Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making friends with frugality

One of the biggest changes I hope to make in the coming year, is to change my attitude towards, and my relationship with money. I have to honestly admit, I'm bad with money, I don't manage it well at all. I get excited to have a little "extra" and just as quickly as it comes, it goes.

Spending money makes us feel good. It gives us a little instant gratification and it makes us feel like we "have", like we're doing okay, like we're keeping up with our anonymous competitors in life.

But when its gone, or when its low, money can make us feel horrible. It can make your stomach turn, it can give you headaches, it can make you feel uncertain and genuinely afraid. Being careless with money can really make your life harder then it needs to be, and I would really like to see me become a better steward of our assets in the new year.

So, what does that look like? How do we stop caring about what we want to have, and start being really content with what we already have? I guess the most basic thing to do would be to stop and think about that, think about what we already have, and maybe frame it up next to some other people or populations who have so much less, and who would already think we're rich, just the way we are. I wonder where the drive to have more comes from? Is it a cue from society, or is it something built into the core of our human nature? Why do we need to acquire so much STUFF? It stresses us out anyway, when we look around us and there's stuff everywhere, we trip over it, and have no place to put the new stuff because the old stuff is in the way, stuff is annoying! I'd love to become a minimalist, I'd love to pare down and get back to basics, and start enjoying a more organized, simple life.

So, that's on the top of my new life renovation project! Stop being reckless with our funds!

And, because I'm trying to do this all on the "rock", this posting would be incomplete without considering the bible and what God has to say about how we manage our money, so here it is.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 says:

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

As long as our focus is on money, and on the things money can buy, then we'll never have enough and we'll always feel dissatisfied, and that's not good. I want to live my life with a sense of quiet satisfaction. I want to sit back and look at my home around me and feel genuinely pleased with what I have and how I got it. I want to look around me and feel like all I have it all I need. I want to love what I have and dream about ways to enjoy it, rather then fantasize about what I don't have and what I can sacrifice to get it.

So, a plan for the new year would involve this. Stop spending! Stop making unnecessary purchases on credit. Stop any form of retail therapy, shopping just because it makes us feel better, and start being smart about our finances.

I will follow a budget, a carefully laid out budget.

I will grocery shop better and make better use of the food we already have.

I will make comfort foods from scratch rather then ordering in.

I will make better use of my creative gifts, using them to either make homemade gifts, or for income, like selling paintings again.

I will respect my limitations.

I will take regular inventory of what I already have, and count my blessings.

I will think of creative ways to spend time with my husband, and creative ways to spend time together as a family, that do not involve going out and spending money.

I will make a point of teaching my kids (and reminding myself) to take good care of our things, because misusing them and having to replace them means spending money we could be saving.

I will apply Dave Ramsey's money makeover principals and will start working on our debt snowball.

I will clean the house and start a big garage sale stash, for a big sale in the spring, and apply the proceeds to paying down debt.

I will help my husband financially, by trying to bring in extra money, but also by helping him spend the money we do have wisely. I will reign in my need to have little pick me ups here and will do my best to be content, so that he can be content as well.

I'll be thankful each and everyday for what I have and will trust that even when it feels scary, even when money is super tight and we've got knots in our stomachs, that God is taking care of us, because he always does. I will trust that God has a plan for us and that he will guide us through these tough times.

So, that's what's weighing on my mind today. Debt is weighing me down. Lack of money makes me feel sick. I hate feeling like we're just teetering on the edge, I want security and contentment, not more stuff!

I think if I got this checked off my to do list, a lot of other things would follow. If we got our finances in better order, I think I'd find that I have more time with my kids and my husband, and less strain in our marriage, and in fact, more money for when we really need it.

No time like the present to get started on this one. We've just got to keep it in our minds, we have to be conscious of how we use money to make us feel good and feel taken care of, but its misguided thinking that just leads to dissatisfaction in the future.

Money and things do NOT make us feel good, but family and friends and relationships, real and authentic relationships, make us feel very good, and cared for, and at the core of it all, are all that really matters.



mommie43 said...

Katie this is so true about, how we try to let money controll us instead of letting God do his work on us.

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