Friday, May 2, 2014

Know when to quit!

Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich. 
Be wise enough to know when to quit. 
Proverbs 23:4 NLT

 I can remember a very specific time in our marriage when I was not content with my husband's income and ended up wearing myself out to make more money. I wanted just $50 more a month to spend on gifts for my relatives at Christmas and birthdays. So I racked my brain until I came up with the idea to start a used curriculum business for homeschoolers. The business grew and eventually brought in a decent second income but my family paid a high price for my lack of contentment. I wore myself out trying to make extra money and it put a strain on our home and our relationships. My best was given to the customers in the store and my family was given the leftovers of my energy.  All because I lacked faith that God would provide through my husband and a lack of contentment with his wages. If only I had been wise enough to know when to quit as the scripture says above.

Recently I am learning how this scripture speaks to my life today. I'm learning that frugality can wear a person out, too.  There have been times when I've crammed so many frugal duties into my day that my exhaustion tempted me to be less patient with my husband. I've had to ask myself lately if I'm elevating saving money over loving my husband well?

What is more important? Saving a few pennies or my relationship with my husband? The answer is obvious but how do I work this out daily? A few days ago I found myself feeling anxious as I rushed through three loads of laundry that needed to be hung and bread rising in the breadmakers and my Monday housecleaning that needed to be done. So I did the unthinkable and threw a load of towels in the dryer and you know what... the world did not come to an end! *wink* I also chose to not compost that day and made other small choices to make it easier to walk in the Spirit rather than put myself in a position to be tempted to sin by being impatient with my husband.

God's ways are so much higher than our ways. Our culture says we need more and better.  Our flesh always screams for just one more and something new. But contentment in every situation gives us rest from all that our flesh is screaming for. Why can we be content? Because HE will NEVER leave us! His ways are so wise! He only wants what is best for us and our families.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5 ESV

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1Timothy 6:8  ESV

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5 ESV


Here are a few things I did in my home this week:

1. I cut my husband's hair this past week as I've been doing for 30 years. Boy has it saved me a lot of money through the years.

2. Another garden plot was added for tomatoes. They are doing beautifully! There is a chance we'll end up with no lawn at all as our veggie garden slowly takes over!

New tomato bed. 

3. I'm still eating Paleo/Low carb. I've found a yummy (to me) ice cream recipe. I've taken it to family gatherings and it's helped me not to be tempted to indulge in high sugar goodies! I can't remember where I found this recipe so if you recognize it then please let me know so I can give you credit.

Chocolate Low Carb Ice Cream

1 can full fat coconut milk 
(I used 1/2 can of coconut cream from Trader Joe
 and coconut milk to fill the rest of the can)
4 Tbsp. Hershey's cocoa
4 Tbsp. Truvia (I used 4 Tbsp. Erythritol and 1/8 tsp. Kal Stevia)
4 egg yolks (I used 4 egg whites)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 package Knox gelatin (I used 1 package)

The original recipe calls for heating the milk on low flame and then mixing in the rest of the ingredients until it reaches 175 degrees and then cool down. This is the recommended way to cook eggs for ice cream. I didn't do this though and just mixed up all the ingredients and poured it into my 
ice cream maker.  It's the kind of ice cream maker that you put the tub in the freezer and don't use ice or rock salt. I then scoop it into Popsicle holders. 

4.  I've heard that our city may be  in a drought so I'm trying to conserve water. I hate to see water running down the drain while waiting for it to heat up to wash my dishes. So, I'm running the cold water into an 8 cup plastic measuring cup. I tried doing this a few years ago but I was running the water into a bucket instead.  It was hurting my back and neck so I stopped the practice. The measuring cup is small enough that it's not putting a strain on my back. I have a small bucket on the back step that I throw it in and it's used to water the plants near the back step.

5.  I've added a 'vegetable garden envelope' to my budget. There's been a pattern of purchasing potting soil and seeds and fertilizer in the spring so I need to budget for this expense. This year I took it out of other 'envelopes' which is not a good practice. I'm setting aside $10 a month for now. That will give me $120 by next Spring... Lord willin' and if the creek don't rise ... or prices.! :-)

6.  I'm slowly checking off projects on my 'to do list'. I finished a lap quilt that needed a new binding. The next project to tackle is my unfinished quilt. I wasn't feeling perky this winter and never got around to finishing it.  I need to go through 2 large Rubbermaid tubs of photo pictures. I'm searching for the best solution for storage. Right now they are in my closet and no one is able to enjoy the pictures. I'm considering downsizing the pictures to a limited amount of albums I can place on my bookshelves.   (Update: I'm almost finished with this project).

7. I went over my grocery budget by $100 last month. I got some counsel from my friend Laine and she suggested I go back to shopping weekly. So, I've divided my budget by the number of weeks in the month. I will 'pay' myself the budgeted amount each week. This method of budgeting always works well for me. I got off track because I was stocking up at some discounts stores in the beginning of the pay period. I spent too much and then ran out of money before I was half way through the pay period. If this doesn't work then I'll have to come up with another plan. Food prices continue to rise.

8. Our summer garden is slowly growing. I'm picking strawberries right now and some Stockton Red onions. We have cantaloupe, squashes, spinach, Swiss chard, garlic, collard greens, celery, tomatoes, hot peppers, okra, artichokes and two kinds of green beans planted along with corn. Our 5 types of berries and grapes are showing fruit but not ripe yet. It amazes me how much we can fit into our small city lot.

9. I organized the garage and the side of the garage where we store pieces of lumber and pipe. It amazes me how quickly a room can get out of order. Then when you try to find something that's not in it's place you end up buying another one to replace it. An organized home is one way to save money.

10. I'm back in the routine of washing my car once a week since summer is here. I pretend I am paying myself $10 for washing it instead of paying someone else. I always dread it but once I start it takes me less than 10 minutes.

What I didn't throw away:
  • Tea bags (3 'recycled' tea bags = 1 cup of tea)
  • Egg shells (great for my tomato plants)
  • I'm starting to compost again now that the weather is turning off warmer. 
  • Lawn clippings go into compost pile
  • Washed and dried used tinfoil. 
  • Rubber bands from asparagus and broccoli. 
  • Washed and dried plastic bags from lettuce and Erythritol. 
  • Banana peels: Buried near root of rose bushes. 
How are you ladies doing? I know everyone is so busy but I do think of you and I'm always encouraged when I hear what you are doing in your homes.

Blessed to be a homemaker!