What’s money got to do with it?
Remember who you are
Everything you do shows the world who you are. As a child of God, your choices say much about your beliefs. You also represent your husband with every choice you make. And you are creating a heritage for your children and grandchildren. Let them be able to look back and be able to say that you were a truly godly woman who did what she could.
Learn some skills
It doesn’t matter if no one has ever taught you how to cook or clean or sew. Teach yourself. There’s a plethora of available tools for the aspiring frugal homemaker and the wise woman takes advantage of at least some of them. The more you can do, the more you can save. Period.
Keep your wants few
There’s an old saying along the line of the man who has little and wants less is richer than the man who has much and wants more. This is absolutely true. Contentment goes a long…long…long way towards being able to save money. If you find you aren’t content, do a heart check. Read what the Bible says about it and pray. Get right on this and you’ll get right on a lot of things.
Don’t worry about what’s in style
Advertisers, stores, corporations, salesmen, and craftsmen make a lot of money by telling you what’s in style and then selling you what they’ve just convinced you that you want. Don’t fall for it. It doesn’t matter what’s in style. It doesn’t even really matter–when you get right down to it–what your personal style is or isn’t. It matters that you are a good steward of the blessings the Lord has given you and that you use His money well. So put the magazines away, turn off the TV, forget the books, and figure out what you can do with what you’ve got and, if you really need something new (I said need, remember), find it as inexpensively as possible.
Find something inexpensive that you like and do what you can with it
I love baskets. I used to find them for just a few cents at thrift stores and yard sales. I’d take those baskets home and use them in all sorts of ways. They held my produce. They came out year after year as Easter baskets for my children. I’d put the magazines my mother-in-law would buy me in them. One sat next to my husband’s chair and he’d put his books and notebooks in it. Another held remotes. Still others held cute stuffed geese that I’d found and thought adorable. My baskets came in all shapes and sizes and I had a couple of dozen, maybe more. All in all, they hadn’t even cost me $10 spread out over a period of time but they were versatile, pretty, and filled many a need.
Making do takes many forms. I had a friend who didn’t have a baby bed. Her little one slept in a drawer in her dresser when she was first born. Was it a long term solution? No, as soon as the child could turn over it would have no longer worked. But by then she’d saved enough to buy a second hand bassinet.
I used to tear up old and falling apart towels to make cleaning cloths. I’d then pick up some more towels through yard sales or thrift stores. Then years, later things got so bad we couldn’t afford any “new” towels at all. Eventually when they all tore up, we made do with t-shirts, air drying, sheets, whatever we could use. Was it perfect? Not even close. Did I like it? Of course not but that wasn’t the point. But we managed and we did so without complaint.
Just remember that if you make do but have a grumpy spirit, you’ve just given into sin. If you make do with a heart of thankfulness, the Lord is glorified. So be thankful for what you’ve got and what you can do (even if it isn’t anywhere close to what you’d like to do).
Save for a rainy day
Obviously, it’d be perfect if you could save money for a rainy day but I’m not talking about money. I mean save what you’ve got until you need it. Don’t get rid of your baby items. Save them for the next little one. Eventually when there aren’t any new little ones, give them to a new Mama who can use them, or sell them.
Don’t get rid of this year’s shoes. Save them for next year. And the year after. And the year after that. Take care of them. Make them last. Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, cute shoes aren’t everything. Is it nice to have nice shoes that color coordinate and match everything? Honestly, for me, that would feel wasteful so I’d have to say no. Once I married, I was never able to afford new shoes, except maybe four dollar tennis shoes or house slippers (and lots of times that was a stretch). My feet are really hard to fit since I have a high instep, a high arch, a narrow heel, and so on. Nonetheless, I have made do for over three decades by praying and asking for shoes and then being on the lookout for them. God has never failed to bless me with them. I don’t have a lot because I neither need nor want a lot of shoes. I want what I need and that’s a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of dress shoes, and some sandals.
Save bowls–you know yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese containers. Turn pickle jars into grease jars. Save mayonnaise jars for soup. Reuse coke bottles for water. You don’t need the fancy containers so choose not to want them.
Which brings us to our next section.
Choose what you want carefully
You exchange dollars or minutes for every single purchase you make. Plus what you have, you have to spend time caring for it. If it’s washable, you have to wash it. If it collects dust, you have to dust it. And so on. That’s on top of exchanging hours of your husband’s life for this thingamabob that you just had to have. Is it worth three hours or more of your husband’s life for you to buy that new dress? Is it worth exchanging a half an hour of his time to pick up fancy coffees? Only you and he can decide but sit down and talk. Understand where you are financially and where you want to be. Figure out what you need to learn to do without in order to get to where you want to go. Sometimes a fancy coffee out is a chance to recharge, rewind, and fellowship with fellow believers or a fairly inexpensive date for you and your beloved but–and you have to be the one who decides this–it might be just a fancy coffee that you can easily do without.
Barter or trade
If you’ve got fresh eggs and I want them and I’ve got an extra set of sheets and you want those, then it’s just a matter of deciding how many eggs I get in exchange for my sheets. You might offer to cut my grass if I bake you some fresh homemade bread. And so on. What you have to decide is what you’ve got or can do that is valuable to others and then proceed accordingly (which is also the basis for a good home business, so keep that in mind).
It’s all about the attitude
During the Great Depression, the motto was “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” That’s a really great motto and one I choose to live by even now. I don’t like stuff. I don’t want a lot of things. I don’t care for knick-knacks (every now and then I’ll find one that makes me happy and if it’s a fraction of nothing and I’ve got it, I might pick it up but usually I walk on by). But that’s me and this isn’t about me. It’s about you and your family.
Just remember (and I know you know this), money really doesn’t grow on trees. What you spend today, your husband has either already worked for or he has to work for tomorrow (or perhaps you do). So be wise with your money and with his time.
Having a good attitude and being determined to use it up and make do and so on while enjoying seeing how well you can do at it, goes a long way towards keeping a happy home. Your husband will appreciate your frugality. Your children will be delighted with the chance to be creative. Make a game out of having or doing things different than other folks. My children were thrilled that they had their choice of well made sturdy strong and even really pretty (or…what would that be for the boys…manly baskets?) that their friends didn’t have. While their friends had cheap poorly made Easter baskets, my children had lovely hand woven ones–and theirs cost less than the poorly made ones.
So, just as I recommended at the first, do a heart check. Be a wise and frugal wife whom your husband can trust with his money. And, while you are at it, do it all for the glory of the Lord. And enjoy yourself while you are at it.
Soli Deo Gloria!