Call me extreme, but it seems the modern consumer has gone full circle from the old adage "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

There was once a time when every man who owned a car was a mechanic, and every man who owned a house was a handyman. There was once a time when people bought things they intended to last for years if not longer, and they did the work to keep those things lasting. There was a time when waste was sinful, and kids who didn't clean their plates at the dinner table got a tongue lashing.

Now? You don't finish what's on your plate, and when you're done eating you throw the plate away too. Now no one knows how to paint or fix broken pipes or tune their car, and there's the general feeling that the people they hire to do these things for them are trying to screw them. Who trusts mechanics? Who doesn't complain about the exorbitant amount plumbers charge for two seconds with a wrench under the sink?

But even worse than that, we don't just throw away plastic plates and spoons and use disposable razors. Now cars and even houses are disposable. You get the most use out of them with the least cost, and when they fail you get a new one and try to dump the old one for as much as possible.

There was once a time when a person's house was their insurance policy. They kept it looking new so that if they ever fell on hard times, they could sell it for a profit and not be out on the street. Now you see people trashing houses they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for, and accepting a huge loss when they finally decide its time to upgrade.

The house I grew up in was just such a house. When my parents bought it, we spent the next few months tearing up carpets, painting rooms, putting in new fixtures, etc, simply because the quite wealthy people who'd owned the house before us had trashed it and then moved to a richer part of town and a mansion. My parents sold that house less than a month ago for more than double what they'd bought it for.

So isn't there at least a bit of common sense to the old sayings, a bit of wisdom to frugality and taking care of what you own? I sure believe there is.