Sunday, October 3, 2010
Living Joyfully within My Means
I have had this post bouncing around in my head, and I hope to that I can find the right words. This topic could be a series of posts for me, because it has been the focus of my life probably since I became an adult, but very intensely for the last couple of years.
I am learning the joy of providently living. It is not easy. There are two things I do when I am feeling stressed, the first is eat, and the second is shop. I am awesome at budgeting, meaning creating a budget. I keep track of everything I spend, writing it down in my checkbook register and adding it to my budget. Now, following that budget is a whole other issue. I have done hard things in my life; loose 108 pounds, check (yes, that was hard and its still a struggle to keep it off, but I did it), pull my kids out of public school to home school and face the stigma and judgment of others- again hard, but I did it. Follow my budget, now we are talking about something really hard.
Over the years I have come up with a lot of little tricks I use to "float" my money. So what the bank says and what I know to be real are two very different numbers. Well over the past couple of years I started to get real. I took an honest look at my debt and what needed to happen to start paying it off. I watched some great videos and used debt calculators at this site. Progress has been slow (which, honestly, frustrates me-I have realized I do have an issue with patience and wanting instant gratification) but the balances are getting smaller.
Here is the biggest lesson I have learned. More money isn't the answer. I wish it were, but it's not. The answer is a wise stewardship over money. In September I made a serious commitment to get back on track. The reality is a huge leap of faith. I have to trust that because the council to live providently comes from prophets of God that I will be guided in this trial. As I have tried to harder than ever to live frugally I have been blessed with inspiration.
Food is the area of the budget with the most flexibility. We have a freezer full of meat, and my storage room is stocked. So, we have been living primarily off of what is already in the house. The goal: not to go grocery shopping at all, live completely off of what we already have. That didn't work. We have needed a few runs to the grocery store. Here is what has happened. With careful planning I have been able to order from a local food co-op, a couponing trip, and bulk food order. I have been blessed with inspiration and energy to make meals at home, really cutting what we have spent on eating out.
I know this has been a long post so I'll end with a scripture that really touched me.
"...take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than rainment?
"For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." 3 Nephi 13:25, 32-33.