Are you a frugal woman?
Many of us no longer have any idea how to be frugal. Bombarded as we are with choices, styles, and fashions, we have difficulty choosing. Why have one pair of dressy shoes, a comfortable work pair, and maybe some sandals, when you can have five different pairs of cute sandals–and then all the others? That’s what everyone else does–right?
Well, that’s what we think everyone else does because that’s what we’re told. We’re encouraged by foolish friends, driven by advertisements, and propelled by our own desires towards more, more, more.
But is more really what we need? Or do we need to reevaluate our priorities?
Frugality is a virtue
One of the problems in our modern times is that Mamas and Grandmas, Fathers and Granddads, aren’t doing their jobs. Many of us, not having been taught to be frugal (or much of anything else), don’t know what we ought to know and, worse, we don’t know that we don’t know it.
One example of this is that we don’t know how to say no to ourselves. We often will want something and just go for it, unaware that doing so is breaking God’s commandment to be a good steward of the money He has blessed us with. This is at odds with developing a frugal mindset.
Often, we are unaware of the fact that we are doing this since many of us no longer seem to be able to distinguish between wants and needs. If something looks good, if our friends have it, or if it’s the newest thing, many of us want it. We might even think we need it. But we’re wrong.
The difference in wants and needs
Scripture lays out our needs into the categories of food and clothing.
1 Timothy 6: 6-8, 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
God doesn’t say that if we have a certain kind of food or clothing but if we have food and clothing, we should be content. How many of us can say we are?
The Proverbs 31 woman is a frugal woman
Have you ever considered that the Proverbs 31 woman is a great example of a frugal woman? Given to us for our example, and exemplifying God’s design for women, this woman uses both her time and money well and makes wise decisions about both that frees her husband to concentrate on the things a man needs to take care of.
Her husband trusts her
Consider these verses in Proverbs 31…
Proverbs 31: 11-12, 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
This woman’s husband doesn’t have to worry about her wasting money or time. She isn’t engaged in idle talk or slander. She doesn’t waste her time sitting around watching soap operas or sleeping needlessly. She’s actively engaged in doing good to her husband through the way she manages her household, the way she handles herself, and through the life she lives. She’s wise in the use of all the gifts, energies, time, and talents, with which the Lord has blessed. She knows that a woman who is wasteful in one area of her life is wasteful in all areas. And she also realizes that if she is wasteful, she is not seeking to glorify the Lord.
She’s a wise worker at home
A frugal woman will also be an industrious woman who lives her life, day by day, moment by moment, with wisdom.
Proverbs 31: 13-16, 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31: 18-22, 24, 27 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
A wise example in frugality
The wise woman the Lord chose as our example is busy, productive, engaged in home industry, and she takes care of her family and their needs as well as the needs of others. But she’s no impossible-to-be-her super woman; rather, the Proverbs 31 woman is a woman who is faithfully seeking to be pleasing to the Lord by using her time and her money in a God-honoring way. She is wise, careful, and frugal.
She seeks, brings, makes, puts, opens, perceives, and so on. She is up early, makes wise decisions, and works hard. All of which are components of frugality.
Frugality cannot co-exist with laziness
A frugal woman doesn’t waste that which the Lord has graciously blessed her with. Whether food, time, talent, raw components, or anything else, she makes wise and careful use of them.
Proverbs 26: 13-16, The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
Proverbs 10: 4, A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 21: 25, The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.
Proverbs 24: 30-34, I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Frugality and covetousness cannot co-exist
1 Timothy 6: 10, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
We will never be frugal as long as we are covetous. In our Western world, covetousness is a constant struggle.
But I’m not covetous, you say? I say the same thing. And I mean it but the truth is, I can be covetous if given the right circumstances. It’s my beliefs that any of us can be. Let me explain.
Does any of this ring true?
Matthew 6: 24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Do you ever flip through a magazine and find yourself salivating over the pretty clothes, the gadgets, or the whatzits?
What about watching a TV show or a movie and noticing this really cool thingamabob that, until that moment, you didn’t even know existed but now you can just imagine how wonderful it would be to own?
Have you heard your neighbors laughing and splashing in their backyard pool and ached because you really (really) wish you could afford one just like it for your own family?
Did you ever scroll through Facebook and see a friend’s post about their vacation and feel just a little bit envious that it is her family and not yours heading off for fun?
