Friday, January 16, 2015

Frugal Friday

Owen Young ~

"We are not to judge thrift solely by the test of saving or spending.  If one spends what he should prudently save, that certainly is to be deplored.  But if one saves what he should prudently spend, that is not necessarily to be commended.  A wise balance between the two is the desired end."

Life is a balancing act, isn't it?  This carries over into our finances too. I found this quote and liked it because it's so easy to just spend, spend, spend without giving one thought to a rainy day or paying off debt.  But the opposite is true too.  We can become so obsessed with being frugal and saving that we actually become stingy. 

We can become so tight-fisted that we forget to be generous to others and in doing so, we also keep our hand tightly closed from receiving God's blessings in our lives.  When I give to others, I receive a blessing in return.  I'm not talking about a monetary blessing but the blessing of bringing joy to someone else. 

The more I give to others, I do find that my own needs are met as well.  Dan & I have seen that so many times in our lives.  When we give generously out of the little we have, we always seem to find exactly what we need to meet our own needs. 

It's been an amazing way to live and it's been neat to see God provide for our needs.  To give an example of this was what happened this past week.  We were low on groceries and yet, I felt the prompting to make a few meals for people.  We had company on Sunday night, I made 3 meals for others who were going through a rough time and we had the church board over on Tuesday night.  I wasn't sure how it was all going to work, and yet, I had enough to make everything I wanted plus still feed us well.  God stretched the food.

I feel like my cup was overflowing this week.

Now onto business.  ;-)  January is half over and I've been working at getting back on track with our finances now that the expense of Christmas is over.  I'm working hard at making our dollars stretch.

Here is how I saved money the past couple of weeks:

$ I used our Christmas ham bone to make split pea soup and used up every single bit of the ham.  In years past some of it has gone to waste.

$ Dan & I went out but didn't want to spend a lot so we went to a local coffee shop that just opened up in town.  This is the same one that carries some of my items.  For $6 we had two pots of tea (about 6 cups total) and a pastry to share.

$ I have a bunch of leftover merchandise from the shop when it closed.  I am so thankful that I didn't go crazy buying things because hardly any of the items I purchased sold.  I ended up "shopping" in my shed this year for our Christmas gifts for extended family.

$ I've gone back to grocery shopping primarily at Aldi.  It's the cheapest store around.  I enjoy the trappings of large supermarkets and we have a Wegmans here that I absolutely love.  But I end up spending almost twice as much there. 

$ Made an Excel spreadsheet for my business and our personal finances for this year and am being diligent about entering in the figures and keeping an eye on things that are going off budget.

$ I sold some items on Etsy and privately.

$ I'm determined not to buy new fabric until I've used up much of what I have.  One of the reasons I don't make holiday items, other than autumn and Christmas, is because it can add up so quickly.  So I don't fall into the trap of making Valentines Day, Easter and other holiday items.  One of the problems of doing custom orders is that I end up having to purchase specialty fabric which is often more expensive and I never seem to be able to make much at all.

$ I'm re-evaluating whether to even do my business anymore or not.  For the past three years since starting it, I've made nothing.  Every bit of profit goes to buy more supplies.  I so enjoy the soap-making end of things but the supplies are expensive and it really seems silly to go to so much work to end with a zero or even negative balance each year.  Part of living intentionally (my word for the year) is to be ruthless about looking at those things which are preventing that.  I don't want to make a hasty decision so I'm taking my time about it but I'm really praying on this one.

That's my frugal offerings for the week.  How are you all doing with saving and being frugal?