.

This is an old British saying, if I’m remembering correctly, and though not English, I can get behind this adage.



Because I think there’s a lot of truth in it, and I think there is something here that the Frugalite can latch on to. Maybe you’re struggling with inflation, your bank or stocks have collapsed. All this has made it rather difficult to pay the bills, put the food onto the table that you’re used to, or has greatly limited the amount of driving that you’re willing to do and the forms of entertainment that you like. You’re used to being able to drive every weekend for an hour or two just to clear your head. You’re used to heading to Chili’s every Friday with your buddies. Spending a few hours at the café every week is just a part of your routine.

And now, because of all this going on in the world around you, you can’t afford to do that stuff anymore. You feel something like a prisoner that’s been reduced to the proverbial “bread and water.”

Your food options aren’t as exciting as they used to be, you don’t drive as much (because you can’t afford it), and whatever entertainment you have normally just happens at home. Bread. Water. It all seems kind of bland.

How can you improve your outlook?

But there are often things that we can do in life to make the most of the circumstances that we are in, and often it really doesn’t take much work at all. I’m not diminishing the fact that you’ve been potentially reduced to bread and water. That’s still a painful fact that nobody ever wishes were the case. It sucks, and when it comes about from other peoples’ actions, even more so.

Yet there are still things that can be done to improve the situation. How can you make toast and tea out of what you have at the moment?

We’ve covered this quite a bit here at The Frugalite before, and I highly recommend you take a look back through the archives for some help in this department.

  • Are your groceries feeling rather bland at the moment? Colette has written a series of great pieces looking at how you can make some awesome dishes with pantry staples. The world at large would consider pantry staples (which are relatively inexpensive) to be the “bread and water” part of that English proverb.
  • You have to have clothes. But if your budget has forced you to forgo the normal places that you like to shop for them, are there ways to still make toast and tea here?
  • Perhaps you can no longer afford to go play golf with your buddies every weekend, to get that daily cup of coffee from the café, or to go out to eat once a week with your family. Even your vacation seems to be impacted. Are there ways to make toast and tea here? Can we find other ways to make the best of what we do have? Are there other vacation options, other “fancy” meal options for your family that you can find, other ways to get that coffee fix, or ways that we can enjoy some of the luxuries of life albeit at a cheaper price?

I think so in just about every case mentioned above.

Family game and movie nights, homemade meals, mini-vacations, picnics, hanging out with friends and family – these are all just some of the cheaper options that we can use to make the most out of the time and money that we have to do something to build relationships without dropping a mint.

Life oftentimes requires creativity.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the gym, looking at income sources, paying off bills, or what. You often have to look at things through the lens of “what can I do to accomplish this with what I have at hand?”

So the next time that you find yet again that inflation has directly impacted your day-to-day life take a step back from the emotion of the situation to see if you can’t make toast and tea out of the situation. Yeah, you still won’t be having shrimp and wine – it’ll still be toast and tea – but you’ll have made a much better situation with what you have at hand. All it took was a little bit of mental prep work.

Make the most of your circumstances. If you can change your circumstances, sure, do it, but if you can’t? Well, then you may as well make toast and tea.

What do you think about all this? Do you try to keep this mindset? Are there ways that you apply it to your daily life that you think your fellow readers would benefit from knowing? Let us know in the comment section.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Bread and Water Can So Easily Be Toast and Tea
Aden Tate

Aden Tate

About the Author Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,,,, and Along with being a freelance writer he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

3 thoughts on “Bread and Water Can So Easily Be Toast and Tea”

  1. Mary from Texas

    I love eating salmon. Too expensive to eat often. However I can buy a can of salmon and make enough salmon croquettes for several meals. Not the same bit good enough.

  2. I really love that saying. Also, the best ways of turning nothing into something involve skills of some sort. Whether it’s taking a ratty old table and refinishing it into a thing of beauty, or making a beautiful loaf of bread out of a pound of old flour and some water, a person needs to have the skills in order to see the possibilities. So it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can! A great sense of curiosity helps too. The mindset of finding possibilities is so important and will carry a person far.

  3. I’ve been working extra and saving up for some hobby supplies. I had almost enough to start online shopping for linen and embroidery thread. Then this week’s financial news made that nonessential spending very unwise.

    I spent most of today trying to budget for staples I know are going to get much more expensive, replace some truly worn out essential clothing, and try to find cat food and litter. Oh, and I wasted way too much time whining to myself about unfairness, like a spoiled kid who’s been told Santa is taking this year off.

    Then I clicked on this article. Having breakfast in my nice warm kitchen while watching the squirrels chase each other is an amazing mini vacation. And we are still blessed with plenty of bread, butter, jam and tea.

    I need to get my head back on straight that not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a house, have enough food and clothing, or a computer with a wealth of low-cost entertainment on hand. I can rummage through the hobby supplies I have and make do until things are looking up again.

    Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. So much of enjoying life is about our attitude, not our bank account. I have some fabric and floss left, and “Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea” would be a great sampler project for the wall above the kettle. Thanks for reminding me that I already have what I need in so many ways!

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