Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 5th, guest post about thrift, new memory verse

If you're memorizing along with me, here's a new verse:

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:17-18

Hadias has written us a lovely post about how to be a thrifty manager of our homes. Since the home is the basic unit of any economy, we need to be mindful of financial stewardship as we manage our households. For some of us, that comes easier than it does to others. I know that even after 28 years of marriage, I still have so much to learn in this area, and I appreciate the examples and teachings of thrifty home managers like Hadias. I've highlighted her words in blue:

Hadias is the wife to a wonderful man whom she’s lovingly dubbed “the next best thing to Jesus in her life”. Hadias has 4 beautiful children whom she homeschools. She has devoted her life to being a example of humility, peacefulness and to living a life fully surrendered to God. You can visit her blog and for more tips on homemaking and simple living.

The words thrift and frugality have once again become household names. The decline in the economy has brought to light what a small group of individuals have already known which is, that living below your means is the the key to true financial freedom.

When we build our lives based upon the principles of “buy now pay later” we soon come to realize that each purchase slowly constructs a financial prison. Once built it is not easy to escape. The steps to releasing yourself from this prison are not easily accomplished, however once taken; your life will never be the same.

Are you tired of feeling that if you or your spouse were to lose your job, you may lose everything you own? Well, below are just a few of the steps that some of the steps that that can put you on the road to having a greater sense of financial peace during tough economic times.

::Trust in the Lord. Begin reading your Bible daily searching the scripture for chapters concerning the Lord promise to take care of you. Begin to be obedient to all that God says concerning your finances and way of life. Build your new life fully dependent upon the Lord versus your job, income, investments, etc.

::Reacquaint yourself with your money by keeping a detailed log for 30 days of everything you spend. The ending total will give you a indisputable picture of where your money is going. (My note: This could be something you jot down in your home economics notebook.)

::Divide the list into wants versus needs. For those who want to dive in head first, you’ll need to freeze spending on those wants. For those who like to stick their toes in first in order to test the water, reduce spending on wants down to one item from the list.

:: Make the call to all of the companies you pay each month and ask if there is any way in which your bill can be reduced. Consider switching companies or canceling certain services. Many people today have switched to cell phone only and get along just fine without cable television.

::Reduce electric cost by lowering your thermostat a few degrees or installing an automatic thermostat. Automatic thermostats can be set to heat the home at the times when you are home and set at a lower temperature when the family is away.

::Plan before you spend another penny. Plan your menus and shopping trips. Plan out your monthly expenses with a budget. Plan for expected and unexpected expenses.

::Pay down debt with a vengeance. Any money freed up from the previous steps should be used to increase minimum payments toward debt. A great resource and financial investment is in using Dave Ramsey’s, Total Money Makeover products and services.

::Put a short term and long term emergency fund in place. The short term should be a minimum of $1,000 and no more than $5,000. Your long term emergency fund should be a minimum of 3-6 months worth of income.

::Small things add up so don’t overlook them. Small spending adds up annually the same way that small saving does. No amount is too little to save. In addition, small thing such as unplugging appliances when not in use and turning down the thermostat a few degrees will shave $$ off your monthly bill.

::Cook meals at home versus eating out. My rule is that we only eat out if something is free. Whether it be kids eat free or a free $5 restaurant gift card with the purchase of a $25 restaurant gift card. Look for ways that will allow you to still enjoy recreational activities, just at a lower out of pocket cost.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. If you have something you'd like to share about being a frugal home manager, please leave a comment or a link following this post.

Happy Homemaking!



Seraphim said...

That was a very timely post, and nicely done too :)
My family have lived pretty frugally for years, but interestingly I still get that buzz of 'yeah! lets pinch a penny!' everytime I read something like this :)
It becomes a fun activity in itself if you get the family involved - its a challenge, after all!

Hadias said...

Thank you Elizabeth. I linked to your blog from mine.