Friday, April 24, 2015

The NUMBER ONE Way I Save Money!


We live quite frugally... and we have a large family... a family that eats A LOT. :)  We also have 2 girls and 4 boys... and the boys tend to use up their clothes SO much faster than the girls do, which results in more expense to replace jeans with the knees worn out and other worn out clothing. 

We do a lot of laundry here... we have traveled much for surgery for Son #2 several years ago... and he needed lots of medical supplies that the insurance didn't cover, and there have been many other financial drains.  All that to let you know that I am being real when I say that we have made a tight budget work. 

I have had many people ask me "HOW can you make it?" "What is your secret?".  There are lots of little things I can, and do, tell them... things that have helped me save money, but those things ARE little things... they add up, but they aren't big. I have thought it through to try to figure out how we are able to save or not spend money and that is what I want to share in this series.

I have been asked, many times, to share how we do this, so I am starting a series on Saving Money and this is Part 1.  I think sometimes when people ask me this question, they are wanting a quick 2-minute magical answer that will solve all of their money problems and allow them to buy whatever they want.

Saving money is important... my husband works hard and I do not want to squander what he makes and what God provides.
 

There are so many ways to save money... to make the money stretch further.... so many things that contribute to staying within our budget. Some of them are bigger than others... and some of them are very little by themselves, but all together... it works.

It's really not a magic thing... there are some methods to it, but nothing really big... and probably almost anyone can save some money with a few changes, unless they already live very frugally.


So.... the Number One way I save money is: I have decided....
 To be content with what I have.

  You may be thinking, "What?? I wanted practical tips...  I don't want to change anything."  Okay... I do understand...  and I will be giving practical tips also.... but seriously... being content with what we have, really has saved us more money than ANYTHING else!


 I told my husband I was writing this Saving Money Series and that this first post was to be about the #1 way I save money. I asked him what he thought number one was. He immediately said, "Going to garage sales."  That certainly does save a lot... but when I told him my thought was that being content with what I have is the biggest help, he quickly agreed and was totally in favor of that as number one. I appreciated running it by him and having his approval on it in case I had missed something.

 You probably wonder how just being content could be that big of a deal. 

We usually have a garage sale about twice a year... and we get so many of the same people every year that we enjoy catching up a bit with them. :) They have watched our children grow up during those twice a year visits. We have tried to show Jesus to them... and God has ministered to us and to those who come. Some of our "regulars" have died, some new people have become "regulars".... but there is a sense of meeting our friends at our garage sale. :)
 

We had one lady who came to every garage sale... and she always bought a LOT... not such a huge dollar amount, but she bought lots of stuff. We LOVED seeing her come... and she was so friendly too... we enjoyed it. We always helped to load her car and we wondered why she bought so much... she never told us. The last time I saw her a few years ago, she also bought a lot of stuff, but she had my husband and sons help her to pack it into the trunk so her husband wouldn't find it. I encouraged her to not buy the stuff if he would disapprove, that we shouldn't try to deceive our husbands, but she laughed and said it would be fine.. he wouldn't see it right away. I felt so sad... and grieved over that. I know that many people find their happiness in things... and I suspect she is one of them. There is no real happiness in that and I suspect her marriage is in big trouble... if she is still even married... and I am sad for her and her family.
I have seen people pay WAY too much for a hoodie while with friends... because friends were putting on pressure... or the person wants to measure up to those friends I have seen people go into debt to be admired.  I have seen people lose their homes and their families because of a love for things or something more than they have. 

We are given many messages of looking out for ourselves.....  getting what we want....  not being satisfied.
I have seen people who feel they will never be good enough because they can't afford the things other people have or go out to eat or do other entertainments. I have seen people who are perpetually disgruntled and think no one likes or respects them because they can't buy all of the latest things. What terrible lies we sometimes choose to believe!


There is something very freeing about not trying to "keep up with the Jones' "   When we decide to accept what God gives us and be thankful, we can stop comparing... stop looking to see if my stuff is as good as "theirs".... we can  relax and  enjoy those blessings without always wanting more or better. We can stop feeling deprived.

