The book of Proverbs gives us the above admonition and I couldn't help but think about this the other day as the temperature dropped quite drastically and we were suddenly introduced to fall weather again. I went to my closet to see what in the world I was going to wear and I was pleasantly surprised to find some of my great deals from garage sales this past summer. Wow! So glad God provided some "new" clothes for me. I have lost weight after having my last baby (who will be a year old next week! sniff! sniff!) so I am in completely different size clothing than I have been in since probably high school. Needless to say, I hadn't hung on to that stuff so I have been in need of new clothes! I'm super committed to living within our means (going on month 9 without a credit card by God's grace and with His help!) and I'm not about to go spending a bunch of money on new clothes for myself. Not that I don't like new clothes but I can find them cheaper at garage sales or the resale shop. I mean after all, who doesn't love H&M?? But, right now, I can probably find cuter things at the sales because those people are out there buying the name brand stuff (like the adorable cords I'm wearing at the moment from Ann Taylor) and I pay only pennies for it compared to the original price tag. Seriously, I wish they would do a Mom to Mom sale for clothes for the Mommies! So, praise the Lord I found some great clothes for the fall/winter while I was out "shopping" this summer. Also, if you haven't already, you should definitely check out Mom to Mom sales for your kids. I find great deals on super cute stuff for the kids at these sales and again, pay a fraction of the price that I would at the store. There is nothing wrong with buying used--we're so wasteful in this country anyways, it's sad. I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to clothes for the kids and me but I don't feel bad about that at all because in this case, I can afford to be picky. :) Besides, God always fills in all the gaps in the clothing/shoe department by hand me downs. I do have to buy shoes for C1 since he's the oldest and the boy hand me downs are almost non-existent for us. So, if you haven't shopped garage sales/mom to moms now's the time to start (well, garage sale season's almost over) but the Mom to Mom's are just starting! Yahoo! Of course, you ought to be budgeting these items in your family budget. :)
Also, on a really pleasant note, I saved about $14 the other day at Whole Foods which I feel is a great accomplishment. We have not gone all organic because that would not be possible for us. However, when I can get a really good deal on an organic item, I get it. Even at Whole Foods you can use their store coupons, combine it with a manufacturer coupon and combine it with a sale for a bundle of healthy savings. I recently read about eating organic and the place that it has in my life as a Christian and the blogger was right on. I want to have my family eat organic when possible because I believe that is what is best for them. However, we are not about to refuse to eat something at someone else's home because it's not organic or because it's not even healthy. The relationship with the person is not worth sacrificing! If food impedes my ministry with others it is an idol. And, ouch...if I don't want to share the organic food item I have in my home with someone else because I want to save it for my family, that could be wrong too. It was great to read someone's else thoughts on that over at http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/01/can-nautral-living-become-an-idol.html.
*Soon* I would like to post some recipes on here that are easy, healthy and will save you from buying the organic variety at the store. For our family traditions we go apple picking, strawberry picking and blueberry picking. I think next year we'll add peaches to that list. We then freeze them and my amazing husband will make super easy jam from them (without pectin so it's really easy!). When you compare the cost of a homemade jar of high-fructose-corn-syrup-free raspberry jam to a jar of the same stuff at the whole store you'll quickly see the savings of making it yourself. Besides, the memories you make as a family picking the above fruits is priceless!
I think people often feel that if you're on a super tight budget it's a curse and not a blessing. I try to look at it the other way. Being on a tight budget has forced us to eat healthier (no eating out except for the $5 pizzas we budget in once a week). It has made me stop to consider what I really should buy at the grocery store and it allows me to acknowledge my dependence on God for all of our needs. We should do that regardless of whether or not we make 40K or 100K. It's just easier to acknowledge my dependence on him when it's a k rather than a K. :) If the Lord does expand our income some day I pray that we will have been faithful in little so that we can be faithful in much.
Wow...when I stop to think of how much God has blessed Adam and me I am so thankful. We are coming up on our 7 year anniversay in about a week and a half and we won't be celebrating with a fancy trip anywhere but I do look at what God has given us--3 beautiful kids who love to sing praises to the Lord, giggle, snuggle and love us! There are times when I don't feel so "delighted" about a tight budget but God continues to help me grow and to help me give to others regardless of our circumstances. This world is not the end...my prayer is that God would help me to be faithful and to invest in the future!