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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Keepin' My Money Tuesday!


If you are just tuning in... on Tuesday I post about ways I am keeping my money. You can find out innovative ways Marin and I are Making Money on Monday! So far I have posted a few ways I am "Keepin' My Money" including, WRITING down a budget, saving a rainy day fund (aka: Emergency Fund) in my ING account, and setting my priorities for spending.

Amanda Mook (a reader) emailed me and got me thinking about this week's post:


CONTENTMENT

This is another hard one for me. I work at a school where there are LOTS of other women (most of which are my own age - and are young mothers). Most of them drive SUVs, wear the latest trends, buy LOTS of fru-fru items for their new babies, eat out nearly every night (mostly because they "don't" cook). The worst part: I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! =)

They are great co-workers. They work hard. I enjoy talking to them and working with them. I like their new clothes, their new cars, and the beautiful things they buy their little ones. I also like to wear the latest trends, and have a NEED to shop! =)

Okay, so how do I coincide with these people and still live frugally(or even just not break the budget)!?
Well, you learned a little about that last week when I talked about setting my priorities. I had to decide what was most important. And, what is most important to me - right now - is paying down my debt, and learning to live on less (maybe even one income) so that I can stay at home when we have children.

But that is hard when your friends are all living such different lives. I pray that God will give me contentment. I have a nice home, I have what I need. I can buy some new clothes - if I need them- at low cost when they are on sale, or at discount stores. Many times you cannot tell the difference. Moderation I say - not deprivation! We do eat out - occassionally. AND, with coupons and even better - giftcards! We try to limit fast food (or do without it all together) so that our "eating out" money can be spent on a nicer meal out - about once every two or three weeks. I pack my lunch and so does my husband. It is all about making choices. And who knows? Maybe a little of my frugalness will begin to rub off - it already has on a few!

My NEED to shop has been met by my FREE shopping at CVS. =) Since I am now on the look out to score things free or cheap at the drugstores and grocery stores it has become like a game and I dread paying full price for anything! I rarely set foot in the mall - because I have low will-power!

Which leads me to another point....

I STAY AT HOME

Okay, so its not like I am a hermit. I LOVE to entertain. I LOVE to cook. AND, since I have scored some sweet deals at the grocery store and I have a HUGE stockpile it is easy for me to make a meal for us and another family without busting our budget. It is a lot more fun than eating out with friends too! We can hang out much later, watch a movie or play a game and just enjoy each other's company. And, maybe even when our friends aren't quite as miserly, they never really think of us having them in our home that way - they appreciate TIME with one another - just like any of us do!

Another important point is that in order to not feel like you are imprisoned in your own home... you must enjoy being there!

The Tightwad Gazette talks about the importance of liking your home. Her thought is that if you like your home, you will stay there instead of leaving and spending money.

Amanda Mook (the reader I mentioned earlier) said,"As a stay-at-home mom, I have found this to be true. When my house is orderly and clean, I enjoy being there. When my house is unkempt and laundry is piled everywhere, I will find any excuse to leave. Imagine coming home after church on Sunday to eat lunch. You walk in (looking pretty and feeling encouraged from church) and you look around to see clutter everywhere, last night's dinner still in the kitchen, clean clothes on the couch, dirty clothes on the floor, YUCK! Makes me want to say, 'Let's go out for Chinese food!!' But if you walk in to an orderly house (not perfect, but orderly), then you can sit down to a simple meal (even if it's just grilled cheese sandwiches) and feel content with your life and what you have."

So you can see, when I say it is important to "like your home" were not referring to the niceness or expense of your home, simply the order and appearance of your home. I have to agree with Amanda - I enjoy my home much more when things are tidy - although I do not always enjoy the route that gets it there! =)

What better way to enjoy being at home than to invite some friends over? No matter WHO your friends are - everyone likes a night out! It'll definitely help with that "cabin-fever" that we sometimes get! And, at least in my experience - it'll cost me a whole lot less than a "I promise I am just going to window shop" shopping trip just to get out of the house!

What do you do to stay content with what you have? How do live in a world that wants more STUFF and remain frugal?

Last, leave a comment if you have questions or comments about posts you would like to see on "Keepin' My Money Tuesday." - Be it ideas for the next posts like "How do you... " or "What have you found that...." etc. If you have a great idea for how we can "Keep our Money" email me and maybe you could do a guest post! Finally, I will be happy to answer any questions. If I don't know the answer I will point you to someone who does! :)

16 Comments:

Memories At Home said...

I don't really have anything to contribute, I just know I LOVE this post.. you know when you go to church and you hear the sermon and it just feels like the sermon was meant for you? That's how I feel about this post! I so needed to be reminded of this and it's just so true! I know I just feel more self pride and I (and my daughter) are alot calmer when things are organized and together. Thank you for writing this! It reminds me of the lyrics to Psalm 73 (My God's ENOUGH)

Mrs. J said...

