This week in our Financial Success series, I wanted to share a bit of a financial success story. Next week we will continue learning about how to make money from home to build your emergency fund or just to make more to put towards your financial debt.
“Dear Christmas, Why do you have to be so expensive?” I asked throughout the month of December. Oh we budgeted alright. We budgeted just enough to find out how little we had to spend on Christmas. Like always, it seemed we strove and strove with our finances and had gotten nowhere. Hubby worked overtime, but overtime pay we expected to receive did not show (due to some company fine print). The baby clothes I expected to sell from our first born never reached Ebay or Facebook. There was no extra money to be made this season.
So we decided to get creative! We would make Christmas gifts for everybody this year. Paintings were made and given away to our family. Candy was made to give away to company associates. Presents for a gift exchange were bought for us, so that we could be involved in the game. I realized that even though we are super broke right now, we can still have fun and show love for our family by getting creative.
We had also tried to save more at home. We stayed true to our small, bi-weekly grocery budget. While at home with my little boy, we bundle up and lower the heat while playing in rooms lit by the sun rather than our lamps. We saved money by bringing home food from family’s parties to munch on. We didn’t buy any presents for ourselves this year. Our love is enough…haha! One day I will look back and laugh at the choices we made to save money so that I could be a stay-at-home mom.
So long story short, we expected to lose money this holiday season. We budgeted and came up slightly negative. We considered using credit cards to cover bills, but decided just to wait to see if we received any gift cards this season to help us out. Oddly enough, we received gift cards but they aren’t the kind to help us save money in the long run. We will enjoy spending them on clothes and date nights though! Hubby did receive a $100 bonus from work, though, so that was helpful!
So, hubby sat down to pay the rest of our bills a few nights ago. I took a deep breath and tried to ignore him while I worked on some writing. Every once in awhile I would look up to see if I could tell how we were doing, but I couldn’t tell from the look on his face. So, I went back to ignoring and writing. Do you know how hard it is to write when you are stressed? Very….that is the answer.
Hubby turned around and asked me if our dog had eaten yet. “Um…how did we do?” I asked in anticipation and ignoring his original question. “Well, after I paid the last of the bills we have $400 left over.” “What???” I said, shocked. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand,” I kept repeating as I continued to grab my head in amazement. “I don’t know how that could be,” I said before I listed off the bills he must have forgotten to pay. “I paid everything,” he said with a smile. Continuing with my confusion, I continued to ask, “How did this happen?” Hubby just pointed to the sky and said, “We know how this happened.”
In that moment, he was completely correct. We have seen God work miracles in our finances before. Why are we continuing to be confused? Sometimes, I feel like even when we choose to work hard and follow in God’s ways, we shouldn’t expect God to bless us. But why not? He is completely worthy of our expectations because He continues to bless us in any way He can. Why He chooses to bless us when He does and what He blesses us in is always a guessing game, but He is our Father. He wants to make His children happy.
Yes, we have a little extra left over this month. It is a blessing. We did go to Taco Bell that night for a bit of a splurge, but here’s the thing. We committed to splurging once and in the cheapest way we could so that we could continue with our journey. This is not our money. God has given us this money to continue to teach us how to behave with our money. So with that said, we are picking ourselves up off the floor, thanking God for this incredible blessing, and continuing with our plan. He has given us the blessing of financial peace for the moment. We aren’t going to screw it up this time.
The point of this story is not to say that we are healed of our money spending ways. It is to demonstrate how we need to stop and see the blessings that God gives us for following in His ways. It is to remind us that we can work hard and splurge in small doses while we are working towards financial freedom. Many of you may feel super blessed this Christmas and have your own story to share. Some of you may also have had the opposite happen where God chooses to let selfish spending get the better of us. Whatever your story this season, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, pray, trust in God, and continue fighting for financial success. It will be so worth it when you are debt free and can afford to give like crazy at Christmas because you have the money to give. Learn from your mistakes, relish in those moments of blessing, and trust that God has you covered.
This is your year, guys! Let’s do it!