Who’s up for a challenge? A “No to Spending = Yes to Saving” 30 day challenge!
It’s so easy to spend money. The tech-operated world we live in makes it so incredibly simple to purchase. We see something we want. Take only 1 finger – click click a few times – and it’s on its way to our front door. And now the “click click” in some scenarios isn’t even necessary. We can simply say the purchasing command to Alexa, “Alexa, add bread, milk and eggs to my shopping list,” because Amazon only recognizes Alexa commands. Then simply say, “Alexa buy more deodorant.” If you are listening to a song in Amazon Prime or Spotify or any Apple music, just say, “Alexa buy this song,” and you will have it purchased immediately.
This all has quite a potential to cause the fruit of the Spirit, “self-control,” to miss its expression in our life.
Restraint and contentment are two noble virtues and that is why I’d love for us to take a 30-day journey together that will prove to be so beneficial – not only in our own individual lives but in our relationships with our spouses, family, friends and those God puts in our path during the next 30 days.
For the past couple of months, there has been so much information gathered on my desk at home that pertains to our home-based business. Receipts. Payments to be made. Invoices. Insurances. Business expenses. Monthly tax withdrawals. Etc. As the business expands, so is my bookkeeping. And one life lesson that has come to my mind from all the detailed financial records we’re keeping is something Rip and I already know. Something so basic. So simple. And it’s this –
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.– Proverbs 23:4 NASB
The Good News Translation says this verse to include the intent of its message – “Be wise”…
Be wise enough not to wear yourself out trying to get rich. – Proverbs 23:4
This is the way the wise walk – those who desire to walk in the wisdom of God. They may gain wealth, but they do not weary themselves in doing so.
Then, we go to another teaching in Scripture and it’s this -a biblical teaching on how to wisely view every copper penny God gives us to manage given to us from Christ Jesus. Investing is wise! But there is a right and a wrong way to increase.
But this post is not on investing; it’s on not over spending so that there is more to save and more to invest.
So how will the challenge work – Starting July 24 and ending on August 23:
First, here’s how I have gotten organized and wanted to encourage you to consider. Start with these budget sheets, and I purchased this binder. (I am not an associate with Amazon, so I do not receive any commissions off your purchase.) I also went to Office Depot and found this planner.
It starts in July 2023 and provides all the way through to June 2024. I’ll be using it for menu planning, scheduled payments due, other bill payments, etc. It is only for financial planning because, other than this 30-day challenge, Rip and I also have goals for this year and for 2024 – to not only be debt free, but to have gotten much closer to paying off our mortgage. After you have worked out your budget, begin putting cash into the designated envelopes and then label the clear envelopes.
I have not labeled mine yet, but will get it done this weekend because I am just so excited about this! I hope you are, too! It’s not only going to be so much fun, but knowing we are being wise stewards of the money God entrusts to our management and not being materialistic or impulse shopping … even saying NO to that little “it’s just $5.00” purchase. When you set a limit to your spending, and pay with cash, you’re so much more disciplined and exercise restraint. Those are both noble virtues!
Starting July 24 and ending on August 23 we will:
- Have a game plan – saying NO to small and large “things” that we may want, but we do not need. Look ahead into the next 30 days and see where your money will HAVE to go- mortgage, rent, utilities, meals/food, vehicles (gas), and create a 30-day budget. Assign your money to the HAVE TO tasks. Then, for the next 30 days, consider using a cash system. After mortgage/rent/utilities, place cash into labeled envelopes for each category: groceries – gas – food (dining out) – co-pays if you have any health care appointments scheduled – payments for home maintenance (aka; pest control service, help with house cleaning, special projects that may already be scheduled for the next 30 days. Try to block off time this weekend to look ahead and plan for this challenge by paying cash as much as possible for the necessities. In other words, get prepared for 30 days of conscientious and disciplined spending and saving by putting your thoughts on paper. Also, here is a budget sheet to help you create a good working budget.
2. Menu Plan. You will be amazed at how much money you will save when you plan for your meals in 2 week or 4 week increments. Here are a couple of resources to help you in your planning.
