This Sunday my pastor asked people to raise their hands honestly if they desired to be rich. Because of hesitation, he asked twice. First round, I slipped my hand up quickly. Second time I had it raised more surely. He mentioned that if a family of 5 lived above the poverty line in the US , they were most likely in the 1% worldwide. A sobering a view. He assured that riches were not bad, and it’s the lust of the love of money that can make people falter, for creating compromising intentions.
“You are already rich,” He said. “It’s just not in the way the world describes it.”
And I am. I am so grateful for all the blessings I’ve been provided. I’ve never known true hunger, or feared where my next meal would come from. I’ve complained about big bills, but I have them because I’m fortunate to pay them for things I have, like a car, or a job with health insurance so I could get my sinus surgery and experience relief. If I’m truly honest, I would love to be rich. I would love to be a cheerful giver and give above and beyond. I’d say of the five love languages, the ways I like to show I care are words of affirmation and gifts. Because I realize that physical objects don’t show love, but they can help take care of someone’s very real need. Future philanthropist? Sign me up. But before then, God would have to align my desires for sure and I would hope I would never misuse what I’ve been given or let greed overtake me. May it never be.
2018 Spending Pros
+ I gave more: Tithing and to non profits and not-for-profit organizations and causes. I consider that a win, even though it means being more careful in other categories.
+ I spent less on eating out and on entertainment.
2018 Spending Cons
– I spent way more on (preventative) health care
– I spent more overall, and on merchandise.
All in all: I would have spent about the same as 2017 if I hadn’t spent so much on health care, so it really evens out. I’d say 2018 was neutral. I neither did well nor poorly.
Be faithful with my payment plan for the surgery bill. Pay it off before 2020.
One of the sucky parts of last year was finding out I couldn’t have my sinus surgery in an out-patient facility and having to spend nearly double to do it in a hospital. I want to kick this huge bill (thousands of dollars) by the end of the year even though it’s going to be a challenge.
Buy less with more intention
I’m still swimming in a mountain of clothes and despite konmari’ing my clothes a couple years ago, I still find my attachment to them quite strong. What worked when I had my condo with 2 master bedroom sized closets is not working in this smaller living situation. I plan to set aside a Saturday to go through the process again, reviewing what I want out of my clothes and style and how it affects my overall goals. Last year I started buying less makeup and skincare but giving myself room to spend more per item on quality products. I really saw a benefit in it. I’d like to do so with clothes and shoes. Especially shoes. I have always been thrifty with shoes and used to sacrifice comfort for style, but now that I have some swelling type issues, quality shoes have never been more important. I also want to buy less snacks and pantry type items in bulk. I’d rather spend a little more overall to only purchase when I need it and not have items everywhere or more than I can use before expiration.
Stop subscriptions to things you aren’t loving anymore
I loved my Sephora play subscription until I didn’t. It helped me try things as deluxe samples for $10 rather than wasting double that or more on full size items just to not like it. I stopped walking down the makeup aisles and being tempted when shopping as a byproduct. And, I probably only paid for mascara twice this year. But, after a while, I realized I wasn’t using them all up in time and the $120 annually could be used differently now that I have a better idea of what I like. I might stop my Scentbird subscription too now that I have quite a few new perfumes to try. I can also re-sub if I find it worthwhile later, but I intentionally bought a pricey perfume and was generously gifted one, and they are worth every penny and will be enjoyed often. I am also a consultant for an essential oils brand and have been enrolled in a program where if I guarantee a monthly order of $50 I can get rewards. Well, sometimes because of the auto-renewal I forget to change my cart or sink $50 into stuff I didn’t really intentionally want. So, that is most likely my next goodbye. I thought I was doing so great, then I saw that with these services I was investing a total of $75/mo and while it is a good deal overall, it no longer fits me or what I want to spend my money on.
I don’t like stereotyping, so let me say this isn’t always the case, but from observation, it seems like women (myself included) tend to splurge more often on little things and feel guilty with bigger purchases. Guys on the other hand (my boyfriend included) tend to do less smaller frivolous purchases and save up for bigger purchases. They also tend to care less about spending more on something they want to get (like a sandwich at lunch or say, laundry detergent) since they are spending it very specifically, whereas women set price allowances but will get what they don’t need on sale. I think some of this is society. It in part is a repeated pattern we observe in from parents or the general public. I think being a good steward of what you have is always good practice, but I’ve learned with a little more life under my belt that frugality is a flawed concept for a lot of women. We’re praised for being frugal by society, but in that cloud of thought, also limit ourselves. Because with frugal, you make do with what little you can. Frugality has personally limited my train of thought and I’m trying to replace the quality of frugality with intention. I’m not stuck with this little bit, I just need to make plans and proactively work towards “the bigger.” Instead of limiting myself and my potential, I should be maximizing my potential to attain the bigger and better. Part of thinking bigger is budgeting/saving up for larger things down the road including retirement, and part of it is pursuing opportunities with intention of getting closer to those goals. I think it’s empowering to not limit myself and dream bigger.
I’m itching to go on an adventure new somewhere new — particularly on an international trip. As part of the think bigger I’m saving up for something fun. I meant to go to Europe for my 30th birthday but didn’t have the means, especially when I decided to opt for much needed surgery. I’m going to begin not only setting aside but planning some trips for myself. My cousin’s wedding is set for the latter half of the year and I might try to do some vacationing on that coast while I’m out there.
I haven’t wrestled with prayer this badly in a long time. I can only hope that the Holy Spirit is uttering what I can’t fathom but feel, and that God is gracious on my messy pleas.
Do I have the faith to pray big? Do I have the faith to do so?
I’m working on it. I’m also working on accepting that God’s plans are not mine, and trying to find balance in that. But I don’t want to just decide God is done with him either.
I reached out and asked specifically for 20 people to commit to praying for him with me, for 8 days of continuous prayer for him. Thankfully, I am not in this alone. There are people more firmly rooted, more seasoned in prayer and petitioning, that have come alongside me, to lift him up in prayer. The outpouring of love and support during this time has helped me so much.
God, help me to trust you in the yes, no, or not yet.