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).