In a world that constantly tells us to spend, there’s something refreshing about reading stories of people who have chosen not to, people who are bucking the trend and being careful with their coins. That’s why I love reading personal finance blogs, where real people share the ways they are living frugally and managing their money.
However, the idolatry of money is very real. The goal might not be consumption, but it’s conservation. Just because we don’t spend money doesn’t mean we don’t worship money.
A few months ago on Twitter I shared 30 tweets in 30 days on being a 20-something Christian who likes being frugal. Not because I think Christians must be frugal, or that it’s somehow more godly to be a “penny-pincher”, but because I wanted to start a conversation, share what I do and see what others think about following Jesus and being frugal.
So here is an amended version of the random thoughts I tweeted. Some are about a Christian attitude towards money and frugality, others are just things I do when I’m living the #frugallife. Feel free to tell me what you think on any of these, correct me if I need correcting, or share your own thoughts in the comments section.
1) Be generous. If you keep every dollar for yourself, that’s not saving, that’s selfishness in disguise
2) Budgeting is so important. I wouldn’t save any $$ if I didn’t know where my money was going
3) Money is also a gift from God. Be thankful, use it wisely. Love God, love others, even with your wallet. (This is a rebuke & reminder to myself)
4) Pack lunch & be proud of it 🙂
5) I don’t eat out unless I have company. Saves me from impulse banana bread (it just smells so good!)
6) Add all major bills, divide by 12. Put that amount of money aside each month
7) Picnics are fabulous and free. So are bush walks, bike rides & beach trips
8) Borrow. But on the same note, share – use what you have to help others
9) Sometimes you need to say no to people, places & things. That’s okay
10) Be a generous host. Find ways to show people they’re valuable. This doesn’t need to cost a lot
11) Top three pieces of money advice I ever received: give to God first, have a budget, meal plan
12) There’s no shame in second-hand stuff
13) Going out for morning & arvo tea is lovely & can be cheaper than going out for lunch/dinner
14) Know why you’re buying that thing, so you know why you’re spending what you are
15) Beware of marketing tricks. Expensive coconut oil won’t make you sexy & thin, but “they” say it will
16) Find savings hacks that work for you. Collecting coins? Not spending $5 notes? We’re all different
17) Watch your spending trends. When do you splurge? When do you impulse buy? Should any of it change?
18) The grocery bill is probably the most flexible bill I have
19) Frugal doesn’t mean cheap
20) Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t compare your spending to others
21) You don’t need the latest “whatever”. It doesn’t make you better. It doesn’t impress the right people
22) Lunch deals & cheap dining nights!!! Why pay $15 when you can pay $7?
23) Don’t get sucked into brand loyalty. Be willing to compare
24) Generally, we should avoid spending what we don’t have saved (although I think home loans are ok… but others might disagree)
25) Self control: Good for all areas of life, including my wallet
26) Ask for money advice from lots of people. Take it with a grain of salt. If you’re Christian, test everything (1 Thes 5:17)
27) Sometimes our list of “needs” includes wants. Always ask “want or need?” It’s okay to buy wants too
28) Just because you have some money, or some savings, doesn’t mean you need to spend it
29) Don’t be frugal at someone elses expense, it’s not loving
30) Water is the best drink. Good for your body & when it’s from the tap it’s good for your wallet too
And a few further thoughts:
31) It’s easier to justify selfishness than it is to increase generosity.
32) Constantly challenge yourself to be more generous with what God has given you.
33) Imitate the most generous people you know. Ask them for money advice.
34) God equips you to love and help others, not to love and help yourself.
35) Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money – Jesus
What would you add to the list?