Sunday, August 31, 2014

Temptations that Defeat Frugality

There are many reasons people practice frugality. Some reasons may include: saving for a new home or car, living on one income, retirement, giving to those in need, or Christian education.  And, there can be just as many temptations that sidetrack us from those goals. 

"Blue Dawn" morning glories!
I have several reasons I practice frugality. I find it helps me fight temptation if I remember what my goals are. Mainly, I want to be a good steward of the resources the Lord has entrusted to me. Secondly, it enables me to stay at home with my husband.  Thirdly, if I can save money by living below our means then I have money to give to others in need...which will lay up treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6)

It's important to keep those reasons at the front of my mind because it's so easy to be influenced by the temptations that bombard me daily through television, magazines and the stores advertising strategies. I pray regularly while shopping because I can feel the pull of all the enticing goodies as I walk up the store aisles.

One of the most dangerous threats to my goals for frugality is the 'pride of life'. I've been battling it this past week:

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16  ESV

(The NET BIBLE translates pride of life as  'arrogance produced by material possessions').

The Wesley Commentary was very helpful in explaining what it means:

"The pride of life - All that pomp in clothes, houses, furniture, equipage, manner of living, which generally procure honour from the bulk of mankind, and so gratify pride and vanity. It therefore directly includes the desire of praise, and, remotely, covetousness. All these desires are not from God, but from the prince of this world."  

There is nothing wrong with making our homes comfortable or attractive. But, I get into trouble when I use the things of this world to promote myself or to be accepted by others. Then my focus is not on serving but on having others serve me by promoting my reputation.

Say for instance, I'd like to invite a new couple from church over for dinner. But, I find out they both work and make a good income and now I'm starting to hesitate inviting them because they live in a higher income neighborhood and drive newer cars. I start to compare what I own to what they own. I drive a 1998 Ford Ranger (that squeaks horribly) and live in a lower income neighborhood in a 745 sq. ft. home. This is where the downward sin cycle begins if I don't get control of my thoughts. 

"Comparison is a thief, stealing gratitude, joy, and generosity." Jeff Manion

 I begin to wonder if they will judge me by how I live (fear of man). If left unchecked this fear can lead to buying unnecessary items like a new bedspread or new dishes and if entertained for too long it could even lead to moving to a more expensive neighborhood in order to impress others or buying a new car. All of these choices will lead me farther away from my goals of frugality. These choices could also reveal a heart that is set on the things of this world and not on things above

Summer birthdays!

I need to remind myself that my worth does not come from what I own ... but by WHO owns me!
Then he said, "Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own."  Luke 12:15 NLT

You were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 7:23  NIV

Instead, I should be rejoicing with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15) for the special gifts God has given them (just as He has blessed me!). My mind should be set on how I can best serve them and make them comfortable while visiting. How can I help them to feel loved and valued while in my home? What can I cook for them that they will enjoy? How can I focus on them while we are talking so I can find out more about their lives and know better how to pray for them?

Trying to impress others by what we own will never bear good fruit. It only serves as a means to enslave us to the fear of man and certainly will not help us reach the goals that we've set to live with less FOR A PURPOSE. 

Blessed to be home,

Do you ever struggle with the desire to impress others by what you own? Or do you sometimes feel 'lesser than' because you don't own what others do? Do you find it's a trap for you to spend more money?

More summer gatherings


 A Typical Frugal Day

1. I get upset with myself when I waste food. I found some small containers at the dollar store that I'm using for leftovers. This past month I tried to freeze more and more of our leftovers so that I wouldn't take a chance of losing any of them to 'forgetfulness'. I am practicing putting leftovers IMMEDIATELY into the freezer instead of leaving them in the fridge.

2. Bacon was on sale this week so I bought a package for my husband. He loves bacon. I normally buy turkey bacon at the dollar store because I don't like spending $4 for one pound of 'breakfast' food but every once in a while I like to surprise my husband. I  save the grease and use it for sauteing vegetables. This time I poured some of it into my salad dressing for flavoring. 

