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Help Yourself

Help Yourself

Is anyone used to writing 2012 yet? Being a stay at home Mom, I don’t normally write the date that much, at least not like when I worked outside the home at a paying job. However, I have been writing the date a lot this month! You ask why? I’ll tell you! My husband and I have been recording the stats for our strolls on the treadmill each day! Yes, we bought one in November, on Black Friday (awesome deal, with no coupon required, only very early rising from the bed), and have been hitting it hard, compared to b.t. (before treadmill). We have come to the realization that no one can help lose the weight for us, but that we have to do it ourselves, if we really want to lose it. We should know this, since we lost weight before Grant was born, including a 50lb combined effort.

This brings me to the topic of today. Over the past several months, I have heard numerous people make such remarks as, “I have no money,” “I live paycheck to paycheck,” “I can’t get out of this,” “I can’t get ahead,” among many other similar comments. While I’ve been called the queen of complaining in the past, and still do my fair share (although I’ve tried to cut down on that habit), I have pondered why all of these people, from various places and positions, are asking themselves the same question. My conclusion is that they haven’t taken drastic measures, or what may seem like drastic measures to them.

I become weary listening to people complain constantly that they have no money, can’t get ahead, and meanwhile, some of them just keep asking for handouts, from anyone that will hand out to them. I hear a lot of these comments made in regard to couponing. “I don’t have time,” is a remark made from many, when I ask them if they know how much money they could save a year. How many hours of TV do you watch? Can you cut coupons while you watch TV?  What are your priorities, saving money on household goods and groceries, or stopping by the convenience store on a regular basis to get snacks and drinks? I’m not being ugly, I’m being honest. As a stay at home Mom, I believe it’s my job to help our household save money!  Another comment that I hear, “I cut out coupons and then forget them at home.” I ask myself, how could you take the time to do something, and then not remember to bring them? Put them in your vehicle as soon as you cut them out, put the envelope in your purse with your debit card, where you can’t forget them. There are several solutions to this problem.

If you want to be drastic, write down your daily expenses. Do you have any idea how much money you spend per month, and what you spend it on? My husband and I did this several years ago. We took old business cards that we no longer needed, and each day we wrote on the back of a new business card, what money we spent and assigned it to a category. Throughout the month, we transferred this to an Excel spreadsheet and at the end of the month; we knew exactly where we stood on expenditures. This was somewhat of a drastic measure, considering that we had to take time to write things down every day for a month, but it provided us a great picture of where we stood, and showed us things that we could cut back on as needed. Food is a major expense in most households. If it is in yours, too, then quit eating out. Make a meal schedule and know what you’re going to be eating each night, and eat at home. Spending $17-$20 for fast food for the 3 of us is not my idea of a fabulous supper. It depresses me to think that I just spent that much money on junk and it rarely ever happens in our house for supper. One drastic measure I have taken this month is making out a meal plan for the month. It is in Excel, can be adjusted as needed, and I love the idea of knowing what I’m going to be having for supper each night. To me, there is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and having not a clue as to what I’m cooking that evening. I am loving my schedule and once I’ve made it through January, I’m going to be making out the additional months, and if it needs tweaking, it can easily be changed anytime.

In the Bible, it states in 1 Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  I firmly believe that if we give back to God first, then we will be blessed beyond our own comprehension. We have witnessed this many times for ourselves, over the years.  I urge those of you who are finding that times are hard, to give first, and with a cheerful heart, and as a result, you will reap the benefits of being a cheerful giver. Start small and you will see results. You will be helping yourself, as well as helping others! What drastic measures are you willing to take in 2012, to help yourself?

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