Candy blogs: My grandparents used to keep a gallon jar on the dresser in their bedroom. As a child, I lived with them for two years around the ages of 7-8. I watched that jar slowly fill up with quarters. (I’m thinking that they kept their other change to give me to wrap up in a ladies hankie for my Sunday School offering. The hankie kept me from losing the coins before I got to class.) As you can imagine, seeing all those quarters was very attractive to a little girl who had no money of her own. I used to stand in front of it and just LOOK at it, wondering how much money was really in there. Sometimes I’d hear them dump that jar on the bed to count it and I’d run in to watch. I loved those days! I’d never seen so much money! One day I finally asked my grandma why they put their quarters in a jar. She said that they were saving up for a new dryer. One day that gallon jar disappeared and a brand new dryer appeared on the front porch.
I wish I could say that I had applied that lesson when I grew up. I did not.
My husband and I lived deep in debt and no plan for our future for 30 years. Am I sorry? Do we have regrets? Absolutely yes. I will never forget the emotions of being debt-oppressed. Buying things on credit always felt great at the time we purchased things, but later as the payments started adding up, we began to feel the stranglehold of crushing debt. We always thought we couldn’t afford to put money into savings or retirement, couldn’t afford to tithe. God wouldn’t have us pay our tithe and then not be able to pay our bills, would He? We always paid our bills … we had excellent credit. Why didn’t that feel better?
What should I have learned from Grandma’s gallon jar?
♥ live on less than you make
♥ pay as you go
♥ save up for big purchases
♥ save for a rainy day
I missed this verse in the Bible …
When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Prov 31:21-22
The current economic times have given us a wake up call. Although I see unemployment and struggle, including my family, I also see that many Americans, including my family, are beginning to change their priorities. We are re-using and recycling instead of thinking of everything as disposable. We are becoming more people-focused rather than possession-focused.
>>We can all see first hand the danger of instant gratification. For years most of us have been spending more than we make because we wanted the good life without earning it. For many of you girlfriends out there that meant that you had to keep working, even if you would rather have stayed home to raise your children. Many of you chose to raise your incomes by both parents working rather than live within your means. And many don’t live within their means even with both parents working. We didn’t.
Let’s save and plan ahead for large purchases. We’ll appreciate it so much more if we saved and sacrificed for it. The feeling is so much different when one can walk into a store and hand over CASH instead of a CARD! Sometimes you might even change you mind about the purchase. When it comes right down to it, it’s hard to part with a big pile of cash! We’re more focused on getting as much value for our money as possible instead of just because it’s the prettiest or the biggest or the newest.
Educate yourself financially. Make a plan. Know where your money is going. Keep tabs on your savings and investments, especially the things that automatically come out of your paychecks. Look head to expected upcoming expenses. (As I recently heard Dave Ramsey say, “You don’t have to buy a turkey every month but in November you have to plan ahead to buy one.” Love that!) Learn some financial basics. We do our loved ones a disservice when we leave all our financial information in our heads.
When our daughter announced her engagement in 2008, we went to our bank to arrange for a second on our mortgage. We hadn’t saved up for a wedding, even though we’d known there would probably be one on the day she was born 24 years earlier. We began the Financial Peace University class in the spring of 2008. Wouldn’t you know it?! We were encouraged to actually look into our finances. And to our delight we discovered that we had enough company stock to pay for the wedding in cash! If we hadn’t taken that class, we would have taken out a second on our mortgage and still be paying it off with no hope for the future. It was our absolute joy to give that wedding to our daughter and her husband. We enjoyed every moment of the planning and the purchasing and the wedding day.
>>Don’t you long for a more simple life? I hear it in conversations everywhere. Then live more simply. It really can be that simple. Choose and do. Are you too busy doing too many good things? How many coats do you have in your closet? Are you complaining about cleaning three bathrooms? Are your relationships in constant conflict? Has technology taken over your family? Have you let your hobbies rob you of quality time with those you love? Or …
Do you enjoy time playing games together? Have you spent time on your elegantly decorated front porch? Do you take time for dinner around the dinner table? Have you stopped the “I must top last year’s gift” for birthday and holiday family celebrations? Have you sat in front of the fireplace and just watched the flames, while listening to family stories or peaceful music? Do you actually look at your photo albums? Are you teaching your children by example the principle of giving and serving others?
A simple life won’t just drop out of heaven, as I’m so fond of saying. If it comes to you, it will be the result of an intentional choice. Our lives don’t get less busy as the seasons come and go. We have to take the reins of our lives and make it go where we want it to go. Today matters. There may never be a tomorrow.
Check out this picture of Scott and me cutting up our credit cards at our FPU class! (picture to the right and up a little)
Grandma’s gallon jar … I wonder how much money was really in there …