I read an article in Real Simple about a man's adventure to go one week without spending a cent. It made me stop and think; always scary. He states, "Most of all, I miss the brief but potential fantasy that illuminates every cash transaction in our culture: that you can buy happiness."
Hmmm. I like to call myself "frugal." "A smart shopper." "Anyone who cares about their budget would shop this way." And for the most part, I think it's true.
I am nearly done Christmas shopping. Seriously. With six kids, I can't wait until December to start my shopping. Well, that's not true. I started last December. The 26th to be exact. And I haven't stopped shopping for my family. For our church auction. For our Friends Women Retreat auction. For birthdays. How does one get a $50 pair of 14k gold earrings for all of her daughters and nieces? By buying them at 75% off for $12.50, that's how. Yes, that's my secret. I shop sales, buy in bulk for the number I will need and keep a list of those gifts so I know what I have bought and for whom. Shhh. Don't tell them. They think I pay $50! Ha! Just kidding, I am very honest about how I shop - on sale. They know how they get awesome gifts that are worth a ton on my stay-at-home budget.
Oh, back to the article... I went a month without grocery shopping and tracked its progress here. I am sure I bought a little more going into the month and made up for it after the month ended but I really think I did a good job with what I wanted it to do accomplish - 1. Using up food we needed to eat. 2. Got away from all the convenient processed food and 3. Saved the grocery money for another debt. I wasn't asking someone else to buy our food as they guy in the above article did. I didn't get off from buying gifts or needed items. I wasn't a martyr.
Queries 14 and 15 address this for me:
Query 14 Are you careful to live within your income? Do you avoid involving yourself in business beyond your ability to manage or in highly speculative ventures? Are you willing to accept a lower economic standard rather than compromise Christian values?
Query 15 Are you honest and just in your dealings? Are you true to your promises, prompt in paying your debts, and responsible in handling money or property entrusted to you?
14 a. After bad choices with credit cards, my husband I had everything paid off and were able to save and now have the glorious mortgage payment. So, we try really hard to live within our income. We try really hard to only charge what we can pay off that month. Sometimes that happens - sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, we re-evaluate what went wrong and get back on course. b. Absolutely. We are very careful in business adventures. There is no such thing as "easy money." And if there is, we don't want any part of it! c. Yes, we do accept a lower economic standard compared to the world rather than compromise Christian values.
15. a I certainly hope so!! If we're not I hope someone tells us. b. So many questions in that last line of 15. I think I am true to my promises. We have tried, since committing our finances to the Lord to be very prompt in paying our debt. We have arranged payment dates and do our best to keep them. Sometimes, we're late. Just being honest. I think we are responsible in our finances and really do our best to be good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us. I'm not saying we don't fail. We do. Seeing where we went wrong and how not to repeat that is the growing step for us. Not allowing ourselves to get in over our heads is a big part of staying true to the course and always tithing, no matter how tight we have to cinch our belts. We have committed to the mind set that all is God's and he let's us keep 90%. Having that mind set really eases the tithe question - when it was a question. Thankfully, now, it's such a joy to tithe and watch God work wonders with the little He asks of me.
This topic was weighing on my mind as I read the article in Real Simple and then as I was reading the Queries. I don't pretend to have it all together. I am just trying to live within my means and trust God to provide all.
What's coming up? A boo hoo Mom post on how much she's missing her college boys!!!