Years ago, I started to pray about the things we needed ... and I kept a Garage Sale Prayer List .  You can read it here if you like:  My Garage Sale Prayer List   I learned to wait...  and God provided... or helped me to do without the item. :)  I saw Him provide so many things that were just what I wanted or needed.... He still does that.  I have also determined to wait for Him to provide... whether for free or cheap or after He allowed us to save enough money..... and I learned to be open to the idea that He might say "No" and would give me the grace to do without it. 

We live in a middle class house and neighborhood...  we drive vehicles that are 12-15 years old... we get much most of our furniture used... also clothes, books, household items and more. We have nice things... and we have things we would like to replace... when God allows. :)  I don't want to live my life feeling grumpy for having to do without a new refrigerator or stove or whatever... I will not stay grumpy until I get it... NO, that is just plain sin...  I am choosing to be content. and I recognize that we are greatly blessed. We have so much to be thankful for.


That means that if money is too tight, I won't get my hair cut... or I will do it myself. It means that if money is tight, I won't buy cheese or peanut butter or whatever isn't a necessity... but I will be thankful for what I do have. 

 Lest this sound frivolous, we have had times years ago, where there was no money for groceries... and a bag of groceries given kept us from going hungry. Even then, the mac and cheese in the bag was made with only water... no milk or butter since we didn't have those at the time and no money either. We were thankful, although I would never choose to eat mac and cheese that way!!!  

It means that I can make do with what I have...  like the people who lived through the Depression, say....
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. 
I would add that we can be thankful while doing it.

So, anyway... are there areas where you could learn to be content with what you have? Maybe you already are and reading this makes you feel guilty for wanting a new stove or something you really need. By the way, my stove recently started having trouble... it has 4 burners, but the 2 large ones and 1 small one no longer work or they don't work correctly. With a large family, we are down to only 1 little burner!!!  I would REALLY like to get a new stove and that is okay, especially since we also figured out that the oven isn't heating right either.  Guess what is on my prayer list?  :)  We have used it this way for 2-3 weeks, but my husband has now said we can get a new one... we just need to find the time to shop for one.  There are things that SHOULD be replaced.  If you are interested, you can read about that on this post:  Frugal? or Cheap?  

We live in a land of plenty... and compared to most of the world, we are very rich in material things....  so why do we feel we need so much more? How many more new things would it take for us to be... happy? Those things will never make us happy.... since it always takes... a little more... and there is no real satisfaction in things. Things can be nice... and enjoyed... but they do need to be kept in perspective... we are to USE things, not LOVE them.  
 
Food for thought... Are we thankful for what we have? Are we content? 

Thank you for visiting my post today... and I will be sharing practical money saving tips in future posts. I hope you will visit again and I look forward to reading your comments.  :)






Saving Money Series:
The Number One Way I Save Money!

Saving Money-Part 2-Grocery Shopping

Saving Money-Part 3-Buying Used


Shared on:

Thrifty Thursday Link Party

Dishing It and Digging It
Snickerdoodle
Simple Saturdays
Friday Frivolitiy
Friday Family Link Up
Blogger's Pit Stop
Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party
Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Share Your Cup Thursday
Home and Garden Thursday
Paula's No Rules Weekend Party
Vintage Charm
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Writer Wednesday
Penny Pinching Party
Homemaking Link Up
Wednesday AIM Link Party
Homestead Blog Hop
Talk of the Town
Wow Us Wednesday
Tuesdays With a Twist
Tuesday Talk
Inspire Me Tuesday
Tuesdays At Our Home
Inspire Me Monday
Cooking and Crafting w/ J and J
Modest Mom Monday
Art of Homemaking Monday










64 comments:

  1. I am not a big spender. There are a lot of things that people think are vital, but we can live without them without problems. Shopping mindfully is key. #blogbooster3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True... there are so many things we can live without, but we have come to expect that we HAVE to have them. We are not big spenders either...sometimes that means making a conscious choice NOT to buy.. :) Thank you for visiting

