I thought it befitting this time of year to talk about how not to spend so much money. I know, I know we all have been once again shouting in church. We hear God is going to make us successful so we aught to shout right now for it to happen. If you are like me you naively shouted and are still waiting for the return on your praise investment. Yes there is sarcasm in my writing by the way. Anyway after being raised in church I believe in asking God to increase me in wisdom not stuff. I have found that if I ask God for wisdom the stuff will eventually come. By the way you don’t seek the kingdom for things or with secret motives anyway. You seek the King to advance His kingdom. Somehow the things eventually find you but by the time you get the things it doesn’t satisfy because it is the King that you love.
The point is as stated before I do not in anyway believe that being a Christian and shouting about God’s ability to prosper gives us a license to live foolishly because God is going to bless us anyhow. In fact it works at the complete opposite. If you are faithful over what you have and take care of what you have then God will bless you. I know what you hear in church, “just sow your last, give a sacrificial seed and then Lord will increase you”. So we give our last and are still waiting for the 100 fold return. Don’t get me wrong it is a sin not to sow your tithes and offerings so you must if you want to be blessed. But don’t allow the emotionalism of church to cause you to be foolish.
Yes I have given my last bit of money knowing that I still had to buy groceries, get gas back and forth from work till the end of the month but the emotional aspect kicked in. There was a man of God preaching and I gave my last. The next day I was still broke and yes I did have to call my parents for money. I embarrassingly told them I gave it all in church. They didn’t make me feel bad but I hate to ask them for money. Again this was not my regular tithes and offering. This was also almost two years ago and yes I am still waiting on my prayers to be answered. So yes maybe there are people who quote, “gave and were never broke another day in their life”. I have never met such people and never experienced such. This was foolish because I am miles away from my family and have no support. As a single woman who lives on her own. It is not in my best interest to be in a city all by myself with no money in case of an emergency. This is foolish. For all my critics I do have a bible scripture to prove my point.
Corinthians 9:7 (Amplified Bible)
7Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He [a]takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving].
So yes according to the scripture it is okay to purpose in your heart what to give. (Again this does not apply to your tithe which is set based upon any income or increase you receive not your decision). You should not give compulsively or in my owns words, some preacher is pulling on your emotions and prophelying to you. You know when the organ is playing and God supposedly so conveniently speaks to the preacher at the same time every Sunday about what you should give and then promises you that you will be an instant millionaire. You should take pride in giving and not with impure motives. Remember what you give is stored up in heaven. Like a bank account but the interest that the bank of heaven gives back to you is not the same interest that the earthly bank gives you. The point is you still can’t beat God giving no matter how you try. But we still have a responsibility to spend our money wisely. God will increase you but more than likely it won’t be immediately. It doesn’t mean that because you spend your monely wisely that you don’t have faith. God will release to you what belongs to you in the most appropriate time. Your ability to be elevated to the next level in all areas of your life is dependent upon your ability to make wise choices where you are. (I know I am repeating myself but I am not referring to your tithes and offering) You will not be blessed when you rob God. So yes increase is coming. God will bless your finances but why would God give you an increase in any area when you are not faithful where you are? So I have compiled my own list of money saving techniques that I use for those who are like me in process.
1. Don’t eat out. I almost never eat out anymore now that I eat healthier. This year I can count maybe eating out three times or so. You save a lot of money. This is coming from someone who almost never cooked and always ate out especially while in graduate school. My excuse was that I am to busy to cook. The reality is you can find away. No one is to busy to save money. I usually cook extra food at dinner. I set aside my lunch for the next day and I always take my lunch to work. Believe it or not I eat very healthy but it takes me all of 15 minutes or less to cook.
2. Do your own hair but if you can’t it is perfectly okay to go to the shop. I usually do my own hair. Growing up in a house full of women we didn’t have any money to spend at the shops. That was considered a luxury not a necessity. My mom and sisters would do my braids, my older sister was good at doing my hair and now I can do it on my own. In Maryland to have everything done it would cost a good 85.00. Since I moved to North Carolina I still do my own hair and believe it or not my hair is really healthy. However there are times when I want the luxury of having my hair done at the shop. It doesn’t mean that you have to spend an arm and a leg to get your hair done. A few months ago I found two great places in Durham, NC that are great and cheap. Both places are Lillians and Studio 10. At both places for a wash and roller set it is 10 dollars. For a relaxer and rollers set it is 35 dollars that is quite a change from the 85 I was use to spending in Maryland. I have heard of people doing their own perms and going to the shop with their hair wet for the stylist to do the set, not for me but it would certainly save money. There is less to be said about how it looks but I have no complaints their work is great. P.S. I tend to go to Lillians just because you have to wait a long time at Studio 10 to be seen. At Lillians there is almost no waiting.
3. Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Wal-Mart God Bless You Wal-Mart. I love the Wal-Mart Supercenter. This is where I buy my groceries. The food is plentiful and cheap. I usually buy in bulk at the beginning of the month that way I do not keep going back and forth to the grocery store. Wal-mart in my opinion out weighs all the other grocery stores when it comes to their prices. A few months back I was attempting to eat only organic in hopes of taking my healthier lifestyle to the next level. I started shopping at places like whole foods and traders joes. I quickly found out that neither store was in my budget, it is more expensive and they do not sell the bulk items that prevents me from having to keep going to the grocery store every week. I haven’t given up on this lifestyle but it is more on the to be continued list for when my finances increase. Besides did I tell you that I really can’t forsake my first love the super Wal-mart. (sighs)
4. GCF (Goodwill Community Foundation) the other love of my life. That is the Goodwill. I know I know I sound desperate. When I was a little girl I was so embarrassed to ever set foot inside of Goodwill even through we were broker than broke. Having to pay your own bills changes ones perspective. A couple of weeks ago I needed some new clothes. I have lost so much weight that I was walking around looking a hot mess. I didn’t have much money so I decided to at least check out the Goodwill in Raleigh to see what they had plus I needed a winter coat. OMG, I fell in love. Goodwill is not the same frumpy store it was back in the day. They are really on the come up. I got basically got a whole new wardrobe including a winter coat for about 65 dollars. No one would even know that my clothes were from the Goodwill. Believe it or not they do have name brands, shoes and purses for cheap. I was so excited. I get so many complements on my clothes. I am not ashamed to say I am a bit of a shopping feen for the Goodwill. In NC they are starting to pop up all over the place. In fact I was driving home from work yesterday and saw a new one that just opened in Morrisville. Apparently I am not the only one who has the same idea because the place was packed out. Besides everyone wears second hand clothes. Celebrities pay ridiculous prices for vintage stuff they call them vintage stores but where I am from we call them consignment shops. You can still get your shopping fix without spending a whole lot of money.
Another positive about the Goodwill is that when you spend money there you are contributing back to your community. For every item purchase a portion of the money goes back to job training and community development. Not to sound cheesy but as a person who works in the human services field I love that. This is well needed particularly with all the stuff going on in our world. My hats off to Goodwill.
They only down side of Goodwill is that the clothes are separated by color and not sizes so you have to keep pulling up every piece of clothes that you like to check the size instead of just going to the rack with your size on it. I think it contributes to the fun of it. You find one of a kind pieces instead of a rack full of the same sweaters.
I also found out recently after going out of town for a few days that all Goodwills are not created equally. If you in NC you have a better chance. I went to one while out of town and found almost nothing. I couldn't find my size or anything remotely cute. Just so you know if you go to Goodwill that is close to more afluent areas you are definately more likely to find better up to date clothes. I love the ones in Morrisville, Raleigh, Cary and Durham. So if you are in the NC area try them.
5. Roses in Durham. The Roses in Durham is another great place. The clothes are pretty cheap. You can get jeans for little to nothing.
6. Considering looking at your monthly bills and negotiating them down. I had another line on my cell phone for the internet that had expired so I canceled it. This month my cell phone bill was a good 100 dollars less than it usually is. Who doesn’t want to save 100 dollars a month? That is almost 1,200 over a year.
7. Amazon.com or go to the library. I love to read books. If you are a college student go to amazon.com and buy used books. FYI: Even though your professors may require you to buy the latest volume of the text they can’t force you to get the latest version and in my experience there is very little changes from the last version. I would only recommend going down one version. For example if you are required to get a text book that is version 5 I wouldn’t get version 3 because that is when you are running the risk of having out of date information. Always buy used. Sell your books back at the end of the semester. If your like me and you just love to read when I go to amazon I never buy a book new unless I have to have it and there are no alternatives. Buy it used. For me if it is just a text that I want I don’t worry about buying the latest version. That is saying a lot since I am an author and would prefer you buy my books new, but here is the truth to save money. The library is a great place to get free books, free wi-fi etc. You can’t beat free. I just picked up a copy of Bishop Jakes book: Before You Do from the library. Although I love Bishop Jakes and would love to support him by buying his book new. It is not in my budget but that doesn’t mean I can’t read the book I will rent it from the library. Same with DVDs and CDs.
By the way more and more libraries are starting to have more Christian books; they will be in your religious section.
8. 1.50 movie. If you really want to go to the movies and live in the Raleigh area there is a great movie theatre in Raleigh that only cost 1.50 per movie. I don’t eat popcorn but some people bring their own. Google whatever city you are in to find dollar movie theatres.
9. Know when to shop: I use to work at retail stores while working my way through undergrad. The best time to shop is after Christmas when they are trying to get rid of their inventory. That would be around January or so. You can get stuff for little to nothing. Buy off seasons on off seasons. For example you buy your summer clothes during the winter when they are trying to get rid of their summer inventory in preparation for the winter. And vice versa.
10. Clip coupons: Coupons are a great money saver.
I could go on but the point is you can still do pretty much what you want, but without spending a whole lot of money. The best way to save money is to not spend it at all. Like I said before there is nothing wrong with making wise decisions with your money. Don’t let anyone pull on your emotions, give you empty promises. You are just as anointed as the next person. Be confident in your ability to hear God. If God wants you to give sacrificially He will tell you Himself and the preacher is confirming the word God already spoken to you. Remember that if you are faithful where you are then you will be elevated higher.
Respect God, respect yourself, take care of your finances. This is from someone who is not perfect but trying my best to make better choices.
Remember you can have a millionaire mind set wherever you are. I am not a millionaire yet but I will be.
P.S. One last thing I forgot. I am not really into Christmas so this is not hard for me. Please do not get yourself into debt and depression over one day. Jesus wasn’t really born on Christmas anyway this is a pagan holiday instituted by Constantine who created the holiday to appease folks from different religions. Some scholars believe that Christ was actually born sometime in May. So remember what really counts. Spending time with your family, loving Jesus. If you don’t have it you don’t have it. That doesn’t mean it is a bad Christmas. Back in the day when I was into Christmas as a little girl my favorite thing about Christmas was going out the night before and looking at the lights. Last Christmas I spent the day watching the cheesy movies that always play on Christmas day it was great. All the other stores mentioned can also serve as great places to buy gifts if you have to.
Love you much
Samaria Maria Colbert
Samaria Colbert © 2010