only four days late, i am posting final thoughts on january's "new beginnings."
first, the outcome of the "eat from the pantry" challenge. a guest post on money saving mom wraps it up pretty darn well.
simply put, it is amazing how much food i really have when i think i really don't. even when it whittles down and whittles down, there is still plenty left! no, we did not have enough to have steak and potatoes every night. but it's a comfort to know how creativity and self-restraint can last us a very long time in the eating department.
in the spirit of full disclosure, we did "break the rules" several times and eat out. and i did go to the grocery store more than once. never for the full on, $170 shopping trip, but i went. our resolve faltered especially toward the end of the month.
but habits have started to change. we didn't have anything in the house to make a super fancy, well-rounded meal on tuesday night, but i didn't want to go out. we settled for noodles and red sauce. i was more than satisfied.
going forward, i plan to try to institute meal planning on a regular basis using the approach that builds from what is already in the pantry and adding staples as needed.
because you know what? we have plenty.
next, the shopping fast.
it is incredible what i found while entering reciepts into pear budget last month:
bank balance - excessive target trips = MORE MONEY.
yeah, dude. crazy math, right?
i had a couple insights while fasting in this way. both were definitely Holy Spirit-inspired.
the first one came as i was talking to a friend (the soul mate, kindred spirit kind) who found out around christmastime that her mom has cancer. again. every part of me ached to get on a plane and fly to her. just to sit. she, an only child, is dealing with the difficulty alone for the most part. i wanted so badly to sit with her. buy her coffee. take her shopping. play mad libs. anything. i just wanted to be there instead of on the other side of the computer screen. buying a last-minute plane ticket across the country is impossible at this time, but i heard a whisper from He who whispers revelation with every breath: "this is why I want you right in your finances. so I can use you and your abundant blessings to bless others, to touch others through your hands."
if that's not motivation, i don't know what is.
the second insight came through a post on simple kids about resisting consumerism. smack dab in the middle of my fast, it was a timely post. while chewing on the ideas megan and her readers posted, these thoughts were made clear:
God is doing a work in me in these mundane, everyday areas that are so essential to the fabric of life. stay tuned for more."...i’ve been on a fast from shopping this month (minus necessities like milk and bread and eggs) because of the cycle of consumerism i felt myself caught up in after the christmas rush. i did a lot better at christmas than i have in the past — want, need, wear, read and lots of handmade and sustainable/long-lasting gifts — but it’s still so easy to get into the habit of shopping constantly. those clearance end caps are target are my trap.i could ramble for days on this topic; i feel like God is really revealing what it means to be content with what He has blessed me with in my husband and children and family and friends. it’s a slow process. sometimes i wish i had it down pat already.one of the most enlightening things i’ve come to realize recently, though, is that consumerism robs me of my creativity. i am too caught up in shopping and finding “stuff” that i need that i can’t be creative with the wardrobe i ALREADY own or the wardrobe my kids ALREADY own or all of the beautiful things in my home that i ALREADY own or the craft supplies i ALREADY own. i am too caught up in shopping and finding “stuff” that i need that i can’t be creative with ways to show my love to my husband and my kids.in stepping away from the cash registers this month, i’ve had the chance to realize that i AM creative, that God will give me inspiration in my every day in the places where i have more than enough."(found in the comments section of original post.)