Friday, October 23, 2015

Living Well Spending Zero Week 3 Recap

Christmas basket for our PRC silent auction

We are a full three weeks into our spending freeze and I can tell you I feel great! I thought I would have withdrawals, like I did from sugar and grains when we started Whole 30. But it turns out I'm not as addicted to shopping as I thought! Apparently, if I'm not out and about, in stores, and out at lunch time, it's actually not that hard not to spend. Go figure! The LWSZ challenges -- deep cleaning the house, organizing, getting creative, and pampering myself -- have kept me busy and happy. I will say, I have gone over my food budget a little bit, but hey I'm a work in progress! And I have had some shopping therapy. Not what you're thinking though... I'm not cheating! I've just had the privilege to shop with someone else's money. Woo hoo!!

Our local Pregnancy Resource Center has a banquet and silent auction every year.  I have the exciting job of putting together baskets from our church's Bible study groups, which requires... SHOPPING! I actually got it all done in one afternoon with the help of my mom. It was super fun! I'm able to do 7 baskets this year with the funds we raised, which is awesome! I love our Pregnancy Resource Center. They help so many women in our little city, it's kind of amazing!

I must say, I usually pick up a few things for myself along the way, but this year I kept my focus and didn't buy myself a single thing! Can you feel how proud I am!?!

Sorry, I just couldn't help it!
I think the biggest thing I'm seeing is how little I need to buy to enjoy what I've got. When I take care of what I have it reminds me to be grateful for having it. That even goes for my kiddos! When I sit and play with them or read to them, I remember what a blessing they are. God's really been speaking to me about contentment and thanksgiving throughout this month. "pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thessalonians 5:17-18) "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (I Timothy 6:6)

I feel like I vacillate between wanting everything I see and wanting to be frugal and not buy anything. It's the same with food: I want to be healthy but I also want to eat whatever I want. It's like I'm split... I guess that makes sense, "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." (Galatians 5:17)

My whole life I've believed, or maybe I was taught, that I am my flesh and I have to try to live by the Spirit. My spirit is not who I really am, but who I want to be. Living by the Spirit is hard because I am flesh. But if I look at this verse a little more closely it says "so that you are not to do whatever you want." That's the NIV, but the NLT says it this way, "so you are not free to carry out your good intentions." So, maybe, I'm my spirit man, the one who desires to live by the Holy Spirit. Maybe I'm the good guy, and the flesh is the influence of the world and the lies of the enemy, trying to entice me to be who I don't want to be. And maybe, just maybe, if I dig really deep, and decide to be me... Maybe the real me, my spirit man, is frugal, content, happy with who God made me, not in need of any kind of food/shopping/social-therapy. 

Maybe I'm just in need of some Jesus-therapy, the kind of therapy that actually works, so that I can be who I was made to be -- who I really am.

You guys, I've saved over $1800 in the last three weeks compared to last month...and the month before. EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! (Insert woman cutting credit card emoji here.) Now to be fair, some of that money the previous months was budgeted money that we had planned on spending, and some was donations for the church renovation. But the majority of the money I've saved comes from a category I call "miscellaneous". Purchases that, when I see them on the credit card bill, I cannot remember what they were. Places like Target, Walmart, Ross, Marshalls, Michael's, Dollar Tree, etc. And then there's the way-too-much-to-admit we spend on eating out. And I feel like I cook A LOT. So, yeah, learning a big lesson here. Want to know what it is?

I'm not that person. It's not who God made me to be. I have this desire to be content with what I have and to steward my resources well because that is who God made me. 

It may take some time and effort, but I will retrain my brain and my credit-card-swiping hand to think, evaluate, and process before I make a purchase. I'll plan better. I'll pray about this more. I think that may be the most helpful!

I read a blog about creating a capsule wardrobe, and she said she gives herself a week to think about a clothing purchase before she decides if it belongs in her closet. A week. If I did that I think I'd forget about most of the clothes I've purchased!

So, baby steps. I'm starting with a plan for next month, a new Living Well Spending Less program called Your Best Year Ever (you can sign up here), and a goal to de-clutter my life. I won a book from the LWSZ Instagram challenge about a clutter free life and I am all set to dive right in.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for the next few months!

And, a quick update on our Whole 30: we are FINISHED! We ended our Whole 30 on Tuesday. Wednesday we added refried beans to our meals, and can I tell you they were heavenly! Believe it or not, that's what I've missed most. LOL. I officially lost 10 pounds and two inches off my waist!! My energy is up (now that we're sleeping through the night again!!! WOO HOO!!), and I'm feeling great! We're planning on keeping the general Whole 30 rules in place in our home going forward. I still have another 10 pounds to lose according to my health assessment to get my risks all the way down for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. So that's the goal. We'll see how it goes!


Jessica said...

Yay for savings!! You've had some great realizations this month. I may just join you in having the best year ever! PS I'm so glad you got back into blogging. Love reading it!

Corina Gonzales said...

Woohoo! Great changes and awesome reflection of who we really are and the fight between our flesh and the spirit.

Josh and Corina said...

Thanks girls! You are too sweet!! I'm enjoying writing and love to share my insights. So, thanks for reading!!

Look it up!