10 Things Thursday
We all know that as I grow in my skill of homemaking, and that since I am currently a working mom, I have much to learn in this department, especially since I don't take care of our home finances. But 10 Things Thursday today is about money - in a good way.
- Save your change. My husband is much better at this than I am. But...over the past year, we (mostly he) have saved up about $120 in change. We are using it to go to Staunton again for our anniversary this weekend, and I am so excited! We are staying at a cute little B and B and going to see Comedy of Errors at the Blackfriars! Of course, we will probably also eat at our anniversary restaurant, Shenendoah Pizza. Hooray, saving change!
- Use your change. This is what I do, especially since we switched over to Dave Ramsey's envelope system for most of our budget. When I pay with exact change (like I always swore I would never do when teenage me saw my mother digging in her change purse for correct change), then I get even cash back to put back in the appropriate envelope. Yay! Charlotte will probably roll her eyes at me about it one day (behind my back, NOT to my face), but I would rather get that 6 cents out of my purse than get 4 pennies back.
- Budget money for yourselves. Adam and I each get $40 a month for miscellaneous items that are just for us. He can buy a magazine, comics or save up for a video game. I can buy a new hair clip, a book, a candle, something for Charlotte or save up for a new Vera bag. We both use our money when we meet with our mentors/mentees. We can grab breakfast on a late morning. It gives us flexibility and avoids us feeling trapped in a budget where we can't ever buy anything for ourselves. It also makes us save if we want something big, and that makes the reward that much sweeter.
- Tithe. No, really. There is, in my mind (and I'm pretty sure in scripture), no excuse for not tithing. Period. Tithe consistently and give sacrificially more. If this is a problem for you, think about the fact that all you have is from the Lord. Your skills, your education, the ability you have to work and the job that you have, whether you like it or not, is all a gift from God. The money is already His, and He has blessed you with it. How much of it will you return to Him for His work? Will you be obedient to His command?
- Donate stuff you don't use. Okay, this isn't a strictly money comment, but hear me out. There are times when we feel like we should be contributing more to the "greater good," whatever that means; for example, events like the year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake or the Arizona shooting that just happened remind us to care for one another. I don't know about you, but for our family, the thought of contributing even $20 extra a month to a certain cause/charity is very daunting. But, I can go through our home and donate items we don't use. Clothes and decor can go to Goodwill, books can go to the library, and junk can go in the trash. Not only are you helping someone else in need (and taking care of local people), but you are also caring for your home in purging it of clutter. Have something more specialized (like Charlotte's old braces)? Find a charity online for them. Or, if you're crafty, find a way to donate your craft (see one such knitting charity here.)
- Don't be prideful about where you shop. This is a tough one for me, and I've learned to kind of embrace it. I call the Dollar Tree (the dollar store where everything still is a dollar!) my home decor superstore because that is where I get many of my decorations. Goodwill is hit-or-miss, but I've been very successful lately at Marshall's for decorating our bedroom. I bought a big Yankee Candle this weekend in a scent called Cinammon and Sugar (yum!!) for $10 that would have cost $24 for the same size. Oh, and who doesn't know that my absolute favorite store to go into is...Once Upon a Child. I cannot even describe my joy upon walking into this store!
- To piggyback on the previous one, sometimes it takes a lot of work to find the best deals. I was gone for two and a half hours on Sunday during Charlotte's nap shopping for stuff for our bedroom, and I came home with about four things. I know that Adam thought to himself, that's it? That took you two and a half hours? But I searched for good deals where I went, and if there weren't any, I left empty-handed. And you know what, ladies? That's what we are called to do - dig through bins and shelves to find the best deal and not rest until we find it!!
- Give simple gifts. It is very easy to get wrapped up in dollar amounts when trying to give someone a gift. I am guilty of this - trying to spend the amount that shows how much I treasure a specific person. This is so foolish! Sometimes good gifts are expensive, but oftentimes, they can be simple, well-thought out or homemade. Listen, I'm a working wife and mother, so I'm not going to tell you to get all crafty for people's birthday gifts, but it's not always a bad idea. I like to knit anyway, and I'm currently working on a gift for...oops, I can't tell you. :)
- Use the library. I know, I know, this is a complete duh thing to add to this list, but don't you know it took me about five years of marriage to remember that the library was my all-time favorite place as a kid?! I love the library! The best part about it, besides the fact that it's free, which really is the best part, is that you can rent movies. Movies for adults, movies for kids, random documentaries that you would probably never watch in a million years but end up being pretty interesting. I also love checking out cookbooks; if there are no good recipes in the book you checked out, you're not out $25. Just take it back and....wait for it....get another one! Or get a book on cleaning or organizing or decorating. Learn to make your home cleaner, prettier or smoother-running. All for free. :)
- Keep your ultimate goal(s) in mind. I want to be a stay-at-home mom. We know this. But for the time being, that goal is nowhere in sight. But, I can still learn to be frugal, how to coupon and shop, budget and save money here and there. I can grab a snack or drink on the way home from school without blowing our budget. Or, I can find a cheaper substitute I can bring with me to school so I won't feel tempted. I am very easily discouraged (Brit can tell you) when I mess up my amazing plan just ONCE. Don't get discouraged if you mess up your plan once. Just don't keep doing it, and keep your eyes on the big picture! :)
Soli Deo Gloria!