      Delete
  2. Love the post! Many do have a difficult time differentiating between wants and needs.
    #ibabloggers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it can be hard.... but it is so important. Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  3. Great post! I really like your quote, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that also... there is a lot of truth in it also and it is contrary to what most believe. Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  4. Thank you for taking the time to write a post full of some of the greatest truth you will hear on this subject. "Godliness with contentment is great gain". Being content and thankful for the things that we have make us appreciate them more too. Our vehicles are all "ancient", but well maintained, and run well. All our clothes and furniture come from thrift stores. A store in town sells clearance discounted groceries from which I buy our dairy products (not expired). We eat all our leftovers, and I get creative in finding ways to remake our leftovers and stretch them. We almost never eat out. I make my own bread, cleaning products, and many toiletries. We are thankful for the many blessings that the Lord has given us! Like you, if I "need" something, almost always I'll find it at a thrift store or garage sale. The Lord takes care of us in amazing ways! I enjoyed this post very much, and you have written great truths for anyone who cares to listen! Blessings to you and your family today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is so nice to see that there are others who do these things... they are not always easy to do, and yet, they become good habits also... and I do not feel deprived... and I would deal with it if I did since that would be a problem with not being content! :) Your discounted grocery store sounds great.... we go to a Mennonite store about twice a year, when we visit family and are able to benefit from a similar store.. and it does help a lot. Thank you for your wonderful comment and for all of the ways you enjoy God's blessings and are thankful for them. :)

      Delete
  5. Very good post! Our dear friends just returned from a missions trip to a very poverty-stricken country/area. The things they told us about these dear people's living conditions was nearly unbelievable. We are SO blessed here in America, and it seems that more people have, the more they want. I believe excess breeds discontent. I think often of where the Apostle Paul said he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. God help us to do the same! Thank you for sharing your heart here. I look forward to the future posts on this subject. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that excess breeds discontent... and I think boredom does also... it seems that "work" has become an unpleasant word... we usually do not have to work all day to feed ourselves any more.. which leaves an awful lot of time to be "bored" if we are not careful. I think of people who have had to work hard only to survive.. .not thrive financially like we do in our country. It is so easy to be infected with the ailment of "MORE" and let it start to rule us. I can imagine that the people in that poverty stricken country would be so thankful .. .for the things we tend to complain about. It is sobering.

      Delete
  6. An excellent share on contentment and wisdom of balance. Thanks for sharing these things with Fridays Blog Booster Party where we appreciate everyone helping each other.
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... both are so important. Thank you for the wonderful blog party... I appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  7. Contentment is truly key, and it sure takes constant vigilance to maintain. Learning how to re-use or repurpose what we already have available is a terrific skill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really does take constant vigilance... it is so easy to miss an area where we have started to grumble in our spirit... and that poison grows so quickly. Search me, O God and know my heart... try me and know my thoughts....

      Delete
  8. Thanks so much for this post - we have been on a budget diet for the last six months when some funding that we were used to getting dried up and I will tell you it has been tough at times but I also will say that I've learned a lot !!! We have not bought anything that wasn't absolutely necessary. And what surprised me was that there are so few things that we absolutely needed. Our six months are about done and our money will start flowing again in about 3-4 weeks. We haven't gone hungry, all our bills got paid, we have clothes to wear and a warm cozy house to live in. I've been really, really blessed !!!! Maybe we will go celebrate with a $1 ice cream cone LOL !!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you!!!! :) I have had the thought that I think it is wonderfully valuable for every family to go through a time where they suffer financially for a time. God teaches so much about trusting Him and what things we really need. I know I sure appreciate being able to afford to buy different groceries after some of the lengthy times we couldn't afford to buy anything. When we always have so much, it is easy to take it for granted. I suspect you may find it easier to say no to some things when the money is flowing again... and maybe add to savings or emergency money. Though difficult, I am sure these days of learning to live on less will be remembered by you. :) Thank you for visiting and sharing.

      Delete
  9. LOVE this post! I have written a bit about this subject on my blog, too. You and I think very much alike.