That is true. We all need to be content and trust the Lord for our needs and wants. Keeping up with the Jones's is hard and will just put us in debt. I'm working hard on being content and it ain't easy! I'm glad I found your site and several others that has greatly helped me live a frugal life!

Gina said...

I completely agree with everything you said! I quit work about 3 months ago to stay home with our 2 kids, and I have made it my "job" to find the best deals on groceries, etc and keep our house clean. And, honestly, I've discovered I LIKE it. I enjoy cleaning my house and figuring out how to stretch my husband's paycheck just a little further. And as far as the eating out goes, we haven't eaten out in about 4 months, but we are going out this weekend for my birthday. And we are so excited about it! It's something special now. Thanks for your blog, and keep up the good work!

Darla @ UltraBeautyBoutique said...

Amen to staying at home! I love Amy Dacyczyn (Tightwad Gazette). Altho we are going to Colorado in a couple of weeks (driving 12 hrs) to see inlaws. Really, I do not look forward to travel and hotels.

I get my "shopping fill" by bargain hunting too. It's fun and it saves my family $$$, and I am not left with any guilt. =)

Susang said...

I agree with you about loving your own place. I wish I had more time to be at home. I was blessed to be able to stay home with my children when they were small. But now the tides have turned and I am the breadwinner. I believe that true contentment never comes from external pleasures...It is a heart issue. Your blog has blessed so many. May you be blessed ten fold for all the many blessings that you have sent out to others. Love you! mom

Amanda said...

I feel like a celebrity! Great post Denise. I really appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

Lacy Reyes said...

Wow, I really needed this today! Thanks for this post!

Nicole said...

Good post... and soooo true.

Megan said...

I think that you can change what you have to make you feel like you have something new.

For example:

Our curtains in our dinning room draw up with ribbons and you tie them in a bow (very country) I fell like the room looks tired, so I think I will get new curtains... (cheeper than a new table! lol) so insted I buy new ribbon...maybe red for a bright splash of color. I spend 50 cents on ribbon and maybe grab 50 cents worth or red flowers for the table centerpiece to tie it together. The next thing you know, I have a "new look" for $1.00. I also rearange furniture ALOT! Makes it look like I have new things all the time! lol

Just an idea!

Anonymous said...

I've come to understand that appearances are not always what they seem. Most of your neighbors and/or friends probably have debt up to their eyeballs. The "stuff" is just for show.

Stay the course and be true to your God and self.

Memories At Home said...

I agree with "anonymous": as a young married couple (we got married at 17) we were surrounded by military couples with brand spankin' new furniture and vehicles.. secretly in debt up to their eyeballs, divorce, parents helping financially-- you name it. I felt better knowing that even if our furniture was second-hand or my ring was "small" that we weren't going to be making payments for the first few years of our marriage and we did it on our own. It helps us grow as a couple.
And I'm with Megan, I'm a firm believer in little frugal touch ups around the house--they go a long way!

Sheila said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about being frugal when others around you are not. I feel the same way when almost all of my friends are carting their children to every summer camp or sports activity available. I have to keep reminding myself what Dave Ramsey says... "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else!"

Anonymous said...

You say it well. Some days I get really fed up with being at home. But it certainly is easier to find comfort here when the place is kept up. It's also nice to read and know that I'm not the only one feeling like I do. Thanks for being so open and heartfelt.

Michelle said...

Being content does take some specific effort. We have long been conditioned to get more, more and more! But, with all that comes more to organize, more to manage, more to sort through and clean. You are doing yourself a favor by paring down! As we clean areas of our house out, my husband and I are committed to donating, trashing or using what we have - that means really using it and we have found some fun things to use (like homemade hummingbird feeders we dug out of the garage - see it here - ttp://www.leavingexcess.com/2008/05/use-it-or-lose-it.html) Anyway - GREAT site, congrats on being published and thanks for keeping me hooked up to the GREAT CVS deals!!!!

Michelle @LeavingExcess

Becky said...

I agree Denise!
I stay home too! I avoid the mall! Low will power here too!
Contentment is a hard one for many of us but, the Lord has been faithful to help me be that way, on one income here (I make very little working at our church 10 months out of the year.)

DyanCB@gmail.com said...

Contentment is not easy to come by, but you can get it if you strive for it. One thing that helps me is to think of all the money those big corporations are getting from me. They don't really NEED all that money, do they? My husband works hard for his money and I don't want to spend it unwisely helping to pad someone else's wallet. We need to be good stewards of everything and when I want to buy something that costs a little more than what I am used to I ask myself,"Would the Lord be pleased with me if I bought this?" Most of the things we really want are not what we really need. It is hard sometimes, but most of the time I am content with what I have. I am too busy to really want for "things". I love your blog, keep up the good work.