July first I had the revelation that I was tired of spending our money on things we don’t need. God blessed our family so we can be a blessing. If you haven’t read my post on intentional spending, you can find it here. So, what was the first month like?
Our family has decided to cut back, but for the first time spending less is out of love and a desire to give. That has made a big difference in attitude! When we realized that giving up things we don’t REALLY want can give a child food, it made us want to make do with less. Making these changes gives someone a chance at life and builds up our eternal rewards. When we get to heaven, God isn’t going to look us in the eye, and ask, “Were you happy?” He is going to want to know when we helped the least of these. His children.
Was this month difficult? At times, yes, just as any change is. On vacation we didn’t buy souvenirs and just left with our memories. Walking out of stores when I wanted something was disappointing for a minute. Then excitement kicked in. Because I didn’t buy that, we will be able to use that money in a good and lasting way. I found myself more at peace and more content.
As a family, we are attempting to cut back on food costs and eat out less. I am going to start having the girls help me cook so they have a vested interest in dinner. When we do eat out, we can order water instead of Coke. If the two of us aren’t that hungry, we can share a meal. (That hasn’t happened yet. We are always hungry!)
The new motto in this house is “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” So many purchases are not thought out, and that becomes very obvious when you start living this way. You start seeing your old self as wasteful. It is easy to be ashamed, but God just wants us to shake those chains off and live differently now. All it takes is seeing our mistakes and knowing there is freedom in saying “No.”
How have I been blessed so far? God is still in the business of providing what I want. I am throwing myself into this, and He has already rewarded me! When the girls start school next week, I plan on writing a book (not about intentional spending, yet.) I have thought about how there will be days I will want to write at Starbucks. I generally only go there when I have a gift card, and that will be especially true now that we are spending less. Then, two weeks ago, I found out I won a giveaway on a friend’s blog. It includes a $15 Starbucks gift card, which is about 5 or 6 trips for me. Wow! God loves to surprise us. Thank you Faith Along the Way!
How have we been a blessing? Well, my oldest has decided she wants to help kids who don’t have much. She has been doing chores and selling pictures she draws to family members to raise money to donate. We started a sponsorship with Compassion International. The girls picked Deborah from Togo, who is 5 and likes to sing and play with dolls. They can write to her and we will be praying for her. Last week we were also able to make a donation for a friend going to Haiti later this year. I didn’t have to wonder whether we have the money. We made that donation and it felt better than any other impulse purchase!
My family and I are working at this and reminding each other to stay on course. Last week I wanted to go to Dairy Queen until my darling child reminded me we have ice cream at home. My husband piped in with, “Yeah, Ms. Intentional Spending.” This week, he wanted to go out to eat but I said I had dinner planned. It takes sticking together and holding each other accountable. When one of us falls, we pick them up and keep going. This is a new way of life and our way to honor God with what He has given us.
Our new verses to keep with us always and soak in are 1 John 3:17-18:
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I am linking to Faith Along the Way for the Saturday Soiree blog party!