Life is about seasons. Finances seem to be no different. Sometimes things roll along just fine; other times are a struggle.
I’ve been in both worlds and I’m grateful that God has given our family a happy, healthy outlook on living within our means.
To “live within your means” requires you to spend less than the amount of money you bring in. It’s easier said than done and has nothing to do with the amount of your income.
Here are some thoughts regarding this freedom:
We have experienced over and over again the power of trusting God with our finances by giving a tithe or more to the kingdom work through the church. I don’t fully understand it, but as we faithfully give at least ten percent of our income to the Lord, we’re never able to outgive God.
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I have always enjoyed “free” things. It’s fun to see what is free in the world and participate in it! Some of my favorites are lunch punch cards, app discounts, coupons, oil change cards, contests, parks, trails, drawings, and customer appreciation events. We also enjoy short trips to visit places we’ve never seen. We pack a lunch and go, experiencing attractions like the Popeye Statues in Chester, Lincoln’s family home in Lerna (or any of the Lincoln sites), Pere Marquette or any of these 30 Midwest stops. Many of life’s most memorable times are free: picnics, hikes, art, walks, museums, parks, game nights, sunsets, etc. Contentment is the key. Enjoy free.
I once wrote about “Frugal Extravagance.” It’s the idea that we can be over the top with things like listening, loving, time, social media comments and encouragement, and other things that require no money. When we are extravagant with our time in listening and connecting with others or serving those around us, our lives are filled.
You can be resourceful and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. What do you have in your possession? My Granny has a sign in her kitchen that says, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It’s surprising how resourceful you can be when it’s a challenge. Of course, there is a difference between frugal and cheap; you need to buy some things, but there is a very popular movement among Millennials to spend as little as possible!
Advertising, though a fun and creative industry, is all about making the general population feel discontent. If you don’t have *this*, you’re nothing, you’re not living, and you’re not normal. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of the constant barrage of commercials and ads. Since we don’t have a television in the house – we rarely see commercials. If I am watching TV somewhere and have the remote, I always mute commercials. I also mute YouTube ads and other app pop-ups. It’s hard not to see ads which are everywhere. But do your best to not buy things you don’t need. Which leads me to…
If You Don’t Have Money, Don’t Buy It.
I’m not a financial expert by any stretch and I haven’t always been the best at keeping this mindset. If you don’t have money, don’t buy it. This requires discipline and new habits. It also helps you prioritize the most important things.
Use these ideas to enjoy the freedom of living within your means! It’s really relaxing once you get the hang of it!
“Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.”John Wesley