Whoever thought of the word starving student was probably right. There’s a reason you go broke in university and it is because you have no job, or only work part time and you have no other huge income generating cash cow.
Now…to gear up for this endeavor for the fall….Chris is going back to school for the first time ever. I am so excited for him. This is why we are here in B.C. *sigh of relief* However, this also means that our income will be way less than what we’re used to. God’s providence has brought us this far, I’m sure through His wisdom and power we will come out unscathed.
In my last post, I wrote about how the Lord was preparing us to move here, and it was not revealed why until we actually made the decision to move. It seemed like the Lord was just helping us downsize and chip away at our burden of things, so that when the time came to move away we could do it easily and efficiently and without a huge cost.
The next part of this journey was to teach me and get me interested in being a frugal Momma. I wasn’t always concerned about cost, I spent a lot of money on things I didn’t need. I wasted a lot of money in every possible way that we tend to do in our culture…coffee’s…fast food, movie nights, and the list goes on. It wasn’t until I really started to dive in to God’s word and to dig around deeper that God pointed me towards Proverbs 31.
As I started to read through this passage there were so many things that popped out to me. I actually went through and highlighted nearly the entire passage simply because it was so encouraging. It talks about how wives are noble, precious, hard workers, able bodied, willing to go the distance, careful and mindful about their trading, clever, dignified, can manage their household, has compassion for others, opens their homes, aren’t lazy, and finally, the part that I think of always…they do their husband good, not harm all the days of their life.
I think of that last bit nearly every day. “She does him good not harm all the days of her life”.
What does this mean to me? Well it makes me more mindful about what I am doing with my time, and how I spending the money my husband earns for our family, and how I represent our household when I am dealing with others. It makes me think of honouring my husband.
It really started to shape the way I did things. I wasn’t concerned about my grocery bill before. Now I am. I pay attention to the quality of food that I am purchasing because I know it will be going into the little bodies that God has given to me to take care of. I pay attention to the price that I am paying for that food, and if it is a little more expensive, I make sure that it is because it has come from a good source and that it has earned that price tag rightfully. I use flyers and keep my eye on sales. I try my very best to stick to our food budget, granted there are times where this just doesn’t seem to work out, but I do try to keep my costs minimal. I plan ahead. I never used to plan, in fact I would scoff at those who did because I figured that those who planned ahead had nothing better to do with their time. Now I see that my thinking was foolish and wrong. It has actually helped me to save money by doing so. It seems like a tedious task when I am sitting there writing down a menu and all of the ingredients that go with the meals, but I know that if it is helping our family then it is beneficial in the long run.
Now that we live here in BC, I am way more mindful about the cost of gas, where I travel to and when. We live out in the country, and unfortunately we end up having to drive a little bit to get into town, or to the nearest grocery store. Because of this we have decided only recently to downsize to one vehicle, because it seems ineffective to pay insurance on two vehicles and gas for two vehicles when we can likely do with only one. This also means that I need to plan “town days” now. And make sure that I have my ducks in a row to get my errands done on this particular day and not on any other days because I won’t have a car to get there! (I also consider the fact that the air quality in my area of the country is more polluted and it is probably a good thing to drive only one car instead of two.) If I lived in town, I’d buy a bicycle and a good pair of walking shoes and make do with “two feet and a heartbeat”, but that’s likely for another time in the not so distant future.
And a few of my favorites aside from saving on groceries, and travel…is to make things on my own to suit my need, saving money on bills, and to get really excited about second hand shopping for clothing and other material items.
I had zero craftiness in me. Not a bone. I’d see a hole in a pair of pants, and pitch them in the garbage or send them to the thrift store. This didn’t seem like a problem to me until we moved here actually? I’ve always been a relatively thrifty Mom in that regard. I always shopped in consignment stores for my kids, and just in the last couple of years discovered the joy of thrift stores, but when it came to repairing torn clothing or something that would otherwise be perfectly fine, I couldn’t do it because I didn’t know how. I could thread a needle and make minor repairs, but as far as operating what I now classify as an extremely handy machine…a good old Singer sewing machine…I had no clue? Grade 7 home economics has left the building folks. This is where I decided that if I was going to make do, or do without, I had better learn how to use a sewing machine. This would require owning one of course, and as I mentioned before, if it wasn’t on sale, or used it wouldn’t get purchased. Fortunately for me I found a wonderful little Singer at Walmart of all places, and it was on sale for a steal of deal so I bought it.
Now I am testing the waters with patching, hemming and mending things. I decided to try my hand at quilting as well. I’m not sure when I decided that this would be a good place to start, but if it weren’t for a short visit from my sweet mother in law, I’d have no idea what I was doing and my daughter would have a really terrible looking blanket.
In regards to keeping bills down, I do weird things like go around at night and unplug all of our “machines” which isn’t many anymore. I don’t use things like alarm clocks, instead I rely on things like cell phones to do the trick, thus eliminating the need for a second electronic that does the same function. I don’t have a bedside lamp plugged in unless I am actually using it for something like reading. I stay away from coffee makers, and have opted for a little French press instead. I only wash on cold water unless the laundry is really soiled and needs some extra TLC. I tend to hang dry my clothing unless I am so behind that it would take me a week to dry our laundry and then I cave and use the dryer. Not without feeling a twinge of guilt though.
I also make all of my own cleaning products. It started because I ran out of window cleaner one day and had nothing else on hand that would clean my mirrors, so I looked it up online and it found that vinegar water works just as well!
After this this, I began to do some more researching and stumbled across this wonderful soap called “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap” and so I ran out to Target, and I bought myself two big bottles that cost about $16.00 each. This I tell you…has been the biggest blessing for me. These little bottles of soap ladies, make anything! I make all-purpose spray, toilet cleaner, laundry soap(emergency), body wash, hair wash, floor washing soap. You name it, I use this stuff. It doesn’t leave a residue, it’s all natural and it comes in lovely essential oil scents. You just use a drop of this stuff and it goes a mile. I have yet to replace my bottles because they’re still going strong.
While I don’t typically use Dr. Bronner’s soap for laundry, unless it’s an emergency, I do stretch a few ingredients to make my own version of laundry soap. I admit, I stole this idea from The Duggar family, but it has saved my wallet time and time again friends. It is the cheapest way I’ve found to stretch my dollar on something that typically costs large families a lot of money.
I also don’t buy things like paper towels, napkins and other disposable products. I use wash rags or cloth napkins, or I simply just do without. I feel it is vitally important to steward my families resources carefully and be mindful of what happens to these items after I am done using them. Are they bad for the environment? did some poor child in a far off land make it for me? And are they a waste of my resources? After I have done what many women do, and overthought the entire situation, I make my decision on whether it’s a good purchase or not.
Because of these lifestyle changes, which they truly are…I have noticed that my family is just as happy as they were before all the changes, and I have the comfort of knowing that I am doing my best to serve my husband and my family in a practical way.
I also realize that not everyone will find my ideas as helpful as others, but I encourage you to take away something from this post. Even if it happens to be that you ponder the cost of your purchases next time you are in a store, then this piece will have served you in some way. There is something to be said about that woman who is far more precious than rubies. She has a high calling and she does it perfectly. I on the other hand, am not perfect and I accept that openly(after all I still get myself a Tim Horten’s coffee from time to time ;) ). I can however appreciate that she goes far and wide to serve her family and I hope that you will too, after all God gave us our families and loved ones for a purpose.