The Real Food Dieticians – 2 week plan
The Real Food Dieticians – 4 week plan
3. Enjoy the Outdoors. So often we spend money we really need to be saving or investing because we stay indoors on our phone, Ipads, or in front of a television or even strolling through magazines. But for the next 30 days, what chores of projects (that do not require any money!) at your home and outside can get accomplished? Do some flowerbeds need more TLC, or a garden that could use some fresh compost or de-weeding? Do you have a swing that could use some cleaning or maybe a fresh coat of stain or paint? What about the windows…is it a good time to give them a good washing down along with the window sills? Look at these next 30 days as the perfect opportunity to get things done around the house outside and to save money!
4. Enjoy the Indoors. Especially on rainy days, go to a pre-made list of fun and creative tasks that you can do inside your home. Would these next 30 days be a great time to completely rearrange or even repurpose a room? What about all those photos you’ve been wanting to get in albums or scrapbooks? These next 30 days of saying NO to spending really can be some of the most productive and fun days for us. There are always things we can do to better organize, tidy up, clean and redecorate in our home (using things we already have). I worked last week for a client in her home to do just that – she was a widow and the only items she really wanted on all her family room built-in shelves were items so very special to her. They were things her late husband had given her, things that her children had made as kids or had given to her through the years. She is a minimalist, so the shelves were “slim” in decor’, but each shelve, as she so perfectly said on the day of the reveal, “gives honor to each memory.” SO, consider the inside of your home – could these next 30 days be a great time to scale back, maybe even have a yard sale and actually MAKE money?
5. Read. I know…reading is not for everyone. BUT if you are a reader (like me!), consider getting a good book and taking these next 30 days to either read for enjoyment and inspiration, or read for education. Is there a personal area of your life you’ve been wanting to intentionally strengthen, or interests that you’ve been wanting pursue? These next 30 days would be a great time to exchange shopping with personal development. Is there a garden book you can read and study so in the fall you are ready to build your own raised beds? What about drawing closer to God? I can recommend so many books to you just for your own spiritual growth and development. (I’ll leave a few that have had a huge impact in my own life at the end of this post.) Whatever your interests or aspirations, gift yourself the next 30 days to enjoy reading.
There’s one other bit of encouragement … ask someone to join you in this challenge. It’s so much more fun when we can inspire each other in areas where we are wanting to grow, not to mention … to have a trusted friend to remind us ever so lovingly, “You WANT that, you don’t NEED that.” When we lived in TN, I can remember my daughter, Samantha, and I were out shopping and I found some beautiful placemats and napkins. I went on and on about how much I just loved the color, the texture, the patterned design…and I said to her, “I think I’m just going to get these. The napkins are so soft and pretty!” And then Samantha said, “Momma, you want them, but you don’t need them.” And she was exactly right! I was going to spend money on something that, yes, it all would have made for a beautiful supper table, but with all the other financial priorities in our family’s life, placemats and napkins needed to be waaay at the bottom. Like, so at the bottom that I put it all back! And guess what…I didn’t regret that decision one little bit. She helped me stick to some goals that day and I was thankful.
So, ask someone to journey with you because accountability works both ways – they will help you and you will help them get to the end of the challenge and see less spending and more saving.
Recommended Books for Your Spiritual Life from John MacArthur:
Here are two resources I use weekly:
Any books from Alistair Begg are excellent!
And ANY books from Banner of Truth.…If you are not already receiving the Banner of Truth magazine each month, I’d love to highly encourage you to receive it. But the books Banner of Truth provide are rock solid in doctrine and theological studies. ENJOY!
One of the BEST Commentaries … read it just like a book, reading page after page prayerfully. This one book is why I wrote my own bible study in 2021-2022, “Living Certain in an Uncertain World” and taught it at our local church. The PDF of this study is available to Members of this website and located in the Growing Spiritually category. To become a Member, you simply SUBSCRIBE with a working email and your name. You will then have access to the other 4 categories of this website.
Have a wonderful time gearing up for July 23rd!