The end is here, the Target fast is over and on Friday we can spend again. Today I thought I would share 5 takeaways from this little experiment of No Spend February. You can check out our other posts on No Spend February here, here , here and here.
1. We are wasteful! The kids just leave half eaten bowls of cereal on the counter, throw half their sandwich from lunch away and then in turn want a snack half an hour later. Not having “snack” foods around as much definitely cut down on the munchies and helped them at better at meal times. Sometimes the amount of food I would throw away on garbage day was so convicting to me and I realized I need to be more disciplined about using up what’s in the fridge, even if we don’t “want” to eat it. I think doing this for the past month has broken the habit in all of us!
2. Identifying Needs vs Wants. This ties in with #1. Our need is food but our want is certain specific foods which is usually not what we have in our fridge/pantry/cupboards. My oldest daughter in the morning would sit down and eat 4 bowls of cereal for breakfast. I told the kids I wasn’t buying cereal this month so when it’s gone, it’s gone. The kids learned to eat other things for breakfast even if it’s not what they want. I also made them take peanut butter sandwiches for lunch instead of turkey and cheese, again not what they wanted but they ate it and survived. Although the hubby and I often look forward to leftovers for lunch there were a few times when we were just tired of eating the same thing for 3 days in a row. Sometimes dinner wasn’t what we wanted but it was what we needed, I was tired of spaghetti but it was food and so I was thankful. Most importantly, we ate it up and didn’t throw it away!
3. Contentment is key – By not running around town shopping or even window shopping, going to Target for fun and even out to eat, I really learned to be content at home this month and I think this is the most I’ve ever loved my home. The cold temperatures and snow might have contributed to this as well but I really got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my house! If you know me, you know that is straight up CRAZY! Being thankful and grateful for what you do have breeds contentment. On top of that, I think some bad habits were broken this month in all of us!
4. Blessings are all around us if we are looking – A great eye opener for me, just seeing how the little things are really God’s blessings and provision in our lives. Sometimes we are so self sufficient and run to buy whatever we think we need. Maybe we really don’t need it or God is going to provide for it through someone else. Not saying we should never purchase things and wait for hand outs but sometimes your mom bringing frozen blueberries is His way of showing his love instead of purchasing them at Costco. It also made me thankful for my home (#3) and what we already have which is so so much, more than we need.
5. Budgeting really is the best way to control your spending. We did FPU with Dave Ramsey maybe 6 years ago and it helped us immensely! We were able to get rid of our nagging credit card debt and take a 15 year mortgage out on our house in Wisconsin. Somewhere along the line we slowly fell off the budget bandwagon and now here we are, back on it again! Really looking at our budget and prioritizing our purchases is HUGE!
This month got our budget back on a track in a big way! The past few months have been a struggle financially as we had to pay a large amount to hospital bills from my MRSA fun in November. We also received our tax return which enabled us to pay off our vehicle so our only debt is the mortgage. I’m excited to be back on track and have plans for our money but the best part is, I feel like we can give more freely with our money as well which is the most important thing we can do. This No Spend month coincided with a 7 week series on Money by our Pastor. It was an awesome series and we have so so much to be thankful for, we have more than we truly need or even deserve. Just as others have blessed us, how can I use the resources God has given me to bless others and ultimately honor God?
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
I’ll be back to wrap up this series by giving a run down of how much we actually saved, did we get any of our projects done and looking ahead!
Linking up Here: