Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Frugal Living

Times are continuing to get rougher and rougher, in our part of the country. There are automotive and RV industries in our area, that most have closed and still some are really down on hours.

These areas then, also have an impact on other areas, retail, entertainment, vacation, and food! And I think, just about every walk of life is affected. I know my family has been affected.

My husband has a good job, and will probably continue to have a job no matter how bad things get, but we are still affected, by food prices, rising utility prices, rising prices of building materials, rising prices of clothing, etc. We are a one-income family.

Now, more then ever, we as women need to look to the Proverbs 31 Woman. And we can find comfort in her work.

Her work is all done for the Lord. She daily strives to bring glory to God, and happiness to her husband.

We have become a society that is dependent on what we can afford, what we can buy when we need it. What if you can't afford? What if you can afford, but could off-set your costs by doing work yourself?

Pro 31:11 Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor.

As long as we are working hard for God, and not competing against the neighbors, we will not be poor. You maybe "poor" according to the Hollywood standard, but according to God's standard, you won't be.

Col 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.

I look to the Proverbs 31 Woman, and I LOVE this verse. It gives me more confirmation on my spending 3 hours grocery shopping, and stopping at several store before I'm done:

Pro 31:14 She brings home food from out-of-the-way places, as merchant ships do.

She goes and looks for the best things to bring to her family. She probably knows that she can go to this place here and get the best quality and price on meat. Then she goes here to get the best quality and price on her linens. And so on. She shops for the best. That is what I try to do in "deal shopping". Look here if you want to learn more on how to find the best deals at stores in our area. Don't be afraid to spend extra time on getting good deals on food, clothing, etc. This is your JOB, as a wife, and mother!

Pro 31:15 She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do.

Pro 31:18 She knows the value of everything she makes, and works late into the night.

She loves her husband and her family so much, that she wakes up early and goes to bed late. In between, she is working to improve their standard of living.

In several verses, she is making things. She spins her threads and weaves her clothes. She makes sure her family has warm clothing. She makes clothes and sells them!

Pro 31:25 She is strong and respected and not afraid of the future.

Nor should we be afraid of our future, as long as we are doing our Father's business, and looking after the needs of our husband and our family.

So, do we need to weave our own cloth, and make clothes to sell? Well, not necessarily. I believe if you have any desire at all though, to work with your hands, do it. Do you have a sewing machine? DO you have access to one? Play around with it. Can you make your own curtains for $30, instead of spending $300. by folding over the ends of some fabric and sewing a line? With a little effort you can use a cheap sewing machine to save your family a lot of money!

What about having a small garden, or a few potted vegetable plants? A little effort can give your family some fresh vegetables, and save a lot of money. Last summer, we has a small garden, and we were able to eat FREE MEALS by eating out of our garden! We had lots of stir-fry veggies. And zucchini bread, and corn on the cob, salads, etc.

What about getting a clothes line? And hanging out clothes? Save your gas and/or electric. Plus the fresh smell.... mmmmm.... I want to get a clothesline. And of course, being winter, I won't hang my clothes out. But summer... I love that fresh smell.

Get some chickens! We have chickens and I have thoroughly enjoyed not having to buy eggs. Plus I love watching those girls cluck around the barn yard, and dig for bugs. And it is SO much healthier. If you have the land get a cow, or something else for meat.

Use what you have! Don't go out and buy new, if you have something that you can "make do" or something you can fix-up and save money with. Our mini-van has problems, it is a 1999 model, and now 10 years old. And we talked about getting a new(er) one, but our van is paid for. And with a tune-up, our van could be just-as-good. And there is no extra payment per month to go along with it. Don't go out and buy something that you don really NEED.

To go along with that one, keep things in good working order. Take care of what you have, and your things will last longer. Keep things clean, oiled, tuned-up, etc. And your things should work well for you a lot longer.

Keep YOURSELF and your family in good working order too! Stay away from lots of sugar. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and veggies. Drink lots of water, and less sodas and juices (unless fresh!). Make food from scratch. That way you know what is in it. Carry anti-bacterial in your purse. I don't want to over-use anti-bacterial, because SOME bacteria is good. But the flu virus you picked up on the handle of the shopping cart is NOT. Buy things locally. Go to flea markets, go to local produce markets and get things local! These are most likely better for you!

I hope these ideas give you some motivation to make some simple changes, but enough to bring some good changes to your family. And make your husband proud!