Research on the post-socialist lived experience of the working poor often focuses on reciprocity and economic survival. It is equally important to examine how social networks facilitate self-provisioning and mutual-aid practices for non-subsistence consumption (decorative, non-utility items) in the face of material want. The ethnography presented here of manufacturing workers in a Russian province shows how self-resourced homemaking and decorative practices, after MacIntyre (1981), constitute an ‘internal good’ – a social activity valued for itself as much as the domestic production it results in. This good is important for workers’ mutual recognition as providers and their status as sufficiently resourceful subjects suitable for inclusion within a social network – itself an important resource for the working poor. The network provides opportunities for alternatives to consumption outside the market economy. Worker identities at work cannot be detached from those at leisure and at home, and even the meaning of the workplace is problematized by its special place within the network.