And we’re back!!
It’s that special time of year when the shock of Christmas spending and January’s financial frivolousness hit like a ton of bricks. Andrew and I are “celebrating” our 2nd Annual Frugal February, the designated month for sticking to a no-frills budget in an effort to kick the newborn habit of extra spending. While December obviously calls for more out than in with cash flow – Christmas gifts, extra stamps for cards, plus all that food – we became pretty comfortable with it and so didn’t pay quite as much attention to our January books. I’ve looked over our February budget with the tightest scrutiny and after we gave every penny a purpose, we’re holding each other accountable and sticking to it. I know it’s only the 4th, but so far so good! We’ve been mostly obedient to our self-set limitations over the past few months, and it’s amazing how freeing it is. AND, the beautiful beautiful excitement is that after several months of gazelle intensity, we will finally be debt free NEXT MONTH.
I make no secret of the fact that I love money. Not in a sinful, 1 Timothy 6:10 sort of way, but with an enthusiastic because-I-now-know-how-to-use-it approach. I get a kick out of talking budgeting with just about anyone because, like any conversion story, I relish in conveying hope to those whose shoes I once occupied. When it comes to personal finance, one of the most common complaints/obstacles I hear is that trying to get out of debt is daunting and unaffordable; that imagining a mountain shrinking to nothing is crazy or that people just don’t have the extra cash to chip away at debt. But SHOOT – we’re a single-modest-income family and we’re achieving what we thought was impossible with discipline, communication, and accountability. Married or single, you can find a like-minded person to support you along the Penny Pinchin’ Path (I’ve volunteered to be a long-distance cheerleader for my best friend in the Midwest). A proud advocate of Dave Ramsey’s approach to money, I recall to others (and myself) that personal budgeting is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. Master yourself and you’ll master your cash, too.
I could go on and on about money saving tips, what tools we use, or our own personal finance plan, but really the best part of money is God. It’s through God’s gifts and graces that Andrew is able to earn income from a responsible place of business, that we are able to manage it, and most definitely that we’re able to communicate and remain on the same page. Without God, our books would be a disaster and we’d be in a terrible mess; goodness, sometimes the mess comes anyway, but practicing prudence and seeking wisdom through prayer, sacrifice, and trimming the fat from our budget always seem to bring us back. I think that’s why I was so scared of money until I learned about it – it’s not just reading up, taking notes, or even practicing good financial principles; I also I had to offer everything I had to Christ and understand that I didn’t need heavenly guidance with my money, I need guidance in being a good steward of what is his. Finances tend to be a huge aspect in the life of any person – single or married – but so often we forget to pray about it until we’re desperate and drowning. No wonder people are intimidated by it – even if you’re praying the middle of a storm, you’re still panic-stricken by the surrounding unrest. Pray for wisdom when things are calm and you’ll have nothing to fear when disaster strikes.
I found this page on Money Tips from God from Focus on the Family. Don’t miss this terrific, scripture-based advice. Truly, it’s the only way to go!