    Choosing to be content and deciding not to keep up with the Jonses seems challenging at first, but the blessings are unnumerable.

    May He continue to fill your cup to overlfowing!

    ~Heather @ My Overflowing Cup (visiting from the Soriee Link-up)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure can be challenging, but how nice when we see the Jones as friends, neighbors, family... rather than competitors. :) Thank you for visiting.. it was so nice to hear from you.

      Delete
  10. It seems to me that the more thankful I am, the less needy I feel. Can't wait to read the rest of the series as they come up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is SO true... I feel the same way... as if when I am feeling needy, some new "thing" will fill that need... such a lie from the enemy. Thank you for visiting... I appreciate your comment. :)

      Delete
  11. This is such good advice, especially for a family. I've loved to shop in the past but now I feel overwhelmed by all of the cheap items in the big stores. Buying a lot of cheap things adds up to a lot of money....that is wasted. I had rather shop at my thrift store and get a good deal. Keep up the good work! Hugs, Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you.. much of the stuff in dollar stores is junk... and even in many other stores, the quality is poor... the items don't last long and need to be replaced soon.... and I don't want that stuff in my home. I would rather have better items... and less of them. :) Thrift stores are a great place to shop. :) Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  12. That is so true: be content with what you have!
    And I always buy the pure and natural basic food, thats much more cheaper.
    Love to read your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is cheaper to buy basic and cook from scratch. :) Being content is a challenge sometimes, but it is so worth it... both in obedience to the Lord and in not spending as much. :)

      Delete
  13. Hello, This post was in the TOP SIX most clicked in last Fridays Blog Booster Party. You will get special mention. It was also shared on Pinterest and Facebook. Well done.
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! What a fun surprise. :) It is a topic most of us are pretty interested in... especially the way the prices of groceries and other things keep rising. Thank you. :)

      Delete
  14. Oh sweet friend, how I appreciated this post! We live where "things" are always available and right at our fingertips and it's easy to be pulled into thinking we "need" it when in reality we don't. I love how you said it's wise to live frugally and you have reminded me of how important it is to be content... Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this post with Roses of Inspiration. You are a joy and blessing. Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a very sweet and precious comment!!! :) These lessons are some we seem to need to learn again and again sometimes, aren't they? I know God keeps teaching me. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)

      Delete
  15. This was a great post! I enjoyed reading it and it really gave me reason to pause and think about my own spending habits. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome and I am so glad you stopped by and commented... I think we face so many temptations in our culture to overspend... it is good to pull back and evaluate sometimes. :)

      Delete
  16. Such a thoughtful response and so very true. My number one problem is honoring the family budget, but I am praying that The Lord help me be faithful in this area. Thank you for the sweet reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does take attention to the budget and to our responsibilities, doesn't it? I do know that God has promised to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory... That is great to ask Him to help you to be faithful in this area... He has ways of using His still small voice to direct us. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  17. I think that this is some of the best money ~ and life ~ advice I have ever heard. I try to tell my kids this all the time, we don't really need stuff, most of it is "wants" that don't make you happy in the long run. Plus, the more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to manage and pay for. Excellent thoughts and common sense wisdom (which is severely lacking in our culture of excess), thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the encouraging comment.... true that the more stuff you have the more it controls you... we don't always realize that... I know I want to pare things down... get rid of more things that we do not need... it will honor the Lord and it will allow my focus to be clearer, I think. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  18. This is a great post and I think you hit number one right on the head. Being content with what we have is so important and we should be trying to keep up with others. Most of our furniture is second hand, our carpet is stained in our lounge room and we don't have money for new carpet, but it's ok, people come to see us (hopefully) and not our perfect house. We are happy and content and that is important. Thanks for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays and I am looking forward to your next post. Blessings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... it is so easy to try to keep up with others... one of satan's traps and we easily fall into it. Being content is certainly important... not content because we get everything we want, but content because God gives us everything we need. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  19. I love this wisdom! It's so true that we can do without many things we think we need! I've stopped shopping for fun and if I absolutely need somethings, I try not to look or browse around. When I am removed from that situation, I am less likely to be discontent with what God has given me. You're featured this week at the Sat. Soiree! Thanks for joining the fun each week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... I have found it true that I am more content with what I have when I am not looking around at what others have. It takes discipline, but it is also so very freeing to just be thankful and not fretting and wanting more. :) Thank you for the feature. What a blessing... I sure appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  20. Wise words! I couldn't agree more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.... not very popular ones in our culture, but I really believe them. :)

