John and I are entering a frugal stage of our lives. Between starting a new business and saving for Africa our money is tight. We have been in a frugal (sometime referred to as "poor") place in our lives before so we know something of it. This time I hope it is different.
When Jake was a baby we were poor. We paid our bills, bought food and sat at home staring at the walls because that was all we could do. Those early years of marriage and parenting were filled with discontentment. I had the perception that everyone else was doing better than us and wondered if we would ever move forward.
One day I was taking a walk with my mom and complaining about this fact and she contemplatively wondered why we didn't think that was enough. The "we" she referred to wasn't John and I but "we" as a culture. It helped me change my perspective. Especially as we prepare to go to Africa I can't help but think how much we really do have compared to people who in fact cannot pay bills and put food on the table. I am preparing to cut out of my budget things like new art work or a shower curtain for the house, multiple summer camps for my son, vacations, dinners at restaurants, salon hair cuts and coloring, high priced coffee... you know, the necessities in life.
This time I am a little excited about it. The challenge of living on less money and saying no to impulse purchases because I believe in John's new business and am excited to watch the balance of the Africa fund grow. I have come to realize that our friends are also just doing their best and getting by and I can't allow myself to make comparisons. I have learned that financial success does not come by accident but by careful planning. I have learned that God will always be there for me and supply all my needs and even a few of my wants and that I only have to trust him. I am learning to be content. I know it won't be easy, right now I feel like I make impulsive purchases every day and am a little afraid to leave the house. But I have a goal, I have a plan and I hope I have supportive friends and family members that will encourage me throughout the next year.
A few Africa Details: We need to raise approximately $16,000 to pay for the trip and cover our expenses while John isn't working. $2,000 down, $14,000 to go. I can't wait to see God perform miracles in our lives this year growing a business, providing work for me, giving us the energy to keep up with it all and providing in His perfect way.