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7 Things To Keep When Money Is Tight

September 26, 2014 by

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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?

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Shannon at Growing Slower wrote about The No Spend Month Challenge.

This post was shared at Counting My Blessings, Essential Thing DevotionsMissional Call, Serving JoyfullyTell His Story3-D Lessons for LifeChronicles of Grace, & Sandra Heska King.

Also on My Freshly Brewed LifeRenewed DailyLife With GarnishRetro Re-pin Party,  I Choose Joy!Soul SurvivalCornerstone Confessions, & The Great Blog Train.

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50 Responses to 7 Things To Keep When Money Is Tight

  1. Rick

    Love this post Heather! It should be a mandatory class for our kids in school ready to launch out into this world. I like your “nothing cures discontent like gratitude”. I know a guy who used to always say “grateful people are happy people, and those that aren’t, aren’t”. And the only thing I might add to your list would be to always strive to take intentional steps towards finding ways to increase your income if possible. Blessings!

    • Heather

      Love that quote, too, Daddy! You’re right about trying to increase the income. I hinted at that in #7 when I said, “keep working”, but I could have made #8 say “Keep looking for ways to increase the income”. I have ideas for later posts and that is definitely a part of it. Thanks for the suggestion! Love you.

      • Rick

        Your ideas for later posts should really turn into an e book on the subject. There is so much rich (no pun) material you could share about this subject. Actually it’s many subjects that come together for a common cause that really gets to the heart of the matter. And as you know, once it gets in your heart, you got it!

        • Heather

          You know me all too well, Daddy! Remember the book idea was born before the blog ever was. It’s all just a matter of time. I appreciate your encouragement.

  2. Brittany at EquippingGodlyWomen.com

    Oooh, good thoughts! I thought you were going to name physical things we need (like life insurance or an emergency fund or whatever). All too often we think about physical things, but these things are way more important. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Heather

      You’re right, Brittany, we often think of the practical things (which are important), but I wanted to remind my readers (and myself) of the often overlooked aspects. Thanks for reading. I’ll come visit you!

  3. Lisa @ The Wellness Wife

    Great tips! I often discuss how people need to assess their “needs” and “wants” on my blog. My husband was raised a Christian but was away from church until we married. One day he said to me when we were discussing finances “God will provide.” It almost made me cry. It is so true!

    • Heather

      How blessed we are to have such faithful husbands! I remember the night we found out our situation was taking a turn for the worst and my husband said, “God is going to take care of us.” In that moment I knew that I could rest in trusting Him. Thank you for sharing that with us, Lisa.

  4. Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage

    I love the positive attitude you’ve shown in this post. All too important in the work of keeping everyone happy and cared for. I know a lot of folks are going through hard times. Our hard times began in 2004 when my husband lost his job. We still make less than half what he did then and about what we made 25 years ago.

    The most popular post on my blog has been Forty Ways to Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without. If you’d like to look at it, the link is:
    http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com/2013/06/forty-ways-to-use-it-up-wear-it-out.html

    Blessings to you,
    So glad I found your blog.
    Laura

    • Heather

      Thank you for sharing your story and your link, Laura. I will be sure to check it out. Hopefully my readers will, too. Blessings to you and yours.

  5. Sonja

    Trusting God is easy to say and hard to do sometimes with money or whatever! But it brings blessings and that’s exactly what the Lord wants us to do with everything. Pinned!

  6. wisdom4wives

    Keeping our pride in check might also include making changes (like downsizing) that would cause others to ask, “What’s going on with them?” But we need to do what’s best for our family and not worry what anyone else thinks. These “keeps” are great and I wouldn’t add anything. :)

  7. Holly Barrett

    This is great, Heather! It’s so hard not to get down when money is tight. But your suggestions can help us all to keep our focus where it needs to be instead of dwelling on the money…or lack thereof!

    • Heather

      Thanks, Holly! My reason for blogging is to be an encouragement to others by reminding us to keep our focus on Him and Him alone.

    • Heather

      I’m so happy that I was able to encourage you, Kathleen. You bring up an excellent point. Over the years, I have become more and more frugal as I have learned from those around me. Thanks for sharing that thought with us.

  8. adrian@lifewithgarnish.com

    #6 is the hardest thing for me to keep:( I am a giver, not a taker and I know it’s from being prideful. Thanks for sharing it with us at the Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party:)

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  10. Julie V

    Thanks for the advice. I think we should keep hoping. While we plan for the worst, we need to hope that days will get better.
    Thanks for sharing with the Retro Re-Pin Party. You’ve been pinned to our board.

    • Heather

      Amen and Amen. He is always enough for us – even when we forget. Blessings to you and yours. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing.

  11. debrajan1517

    Yes – and read Dave Ramsey – his ideas transformed my life this year. I have read a lot of historical fiction this year and your first point is so right on – Americans have no idea about need. Great points my sister!

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! Yes, Dave Ramsey has transformed my life, as well. I highly recommend his material. Blessings to you and yours. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Lisa Renee Milford Brittain

    I agree with your list and insights. It is tough to receive, and so much more fun to be the giver. I do believe that we can still be givers even if we are also needing to receive. We might not think the trades are even, but the one I am giving to/helping out might think differently. Bartering/trading can look a lot like the early Christian church. Just a thought…

    • Heather

      I love your thoughts about bartering and trading looking like the early church. We do a little of that in our small town, and I think that it will become more and more common in the future. You are also so right about being givers even when times are tight. Sometimes I have so little to give compared to others that I think it can’t possibly make a difference. And then I remember that not only is God in the details, but He is the One who causes the growth. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts with us, Lisa. Blessings to you and yours.

  13. Wendy

    I think your list is awesome, and I do try to thank God every day for all of our blessings.
    The most important ones to me are my faith, Gods love for us, and my family. Everything else is a luxury. And I’ve come a long way!

    • Heather

      Thanks! I know these are the things that help me. I pray that they help others, as well. Blessings to you and yours, my friend!

  14. jenschon

    Thank you for this. Such a good reminder for keeping things in perspective. Sometimes in the middle of hard times we need something like this to help us have right priorities.

    • Heather

      That’s exactly why I wrote it! I want to encourage others, but I often need the same reminder. Blessings to you and yours. Thanks so much for reading.

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