Before Clay and I were married, my dad had my whole family do Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Clay and I loved it and drank the Kool-Aid big time. With determination, we started knocking out step after step. We paid off our credit cards, gathered an emergency fund, and cut all the costs we could on our wedding to put money aside for our 3-6 months savings. I made a cash envelope system that was cute enough for my purse, and Clay and I ironed out a budget.
Clay works at Chuy’s, which was very slow over the holidays, and so on New Years Eve, when we sat down to go over our budget for January based on December’s income, we were disappointed. We would scrape by, if we cut out everything that wasn’t entirely necessary.
I realized that while we may live on a frugal, newlywed, “bare bones” budget for the next month, we are still in a good place financially. We have our basic needs provided for, can pay our bills, buy our own groceries, afford heath insurance, and even give to our church. We have zero debt, aren’t living paycheck-to-paycheck, and even have some money in the bank for a rainy day. (For those of you who have not followed Dave Ramsey’s baby steps to financial peace, I strongly advise you do so. It really does give us security and peace of mind, as a married couple, mother, and manager of my home).
I also read this article, and while I’m not a big Relevant Magazine fan, this particular statement on gluttony struck a chord with me. Most of us think about gluttony in terms of food, but the article stated that gluttony is the soul’s addiction to excess. If excess is defined as “an amount of something that is more than necessary,” then our country has a serious gluttony problem, in pretty much every area. Christians are certainly no exception. Our wants often outweigh our needs. The anxiety that I was experiencing over my January budget, despite the fact all my needs are met, was proof of this problem in my own heart.
I asked myself the question “Am I satisfied with what God has given me?”
The answer is that while my portion is enough, no, I have not been satisfied.
And truthfully, I don’t need to spend money to decorate my home. I don’t need to have a clothing budget or a membership to a gym.
Don’t misunderstand me, here: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those things or wanting them (I will still pursue my goal of decorating my home). However, I think it’s important to learn to be satisfied with just the necessities, to thank God for your portion, however big or small it is.
A week into the month and we are doing better-than-great!
The tight budget has changed my perspective in regards to our finances as a whole: if we can live on this much and still feel comfortable and happy, how much more could we save and give by living well below our means?