I have been asked many times "how do you do it ~ 3 kids and all? " Well, I've decided to just give a peek into our life financially just to give you an idea.
1. Learn to delay gratification.
2. Be content to not DO or LOOK or ACT like anyone else.
3. Trust in the Lord your God.
Now for some "practical tips" that we live by.
This goes for reducing vehicles, house size, amount of items/stuff in your life. Reduce your commitment to activities that cost you more than they give you. (A family membership to an Arena or Swim place, etc may be a great investment for your health, but if you go to many different activities that keep you away from home during meals, or cause you stress, maybe it's not really needed)
Accept donations/ hand-me-downs where you can. Amazing what you can reuse or "upcycle" into something you need. We basically only buy our undergarments new. No sense buying anything else new if we can wait and perhaps use something else. In BC we have a place at the local refuse dumps called "the Share Shed" where you can leave good-for-someone-else items or take those items. Amazing when I have prayed, the item has shown up within a good time frame.
3. Library ~ use yours!
Get books on "thrift" or financial planning and read a bunch... stop when they all seem to be repeating things that you already do. Then you know you've learned and put something into practice. I could give you a long list, but really, why bother? Grow a garden, try not to buy pre-packaged goods, blah blah blah... You know it's cheaper to bring your own coffee/tea instead of buying it. Get real with yourself. Ex. Add up the cost of 1 item and multiply it by how often you have it. See if it's worth it. Put that money somewhere else... like a vacation or a donation to a charity. See if you miss it and how you feel. Maybe it was worth it, maybe not.
4. Get creative~
We don't go out to eat, etc, unless I have made some extra money somehow. Yes, sometimes we go out once a year. I sell some baking, and I have been using a local facebook group called "Beg, Borrow or Barter" to sell off items. (In Manitoba you may know of Ebrandon, etc). This is going to be the best Christmas because I have sold items on this site and stashed away the money. I am dividing it by 3 and have money for the girls presents this year! It is amazing how freeing this is! Our girls get presents and I get to buy them~ ha ha ha.
5. Be content to stay home.
Stay home in the evening, make some popcorn or something and cuddle up with your family and a board game. Snuggle with a good movie and your mate. Go for a walk. Garden. Enjoy the sunset or the sunrise.
Be content to not have what others have.
6. Get serious.
Budgeting is done for 2 reasons ~ you want more out of your financial life or you have to because there is no other option. If you see a storm coming, do something now about it. Look up budgeting worksheets on the internet and WOW! There's a lot. Gail Valoxade (on my side bar) is practical.
We have been in interesting times due to some life choices, yes. Every decision we have made we have peace from God in. We have hope for the future and are investing in that. That doesn't mean the now is always an easy walk ~ far far far from it. The difference is the hope. The hope of something better. We are not walking around in circles, doing the same thing and expecting different results. Love your spouse. Love your children.
Live within your means, and if you are spending more than you are making, look at how you are living. Ask God to show you His plan. Be content. Be happy. Don't look at others, because their life is not your life. What does the Lord require of you? Most of all, don't see "living within your means" as a death sentence to fun times. Trust me, it's not. Give where you can (time, money, prayer, etc) and thank God daily for what you have. Shelter, food and clothing. God is good!