Yeah, me, too. I guess we all do sometimes. It’s when we let those thoughts settle deep down within our hearts and take root that we become covetous.
Covetousness is a sin
Ecclesiastes 5: 10, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
Just thinking about how nice it would be to have something isn’t necessarily being covetous but when we can’t stop thinking about it, we’re heading in that direction. We don’t hear a lot about covetousness in modern times but God’s Word says it’s a sin. Since His Word doesn’t change, though modern man might ignore covetousness and even encourage it, it is still a sin.
So what can we do to protect ourselves from courteousness? One thing that is easy (and, in fact, because of Corona shut downs, easier than ever) is to simply stay out of the stores. Out of sight, out of mind sort of thing. But not everything is in the stores. With everything digital, stores come to us. We can flip through the wares offered by everything from WalMart to Amazon and all in between with just a flick of our mouse or a touch on a screen. If we desire to be frugal and not give in to covetousness, we would wisely shun such activity.
Hebrews 13: 5, Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Philippians 4: 11-13, Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Ask yourself: Am I content?
I’m not asking if you have everything you think you need but are you content while waiting on the Lord and trusting in Him to provide for you as He sees fit?
Will you choose to be content if the Lord denies you those things that you long for the most?
Are you content even if, having little, you lose more?
Contentment is a often ignored component of frugality because, when we’re content with the things we have and we trust the Lord with the things we need, when we lose more we can still trust the Lord. Moreover, we can praise Him.
It’s just a thing
I have a niece who, when as a child she made a mess she’d say, “Accidents always happen sometimes.” We adopted that phrase in our family. If an accident happens and something breaks, let it go. People are more important than things.
And that’s because things are things. Meant to be used, often worn out, discarded, or broken, things aren’t permanent. Another saying we have is, “It’s just a thing.” This helps us to keep perspective when something we love is no longer.
Hard work is a virtue
Proverbs 13: 4, The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Hard work is a virtue. Many folks in our self-centered modern times no longer value a strong work ethic. That’s truly a shame. The Lord commanded man to work and, by extension, woman. We have a job to do. If we fail to do it because we’re too lazy, we’re in sin.
Folks back in my mother’s and grandparent’s times knew this. Having a strong work ethic was a thing to be prized. It was a virtue passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. I can remember my mother saying that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and the same can be said about wandering eyes or minds. When we allow ourselves to not do that which we ought because we’re too lazy to or because we’re too busy focusing on those things that aren’t important or are just for fun, we’re also sinning.
And how do we think we get the things we need? Hard work. Somebody has to work to make the money to buy the things we need or at least to purchase the components of the things we need to create, grow, or design our needs.
What does frugality have to do with it?
What does all of this have to do with frugality?
Everything costs time or money or both.
Every time we spend money, we are exchanging part of our life for the pleasure of purchasing, experiencing, owning, or having that thing momentarily.
So, ladies, when we carelessly use money, allow things to waste or be easily broken, discard something because it isn’t exactly what we wanted, we are being the opposite of frugal.
We’ll never have everything
We’ll never have everything we think we need or want and that’s alright. Doing without, and being content with doing without, is good. It helps us to keep our priorities straight.
Folks used to have simple wants. Grocery stores were simple places that sold what we’d now consider staples. Folks gathered together to sing, read, tell stories, or play. Children actually played. From childhood up, you were taught the value of things. Many of us look back in envy at those times while others scorn them.
But folks were happier when they didn’t have as many choices. They were more joyful when they had to work for what they had. And they knew that they had to do whatever it took to make it last.
Don’t let frugality become a pride issue
Proverbs 11: 2, When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
If our desire is to bring glory to the Lord, then we realize that any progress we make is due to His grace and for His glory.
The foolish woman, however, sees herself as the one making progress and thus she takes undue pride in her accomplishments and sees it as something she has achieved.
This is true in every aspect of life. So, sisters, if you are seeking to be more frugal I applaud you. But remember, we mustn’t let ourselves become prideful. Just like we shouldn’t compare what we don’t have to what others do have, we mustn’t compare what we do to what others don’t do.
Let us, in frugality as in everything, seek the Lord’s glory first, foremost, and always.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Michael LongmireMichael Longmire@f7photo on Unsplash