Winter veggies

3. I love to cook and really love to bake and even though I enjoy
the rhythm of washing dishes I sometimes get tired of doing it 3 times a day. An elderly friend told me that she runs a pan of hot soapy water before she starts cooking and washes as she cooks. I'm sure many of you already practice this but it was news to me. What a difference it makes! I'm almost done with my dishes before I've finished the meal. I try to make it a game and set a goal for myself. I'm easily entertained! :-)

4.  God spoils me! He really does! I can't count how many times I have thought to myself that I need 'this or that' and God has answered that 'thought' in such an amazing way. I have a pair of garden clippers that are broken but still work so I haven't wanted to spend money on a new pair. Amazingly enough a GOOD pair of clippers were found in the middle of the road while driving the other day. 

5. I'm trying to use chicken more for my meals since it's so inexpensive. I've been searching the internet for new recipes. I've tried quite a few of Pioneer Woman's recipes and they've always turned out great. I tried a new recipe called Chicken and Beef Fajitas and we really liked them. They were extremely flavorful and spicy. I let them marinade overnight. Here is the link: 

Chicken and Beef Fajitas by Dee Rummond 

6.  I use hairspray and it caked on to my curling iron to where my hair was sticking when I tried to curl it. While my curling iron was still hot (and unplugged) I sprayed oven cleaner on the barrel and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I then took an SOS and scrubbed off the hairspray. Good as new!

Watermelon from our garden! It was wonderful!

7. The price of meat continues to rise. I spent a few extra minutes at the meat aisle the other day to see if I could find any cheaper cuts of meat. I try to keep it under $1.99 a pound but lately that is becoming impossible unless I buy chicken. I was thrilled to find a family pack of ribs for $1.99 a pound. The entire package was under $10. It will feed us for 3 days. Buying in bulk can save money. 

8. My shower tiles baffle me! They are old and I fight mold in the grout. I tried a new homemade shower cleaner that I liked. I warmed 1 cup of white vinegar and then put it in a spray bottle. I added 1 cup of Dawn (blue) detergent and then shook the bottle. I sprayed it evenly over the tiles and let it sit for 2 hours. Then I scrubbed the tiles. 

9. I have a "FLYLADY" notebook for my housekeeping schedule that I've used for years. I decided to add more dividers for: 
- Company (Favorite meals for visiting guests)
- Gardening (homemade bug repellants and fertilizers, etc.)
- Household Products (Product numbers for items such as refrigerator filters, spa chemicals,etc. and where to buy them and the price). 

I'm getting to 'that' age where I am more forgetful plus it helps to have a place to keep these details. 

10.  Things I saved this month:
     - Plastic packaging  for: brownies, brown sugar, pinto bean bag
       (washed and reused as storage bags)
     - Cotton inside my vitamin bottle. (I used it to take off my 
       old fingernail polish.) 
     - Vegetable trimmings and peelings (compost)
     - Tea bags (I use 3 used teabags to make 1 cup of tea)
     - A T-shirt that was worn out. (dust rag)
     - Past income tax paperwork (shredded and put in compost pile)
       - Tinfoil not used on dairy or meat. (washed and reused).
     - Low carb tortilla bag that had a nice little ziplock. (washed    
       and reuse as a storage bag).


  1. I don't feel that way anymore. I use to and it got us into huge debt which took us many years to pay off. Now I've learnt to be content with what I have. It is so much easier to live that way. Great post!

    1. It sure is easier to live that way! Debt is a good teacher! Been in that classroom and sure don't want to attend again. :-)

  2. Excellent post. Some of my spending was for convenience and now have debt that I need to hammer away at. Also I spent to buy gifts for others to impress them when that wasn't wise use of money--pride of life.

    I am impressed with the watermelon you grew.

    1. I've bought gifts to impress others, too.

      We are eating on a watermelon now that is larger than the one in the picture. We didn't grow a lot of watermelons this year but the ones we grew were big and sweet. We can't eat an entire melon so we always share. :-)

  3. Kindred hearts make such great company! I'm always encouraged as I read your tips and how you saved. I think I've lived frugally all my life and don't always stop to list or specify how my habits differ from other peoples'......anyway, I just kind of "naturally" look for additional ways to save and certainly have areas in which to improve. Seems like I always pick up a new idea after reading your posts :)

    1. I love to learn from other women so if you ever have any good tips to share then I'd love to hear them! :-)

  4. Great, inspiring post.

    Thank you~ FlowerLady

  5. Great post Georgene.
    The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, always seems to have FANTASTIC recipes. My family enjoys many of them.
    Regarding your trouble purchasing meat products under $1.99 ... have you tried the reduced for quick sale bin near the butcher's counter? The majority of our family's meat purchases come from this bin. I've never found ground meat or stew meat in the "reduced" bin - but I have found various cuts of steak for significantly less than ground beef or stew meat. I just grind or cut the steak myself. Also, when making casseroles, I usually reduce the meat portion by 1/2 while increasing the less expensive vegetable portion of the recipe.
    Thanks for thoughtfully sharing your frugal ideas.

