I believe God can speak to us anywhere and through anything. I had broken my cardinal rule of drinking caffeine after 7:00 pm, and was therefore predictably up after 11 pm, when I should have been blissfully asleep. To help combat this I decided to read and took a magazine from the stack my Grammy Bear had sent on with me. It turned out to be the August 2010 Oprah magazine. I started thumbing through it backwards (as is my usual custom with magazines and I have no idea why) when I came to this article in the front: The Joy Divided (Martha Beck has no head for numbers (just ask her accountant), but she does have a proven strategy for converting money into happiness.)
Obviously it grabbed my attention right away. Money and numbers aren't my thing. I always try to pay my bills on time and pay any of them before I do anything fun with my money. However, when you don't even have enough to pay your bills it can get rough. I once heard a preacher say that 10% was not a sacrifice. I beg to differ. When you only have enough to pay the bills and the tithe would give you some extra cash to do the fringe things you need to do (oil change, new tires, hair cut, pay a little extra on the student loan) it can be particularly tough to tithe it. However, DO TITHE it! You won't be sorry.
Sorry, tangent... so I wanted to read how this author used her money to receive happiness and how much it would cost me if I wanted to do the same. I was surprised by her view on it and I thought what a way to look at it. She divides every purchase up into four categories:
- I really NEED it, and I really LOVE it.
- I really NEED it, but I don't really LOVE it.
- I don't really NEED it, but I really LOVE it.
- I don't really NEED it, and I don't really LOVE it.
- For I really NEED it, and I really LOVE it pay TOP DOLLAR
- For I really NEED it, but I don't really LOVE it pay BOTTOM DOLLAR
- For I don't really NEED it, but I really LOVE it pay w/ funds you can spend on those items
- For I don't really NEED it, and I don't really LOVE it DON'T BUY!!
I believe in asking God for wisdom when spending money, but by spending it wisely you can also enjoy what you spend. Those items that you don't love and don't need just don't buy. Save it for those items that you really love with your rainy day spending money. For your bills you may not LOVE certain ones, but you know what service or items are necessary to your life that you are willing to pay for.
This is also freeing for those of you who like to spend your money one way versus what others say you need to spend your money on. For example a good concert would be more valuable to me than a great pair of shoes. To me experience is better than tangible items. However, to others the opposite might be true. Therefore this idea and principle frees you from any comparison, and it allows you to spend your money how you need and want to without worry that you aren't spending it like someone else is.
So sit down and go through what you spend your money on. Cut out what you don't love and don't want, and focus on the stuff you do. You might even save some money!