Christine recently left the corporate world to stay home with her new son. She and her husband, Mark, are in marriage ministry and she blogs about it as well as money, goal setting, living in 740 square feet, and cooking at Mark and Christine. Follow her on twitter @christinesatter. This guest post was originally published on her own blog as her entry in our Blissfully Frugal contest. Be sure to read all the entries and vote for your favorite.
Being generous comes naturally to some. To others it’s more difficult. Since I tend to fall towards the latter, I have to be very deliberate when it comes to giving.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. God loves a cheerful giver.
I don’t know about you, but knowing that definitely makes me want to give joyfully!
The Lord has called us to be wise and good stewards of all that He has entrusted to us. I don’t always succeed in this but having and regularly reviewing our budget helps us be intentional with our money.
Three months after Mark and I were married we had the privilege of attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It was a tremendous help in getting us on the same page about money! We worked on a budget, started using the envelope system, paid off debt, and began investing more. It taught us to “live like no one else, so later we could live like no one else.”
A few years later we taught Andy Stanley’s LO$T series to a group of couples. Through that resource, God changed our hearts about money. The order of our budget changed from paying our bills and giving what was left, to Give, Save, Live on the Rest.
Give. Tithe. Share with those in need. Sponsor a child through Compassion. Donate items you’re able to get for free or pennies to a homeless shelter. Shop the clearance section throughout the year for Operation Christmas Child. The ideas are endless!
Save. Build up an emergency fund. Invest in a retirement fund. Save for replacement items like cars & furniture.
Live on the Rest. After giving, saving, and of course the taxes that are automatically deducted from our income, the remainder is what we use for daily living.
The “living on the rest” part is where it can get tricky. But, this is where being frugal comes in handy! Here are a few tips we’ve learned:
- Use cash. Every month put money in envelopes for each category in your budget. When the envelope is empty, stop spending.
- Don’t keep your debit card with you. This may be shocking to some, but if you are a “spender” it removes the temptation to impulse buy.
- Plan for the unplanned. Make sure you have some wiggle room for unplanned needs. Something always comes up!
- Downgrade. Can you watch TV online instead of paying for cable? Do you still need your home phone?
- Utilize Technology. Websites like Inexpensively are extremely helpful when looking for coupons and finding the best deals on groceries, baby necessities, beauty products and office supplies.
- Plan menus. Knowing what we are going to eat and shopping accordingly has helped us trim our food budget in a huge way!
- Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal. Spending $3 for something you don’t need is still spending.
- Don’t go shopping. You’ll never know you need those new shoes if you don’t see them!
Live like no one else so later you can GIVE like no one else!