      Delete
  21. It sure is easy to get caught up in trying to "keep up with the Jones" But there is so much wisdom in just being content with what God has provided you with. Great post! Thanks for linking up #BigTopBlogParty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It IS easy to do that.... so easy... yet it is just a trap of the enemy. There really is nothing like obedience to the Lord. :)

      Delete
  22. Beautifully written! It is amazing how many things are really wants and not needs when you start saying no because things are not in the budget. I have seen contentment grow and materialism decrease the longer I live on a budget. My perspective has grown to look more at the future compared to the temporary satisfaction of the purchase before me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true.... and I find that the more I am keeping my eyes on Christ, the more I don't need those temporary satisfactions of buying something. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  23. This is a tip you don't hear every day! I completely agree with you, this is the best way to save! I've been on a pretty tight budget right now since my fiancé and I are planning our wedding and hoping to buy a house soon. There are definitely things that I need, and I fit that into the budget. But I always ask myself if I really NEED whatever it is I want to buy. I might need a new swim suit since the elastic on mine is almost shot, but I can live without that new sundress. Thanks for sharing this with Hump Day Happenings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a blessing it will be to go into marriage already having learned that lesson!!! So many do not and money problems are huge in marriage problems. Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  24. I just discovered your lovely blog and so enjoyed your encouraging words of wisdom.
    Have a blessed day.
    Shirley in Virginia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a beautiful comment.... thank you so much for your encouraging words... they have ministered to my heart today. :) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  25. Great tips, Joy! Yes, being content with what we have is really the key.
    I'm visiting today from Wednesday AIM party and it's nice to meet you.
    ~ Megin of VMG206

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is nice to meet you also! Contentment is quite rare... and discontentment is promoted often by advertisers.... but most of us have all we need... and also much of what we want.... regardless, we should be content. :) Thank you for visiting....

      Delete
  26. Some great tips. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... I appreciate your visit. :)

      Delete
  27. It's brilliant! So simple. Appreciate what you have. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you... it is simple... yet it can be hard. Thankfulness is so good to cultivate. God provides for us and we do well to recognize and appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  28. Great tips! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Such great advice! Even though my parents had a good income, growing up mom taught us to live frugally. I carried it on with my own family of five children. I did not buy anything we could not afford and never went into great debt. If we ever bought anything on time, it was one item and did not purchase anything else until it was paid off. We had a diabetic daughter and had extra cost with her medical bills. I shopped sales for our childrens clothing and clipped a lot of coupons. Yet, I never felt deprived and had a very happy family. Now that it's just hubbby and I and we have plenty of money, I still find myself living frugally most of the time. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have asked myself what I would buy if money was not an issue... and I had to conclude that I am content with what I have and there's not a lot I would change. I'm sure there would be a few things, but what a blessing to be content. :)

      Delete
  30. Hi,
    Thank you for coming to the Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    ReplyDelete
  31. As I read your post this part of Scripture keeps going through my mind "Godliness with contentment is great gain." I think it's in one of Paul's letters. Then your garage sale people - my Dad was one of those. He loved shopping garage sales and getting a great deal. He brought home stuff (some she didn't particularly like) that he got a deal on all the time. He didn't shop garage sales out of necessity. And he wasn't a hoarder or anything. He just enjoyed it. He found some great stuff for our family that we needed over the years! Great reminder of waiting for the Lord to provide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true.... and He does provide so abundantly... we just don't always recognize it because we put our order in like we are at a fast food place and we want exactly what we order! Oh, that we would learn to pray for His will rather than what WE want. Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete