I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago that’s still got my wheels turning. How is it that we so often want Jesus to use our lives to make a difference for eternal purpose, but secretly hold back the things that we’re embarrassed of, the things that we keep hidden, the things we think to ourselves…”God, surely you don’t want to use this part of my life to reach people. Use the easier stuff. Use the heartaches and the hurt from way back when, but don’t use my finances. Don’t make me share that part of my journey. I’ll share anything but that.”
We hold back in this area as women when it comes to using it for the Lord, even if it’s just to talk about it with others and I feel it has everything to do with corporate America and the place we feel we should be but aren’t. I don’t know the calling He has placed on your life, but I know He wants to use this hidden place in mine to help you. To help others. Maybe to just relate? Maybe as a tool of motivation? Maybe as a path to freedom for you. I don’t know.
But here’s to being open and vulnerable with you again in the area of my finances and how we make my family work living off of one income while raising two babies. We’re in a weird place. It’s weird, but oh so good. Oh so refining.
So, where do you start?
Before you lift a finger to do or change anything in your life, you need to know something very, very important. What you are about to dissect and budget, weed out or add in, is not yours at all. Everything you own is the Lord’s. All of your money? His. We are stewards of what He has loaned us. My bank account? All of it. His. He is the One who wants to direct every area of our lives and this includes our finances. This includes how we spend what HE has given us. Before you begin this journey with me, you must meet with HIM first. You must release that tight grip and lay your finances at His feet. He drew me in and asked me to be willing to do life HIS way and to trust Him. He WILL ask you to sacrifice things, material things, flesh desiring things, even some GOOD things on this journey to financial freedom. And my advice to you? Be willing and choose trust. The way He leads us is GOOD for our life. GOOD for our heart and GOOD for our spirit. As you choose to say no more on this path than ever before, know that your “no” is also a “yes” to freedom in the area of your finances. I’m literally walking this journey now and I so hope you’ll join me. It’s way more fun when you’re walking it with friends.
When I decided to part ways with my job and become a stay at home mama, the conversation to a simpler way of living really began at a long table in Starbucks with me, my hubs, and two cups of coffee. We knew we had blown our budget in the past. Who am I kidding. WHAT budget? We couldn’t function on one salary…with two babies…spending the way we had been. Frivolously. And so, I pulled out a new journal and thus we began. It’s intimidating when you’re staring the idea of a budget in the face, of listing out goals, of knowing your life as you know it is about to change drastically. But, I knew what the Lord had called me to and when we had two sweet babies on the way, choosing to live without was NOTHING compared to knowing we were doing it to provide for them. So where did we start?
1. I listed out our inevitable monthly bills.
Right there in that notebook, I started the best way I knew how. I took the first day of the month to the last and listed every single bill we had that was expected to come out monthly. I didn’t include here the little debts that we owed. I jotted down things like power bill, direct tv bill, internet bill, cell phone bill, etc. I left out our groceries, gas and all of our extras. Hang with me on these. After I was able to see on paper all that we were having to pay monthly as far as our bills went, I went through each one and…
2. I picked apart where we could save.
How often do you leave a room and leave the light on? What about the tv? Yeah. I would leave lights on literally all day long in rooms I never went in. Simple tasks like turning off that light and going without having the tv on 24/7 can seriously lower your power bill. HOW you ask? BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT USING POWER WHEN THE POWER IS OFF AND IF YOU’RE NOT USING POWER, GUESS WHAT? You’re bill will be lower. I know. I know. I’m a genius.
And then came the really hard part. We began looking at our bills and down deep asking ourselves that one hard question. Did we really need what we were spending our hard earned money on? $140 for cable when we only watch freeform and hgtv? Was it really worth spending that kind of money on something that’s not truly necessary to live? No. Not for us it wasn’t. And to be honest with you. If you’re in my shoes and you’re looking to see things that could be cut in order to get out of debt, save more, meet those goals, etc., honey. Cable needs to be the first thing to go. We were already paying $9.99 for Netflix and were spending 99% of our time watching that over cable anyways. Trust me. Ditch it and put that money towards slashing those little debts in your life. Pocket that. Stash it away in your savings. You’ll thank me later.
These two things are only a drop in the BUCKET to what all we’ve changed in our finances and spending, but I’ve got a lot of time with you on this journey, so why unpack it all over one cup of coffee? Let’s have several.
You’re SO lucky (insert sarcasm here) to catch me right in the middle of our budgeting journey, because I’m actually still doing this very thing. Brett and I have been picking through our bills even further now, really weeding out those extra things that our lives just. don’t. need. I’ve cut and said goodbye to two things this week that have hurt this girl’s heart (I’m ashamed to admit). Can’t wait to share with you next week and the weeks to come…
What my grocery shopping looks like and how I’ve cut my bill for them beans in half. HA!
What I’ve realized to be EXCESS instead of NECESSITY in the area of spending on ME.
Ways I have begun to bring in extra income for my family that DOESN’T take away from me staying home with my babies.
Simple hacks to saving the money you didn’t even know you were actually throwing away.
Our short and long term goals for our little family that are ACTUALLY being reached (and how you can reach YOURS too!)
How I’ve decorated my little corner of the home on literally a dime ( LEGIT flourishing on a dime people).
And as always, how to learn to live a simple life with a full heart.
Flourish, baby, flourish,
Did you miss my latest post from our brand new Flourish on a Dime series? My friend, no fear. Click here.