    1. Hi Mrs. B.,
      Yes, the 'marked down section' is the first place I normally look when I hit the meat department. I also look for mark downs in the vegetable department and throughout the store. I have found some great deals. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Glad to see a new post, and that it deals with the problem of wanting to spend more than we should. The last 6 weeks or so have been a problem because of my mother being in the hospital, and the car accident I was in. But God is good and my mother is getting better and we have a new car. We put money down and financed the rest at 1.4% May or may not pay off after the first of the year.

    Yes, meat is extremely expensive! I am always looking for the best deals. We also eat a lot chicken, but there is a lot you can do with it.

    1. I hope you weren't hurt in the accident, Rachel! Are you okay? I'm sorry to hear that your mother was in the hospital for so long. I hope she is doing better. Yes, there are those times such as you are going through that can derail our budgets but thankfully the Lord provides.

  7. Another wonderful post, Georgene. I'm not so terribly materialistic but the enemy works overtime to put in a thought now and then to "want" this or that, to distract me or raise up new expenses (including for my mom and those I help) that have to be met, and so on. I have to fight to keep on track and often do get back on track but time is always an issue. It is really so important to seek God's help in tackling all these and I'm learning to do that more and more especially with any big expenses or major decisions that have to be made. Like you, I want to be a good steward of what I have been given and blessed with.

    You are so right too about the cost of meat going up. I've really noticed that in the last 3 months or so though we couldn't find any meat here for $1.99 or $2.00 a pound for much longer than that. Whenever I do find a good price I buy as much as I can to put in my fridge freezer. I do not have the room to buy a mini freezer so have to make do.

    I love how God spoils you. I really do. I also love the tip about putting warm, sudsy water in the sink as you start cooking. I must try that some time. I usually stack dirty dishes in the sinks and soak them so they are not usually empty but will have to try a new way of things.

    Oh I almost forgot, I think that people in general love to be a guest in someone else's home no matter the home or the food offerings. For example, I've been in a home where the single mom was a vegetarian and baked things from scratch and with very cost to her. It stands out in my memory that she would invite me to her home and want to share with me whatever she had. However I know exactly what you mean about inviting people over of higher economic standing and worrying what they will think because I often have the same concern. I need to just try and remember how I feel when I go to someone else's home. These days there is so little hospitality where I live. People seem to be so very busy. Whenever you can get to someone else's home, it is a wonderful treat.

    God bless. xx

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I can relate to what you wrote in the first paragraph. I go through the same thing. I get so tired of those kind of thoughts! Don't you?!

      I agree that most people just enjoy being a guest in someone's home. Some of my fondest memories are lunches in humble homes with godly women.

  8. Really liked this post. I struggle with what people think of us as we are on a very strict budget too. I love how you put it and how we should think of it.
    We are in the process of moving from AZ to CA to help my husband's mother. I have used your idea of just using what you have for meals. I have actually almost used everything I had in my freezer and fridge for meals so I did not have to buy and end up giving away food. It really works, so I will try and incorporate this into my everyday frugal thinking. Thanks again

    1. I wonder if you will be moving close to me? How blessed your mother in love will be to have you taking care of her. I like to 'shop' from my pantry and freezer. :-)

  9. Georgene, God uses us to sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17), and your commitment to living on less money does that for me. I'm struggling between guilt and inspiration here and will hopefully find a balance that honors our Lord! I love your posts, your creativity, and your love for our Savior. Thank you.

    1. God has us on our own unique journeys. I read your blog and always learn something about our God and how to love others.

  10. Your title brought me to this post - sometimes I have that pressure that I should spend more. It does help to know that I'm able to give and live with out the worry of a bill coming in the mail. It also helps to have that extra to spend when I need it most instead of a new couch.
    I love how God gave you the clippers. Isn't he amazing?

    1. Vickie,
      Yes, He 'IS" amazing!

      I totally agree and I'm so thankful to be able to pay my bills without worrying.

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