It’s the thing that no one wants to talk about, but no one can live without. Money. And we all want A LOT of it.
During my quiet time a few days ago I came across the scripture, “But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” – 1 Timothy 6:6-7.
I began to think about the concept of contentment, and how I’m rarely ever content. It seems like I constantly want the new trendy shoes, some new kind of makeup or the latest handbag – but none of those things are going with me when I go.
A few days passed and my heart continued to be stirred, and after one glance at my bank account I realized I needed to make some changes. I felt convicted spiritually, but I also realized that I am going to be post-grad in less than a year and completely on my own. Now is the time to figure out my finances and get my priorities in check.
Here’s what I did:
- Printed out my bank statement for the last month and color coded it (food, rent/utilities & extra spending).
- Calculated how much I spent in each category and where I needed to cut back (this was shocking).
- Set a savings goal & determined how much I needed to save each paycheck.
- Made a specific game plan of changes I could make to spend less & save more.
What I found:
- I spend entirely too much money eating out. I constantly make the excuse that I’m too busy to cook, but after some simple planning I’ve cut eating out almost entirely out of my budget. I write out what I will eat for dinner each night at the beginning of the week and go to the grocery store (using the free app called “PepperPlate”). Preparation is half of the battle (in one week I saved approx. $75). P.S. – Cooking is not my expertise so I keep it really simple; salads, sandwiches, frozen pizzas & lots of leftovers.
- I wait to save my money at the end of the month. I always say I’ll put what I have left over at the end of the month into my savings, but I never do. I decided to take my 10% (at least) and put it into my savings as soon as I get my paychecks. It’s been fun watching my savings account climb!
- I go broke $5 at a time. Sometimes I get the urge to wheel into TJ Maxx or just “run in” Target for a few minutes. I only spend $10 here or $20 there. The truth is those small purchases add up just as quickly as big ones do. I have committed to shopping only when I actually need something and buying only that (this is the worst part).
- Week one is easy. The first week of my spending freeze was easy. It’s now that I’m getting tired of my homemade dinners and skipping out on the mall that it’s starting to get tough. But taking the time to say a quick prayer during my moments of weakness helps me stay on track.
The greatest part of this “challenge” I’ve given myself isn’t the money party, but rather the heart part. While the extra cash in my savings account excites me and better prepares me for the future, it’s the extra time I spend with God and the improved order of my priorities that really make the difference.
I don’t think I’ve made a revolutionary discovery, but the small changes I’ve made have certainly been revolutionary for me, my bank account and my relationship with Jesus.
Are you content?