A Fiscal Fast: the what, why, how of it

Hi!  Long time no see!  I’m still around, and I want to get back around to doing some more blogging.

Last October, my family had what we chose to call a fiscal fast.  You may call it something different, but it was good for us.  Let me outline the what, why, and how of it 🙂

What:

  1. Avoid unnecessary spending
  2. Spend money on only necessary items.  Our list included below *
  3. Yard Sale to sort what we have and clean things out
  4. Try to recruit others to join you!

*gasoline for the car, utilities, mortgage/rent, credit card bills, student loan, snacks for our Bradley® natural childbirth class, eye glasses for our son, eggs (We support a local farmer and didn’t want to short change them for a whole month), built in splurge to buy lunch on yard sale day

FISCAL-FASTWhy:

  • To answer the question of whether or not we could survive if the grocery store wasn’t available for a month
  • It’s good to rotate food in the pantry and freezer to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
  • To save money
  • To practice some self-control

How:

  • Plan ahead!
  • Make a month of meal plans.  I just printed out a calendar page of the month that we chose.  My goal was to plan dinner for 31 days.  We would mostly eat leftovers for lunches, but I did plan an occasional lunch.  For breakfast, we mostly ate eggs.
  • Right before the month begins, stock up on fruits and veggies that will keep well.  Since we were in the autumn season, I stocked up on apples, squash, carrots, celery, etc.
  • Start going through your stuff to have items to sell for a yard sale.

yard-saleWhat did we eat?

  • We ate a lot of soups, frozen and canned.  We also had frozen meals that had been in the freeze for a while (i.e.- enchiladas, lasagna, etc.)
  • CONFESSION:  We decided that we could allow ourselves to go out to eat once, because we had a gift card.  WELL, I neglected to remember that a tip is required at a restaurant.  We paid for the tip, of course.  I couldn’t short change our hard-working waitress, because of my oversight.

What did we learn:

  • We learned that we could do it!
  • We learned that we had the self-control to make it happen.
  • We missed the option of running to the store for this and that, but we learned that our friends were willing to barter or share here and there 🙂  We have some pretty nice friends!

We are planning to embark on this fiscal fast again for October 2015!  Care to join us?  My allowances for the month of October will be the same expect for we don’t currently have a childbirth class, and I will also make a day trip out of town to get new eye glasses for our son.

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“His Talk” and Trusting God with money?

I was wondering if this blog would get done today.  I’ve been dealing with sickness, and I was wondering if I had the energy to get it done.  Here it is though!  If it sounds like true “ramblings”, it’s because I’m running a fever.

The chapter we read from The Power of a Praying Wife was “His Talk”.

Things that touched me:

  1. Stormie explains the kind of talk that our husbands can be known for.  They could be the man who is all talk and no action or the man known for his potty mouth.  They might be the whiner or the man who just talks without thinking.  They could be the man whose speech is destructive and hurtful to those around them.  I pray that your man is not characterized by any of these things, but I know that some of them are 😦  All of us, have days when these things come out of our mouth, but are we known for habitually doing these things?  Heaven forbid!
  2. Stormie reminds us “Everyone has a choice about what he or she says, and there are rewards for making the right one. ‘Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles’ (Proverbs 21:23).”  She brings up Matthew 12:34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.  She says, “If you hear him complaining, speaking negatively, talking like a fool, or speaking words that bring destruction and death into his or anyone else’s life, he is suffering from negative heart overflow.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to convict his heart, fill it with His love, peace, and joy, and teach him a new way to talk.”  Are we known for good or bad “talk”?  It may be time to examine our own heart.

I didn’t find anything that I respectfully disagree with.

Trusting God with Money

I want to start off this section by saying that I have in no way arrived in this area.  We, as many of you, have lots of money stresses.  We need a bigger car to accommodate our growing family.  We have way too much credit card debt.  We have a huge student loan to pay off.  We are blessed to have a mortgage, but that is just one more money pull.  I want to feed my family healthily, and that takes more money than feeding them Spaghetti O’s and Capri Suns.  Kids need things and clothes.  What about the future?  What if something happens to any of us?  We don’t have any savings!  Okay, okay!  I’m stressing myself out just writing all this stuff!

It is so easy to take our eyes off Jesus and to get overwhelmed by the storm around us.  That’s exactly what Peter did.  Matthew 14:30  “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

Even our money says, “In God We Trust.”  The “Almighty Dollar” can never be almighty or compare to our Jesus!

2 Corinthians 4:18  “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Matthew 6:20-34  “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  (21)  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (22)  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  (23)  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  (24)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.  (25)  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  (26)  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  (27)  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  (28)  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  (29)  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  (30)  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  (31)  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (32)  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  (33)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (34)  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Remember to be content and rejoice in all circumstances (I Timothy 6:6-8, I Thessalonians 5:16).  How can we possibly do that?  Well, because Jesus is our hope and joy not what is going on around us. Philippians 4:6-7  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Is any problem too big for God?  He created the world in 6 days, parted the Red Sea, rained down plagues on Egypt, healed countless ailments, provided oil and flour in endless supply for the widow, etc.  He is a mighty God!

Remember that Romans 8:28 promises, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  We cannot see the end product, but God has plans for us.  Think of some great men of the Bible and how they could have given up on God in their circumstances.  Job had so many trials, but he never “cursed God” as his wife urged him.  Joseph was treated horribly by his brothers and sat in jail for many years, but he knew God had great things in store.  Paul was beaten, jailed, shipwrecked, and more.  He is the one who said he could be content in all circumstances.

Psalm 9:10  “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

James 1:2-8
“2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.”

Of course, you may not be in a storm, but we always need to have our trust in Jesus.  We should not be trusting in our own strength or in having a certain amount of money in the bank account, IRA, or retirement fund. Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  (6)  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

I Timothy 6:17  “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”

Maybe you have such financial abundance that you find money is being wasted on frivolous things.  1 Corinthians 10:31  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

So, money is evil?  We should just not worry about it at all and be happy with our debt and our unstable finances?  Well, yes and no 🙂  Don’t worry about it, and definitely, be happy.  On the other hand, we should be a good steward of what we are given.  There is nothing wrong with working toward “financial stability”, but just beware not to put your trust and hope in that “financial stability”.

Use what the Lord has given you, whether small or great, to his glory.

Your assignment for week 26: Read Chapter 25 of The Power of a Praying Wife “His Repentance”. What touched you? Any disagreements? Pray that your husband will have a soft heart and would repent and turn from any sin in his life. This week, ponder trusting God. What areas are the most difficult to trust God?  Give me some comments with suggestions :)   I only have a one more idea!