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Posts Tagged ‘cost of living’

Lately, I find myself getting very excited about coupons. It’s obvious it’s rubbing off on my children when I hear them screaming…”look, a coupon!”. I’ve had a couple great shopping trips lately where I leave a store with bags of items and I didn’t spend anything, but instead, they gave me money! I remember a few months ago reading blogs about moms who were saving over 50% on their spending and how stores would pay them to shop…I thought “yeah, right”. Now, I’m the one doing it.

Now the other comment usually that comes to the table is that you end up buying a lot of junk or things you don’t need. And that can be the case…but you have to make choices to get the best bang for your buck for your household on great items you need. You might be surprised at some the coupons out there for healthy food. Recently, Food Lion had $1 off coupon you could use on fresh produce and there was an online printable coupon out there for 75 cents off of fresh pineapple to use at any store. There’s even $1 off coupons for gluten-free products here.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Rite Aid and left with two packages of Huggies diapers, organic lip balm, laundry detergent, and light bulbs. After coupons, they paid me almost $2 and I will be getting a nice rebate check from purchasing these items in a few days.

My two FAVORITE frugal blogs are Money Saving Mom and Southern Savers.

These ladies do a fanastic job keeping us informed about the best deals to be had. They both also have Facebook pages you can “fan” and keep up to date via your FB page.

If this is something you’d like to jump into…just take your time. Pick one or two stores to focus on. Rite Aid and CVS have become my favorite for lots of free household products. It does involve time, but there are great dividends. I’ve been at this about six months. I still have lots to learn, but I definitely feel that it is a worth the time and energy.

As a one-income family…this helps us to reach goals, like keeping momma home with the children, homeschooling, and working on our “debt snow-ball“. In addition to couponing, over the past few years, we’ve learned other money saving opportunities like growing our own food and preserving, eating foods that are “in-season”, using cloth diapers, harvesting deer and butchering it ourselves (thankfully Paul just got his first deer of the season a couple weeks ago), and buying in bulk when we have the chance. This past month we were able to purchase a couple of bushels apples from a nearby Amish community and we made homemade applesauce and canned some for this winter.

As a side note too, I recently read this fascinating article about the frugal fun that millionaires enjoy…#1 on the list…spending time with children and grandchildren…..and gardening was in the top categories also. Also, per this author’s research, only 27% of millionaires live in houses valued over $1 million. Hmmm….I know my couponing won’t make me a millionaire, plus that’s not our goal. But it can help with our family reaching other goals like being in a position to give more. Read here about this young family with some radical goals…like saving in one year enough cash to pay 100% for a home…talk about inspiration!

One final example of our recent coupon savings….last week, we stopped at a couple stores and spent $45 out of pocket with a savings of $83. So that’s a savings of 64%. I was very pleased! We came home with items like bread, yogurt, cereal, rice, diapers, paper towels, lunch meat, baby food, and of course some cookies (hey, sometimes it hard to pass up the cookies when they are FREE with the coupon).

Happy couponing!

~Ma

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“Now he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22

Yeshua’s (Jesus) parable of the sower is familiar to most believers. The sower casts his seed and some of the seed falls by the wayside, some on stony places, some among the thorns, and some on good ground. Only the seed sown on the good ground bears fruit. The seed cast among the thorns is a concept that has been on my mind all week. The key words that I keep going back to is “the deceitfulness of riches”. What did Yeshua mean by the deceitfulness of riches? The easy answer is that riches can deceive us into a life of unfaithfulness to YHWH when we allow our riches to become our god. When “Get Rich or Die Trying” is our mantra for life, we have been deceived. While that interpretation is absolutely correct, is it complete? Was Yeshua only telling us not to allow riches and the things of this world to become our god? As with most things in scripture, I think the answer lies somewhere beyond our typical pat response.

The deceitfulness of riches goes farther than simple materialism. I believe Yeshua was talking about the things we think we must have in order to live. We believe we must have two cars. We must each have a cell phone. We must have health insurance. We must have a retirement plan. We must be able to vacation each year. The list could go on of all the things we “must have”. As this list of “must haves” grows, we become more and more enslaved. Our time is required daily to pay for everything we “must have”.  Our “must haves” are not “must haves” at all. When Yeshua sent out His disciples in Mark 6, He instructed them not to take anything with them. “He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts – but to wear sandals, and not to wear two tunics.” Mark 6:8,9 Did the disciples not need food? Did they not need money or extra clothes? Anyone going on a journey would not consider leaving without the necessary items that would be needed. Yet, Yeshua instructs them not to take anything extra. The needs of the traveling disciples were provided for by the goodness of our Father. All necessities were provided for them.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and YHWH feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” Luke 12:23,24

The cares of this world hold our hearts and minds hostage to the point that we have no room to hear the voice of the Father guiding us and directing us. Righteous living requires a quiet heart and mind. A quiet heart and mind comes with a life that is free of the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.

Father, teach us to set aside the things of this world and live lives that store up treasures in heaven and make your name know among the nations. May we not be swayed by our “must haves” but be guided by your provision

-PA

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We recently had the privilege to talk with an Amish family who is in the same stage of life as us.  They are in their 30’s and have young children.  Even though we live in very different environments, I believe we have lots to learn from each other (especially what we could learn from them).  I even made a comment how we could benefit from their wisdom and the Amish gentleman seemed rather surprised at such a comment. 

Further along in the conversation he made a very profound statement to my husband.  He shared that his mother use to say “The problem is not the HIGH cost of living, but the cost of HIGH living”.  There it was…such a simple statement but it really hit the nail on the head. 

The cost is not always monetary either.  Usually the cost comes in much more profound ways…real meaningful ways, like relationships.  Instead of being together and working together during the days, our family members are apart from each other because dad or mom or both dad AND mom are away at work to pay for our HIGH living rather than just meeting our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

Then in a multi-generational sense, because of our society’s movement away from the family unit, now extended families are no longer supporting each other as what is referred to in Titus 2 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Titus%202&version=31).

I have more to share on this subject…but for now I can’t get all my thoughts together to write out.  But I wanted to go ahead and post this because I pray it spurs us all to really evaluate our lives and the choices we make.  I pray we can move away from our “instant gratification” mentality and look at our choices in how they affect our families 25, 50 , 100 years from now.

~Ma

P.S. I’m preaching to myself….

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