Times are crazy tough!
Are you experiencing a job loss or pay cuts? Have you had a financial emergency recently? Is the paycheck not stretching out as long as the month is?
This post is for you.
One of the many things my Grandma taught me is that knowing we aren’t alone should bring us comfort. You aren’t alone. There are countless families struggling right now to make ends meet each.and.every.month. It is hard. It is exhausting. But you are not alone. Know that and let it bring you a tiny amount of comfort.
Here are 7 of my tried-and-true methods:
1. Keep perspective. Yes, times are tight. No, the pay isn’t always enough. Yes, we’re frustrated and stressed and tired, but we need to keep a proper perspective. I’m pretty sure that anyone reading this blog has never personally experienced poverty like far too much of this world does.
Times are tough and we’ve had to make sacrifices. We have to say no when we want to say yes. We have to learn to do with less and sometimes without, but we must also focus on what we do have. Have we gone without clothes, food, or shelter? If we can answer no, we have more wealth than most of the world.
Keeping a proper perspective of my circumstances keeps me from feeling sorry for myself. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Keep the faith. Friends, if we have Jesus Christ, then we truly have all that we need. This life is fleeting, but eternity is forever. We are just a blink away from seeing His face. Let’s resolve not to focus on our circumstances, but on our Savior, our Rock, our Sustainer, and our Provider.
Let’s remember from Whom all good things come. God knows our needs, and He promises to provide for us. Our job is to draw near to Him, focus on His word and will for our lives, seek His wisdom, and live in obedience to what He desires for us. He will take care of the rest. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, but He will. He is faithful.
3. Keep track of what He has blessed you with. If you know me or you’ve read this blog, you know I am a big believer in counting my blessings. If I focus on the things I have lost, given up, or now have to do without, I will find myself in despair over them. When I choose, instead, to focus on the abundance God has blessed me with, I cannot help but feel overjoyed.
Each day, I look for simple blessings in my life. Sometimes I write them on my gratitude list, sometimes I pray to God thanking Him, and other times I let people know how much their blessings have meant to me. I often take time to thank God for the major blessings in my life like family, faith, food, and home. Nothing cures discontent like gratitude!
4. Keep track of what you have. With respect to groceries, when the budget is tiny, you cannot afford to purchase something you didn’t need because you already have some at home in the back of the cupboard. Take an inventory of the food you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer before you shop. I discussed this in detail back in June. Click here to read The How’s and Why’s of a Pantry Challenge.
5. Keep the needs, ditch the wants. Now is the time to honestly evaluate needs verses wants. As much as I hate to admit it, eating out, drinking fancy coffee, going to the movies, shopping with friends, and buying new shoes are not needs. We need shelter, food, clothing, and transportation to our jobs. Electricity, running water, and basic communications are also quite helpful. Most other things are just a bonus.
When desperate times call for desperate measures, take an honest look at how you view these categories. For those that fall into the wants, see if you can find a less expensive way to enjoy them. Learn to cook from scratch, brew your coffee at home, cook with cheaper cuts of meat, and drink less expensive drinks. Create a Netflix or movie rental habit rather than frequenting the theater. Purchase clothing from the clearance rack or a thrift store, after you have determined that you actually need more clothing. Can you find a less expensive mode of transportation and cut back on electricity or your current cell phone plan?
Most of us would be surprised to to know how content we can actually be even when cutting back on things we once thought were necessary to life.
6. Keep your pride in check. This is a tough one, but we need to remember that pride is a dangerous thing. I am much more comfortable being a giver than a taker. It is never an easy thing to take money, food, or anything else given by someone who knows you are in need. It is so much more fun to be a blessing to someone you know is in need. A wise friend once said to me, “be careful not to take a blessing away from someone.” You see, many people enjoy blessing others. If God puts it on someone’s heart to give to you, swallow your pride, smile, and say thank you. Then pray that God will give you the opportunity to give back to someone else one day.
Friends, if you need to feed your children, stand in line at the food bank. If you have a true need, ask for help. I know it is hard and humbling, but caring for our children must superceed our comfort level.
7. Keep on keepin’ on. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I know it’s hard. I know you’re weary and you feel like you can’t take one more day. Lift up your head. Keep working. Keep praying. Keep praising. Keep on keeping on. There are better days ahead. After all, eternity with God awaits us. What more could we hope for?
What do you think? Do you have anything to add to my list?Print This Post
Shannon at Growing Slower wrote about The No Spend Month Challenge.
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