Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for reward save that of knowing I am doing Your Will Amen
My child, test yourself while you live; see what is bad for you and do not give in to it. Sirach 37:27
I’ve been doing a Temperance challenge this summer via Facebook with a wonderful group of encouraging women, and what I’ve learned is that I struggle more with frivolous spending than anything else. As a single mom I don’t really have a ton of extra money to spend to begin with, but I’ve noticed that I go through periods of no spending, and then justifying extra spending by saying that I rarely buy stuff for myself. That part is true – I don’t often spend money on myself, but when I do… I spend a lot. Now, I don’t spend hundreds of dollars, but even an extra $20 that isn’t in the budget can be considered a lot. This month has been hard because since today is my birthday (the day you are reading/hearing this, not the day I am writing this), I’ve been telling myself it’s ok to spend some extra money because it’s a birthday gift to myself. I’ve told myself that three times this month so far. That is not practicing Temperance.
I also tend to buy a lot of unneeded things for my kids to try and fill the void that was created when I became a single mother three years ago. I tell myself that I just want my kids to be happy and not have sad memories from this difficult season of our lives, but it really unnecessary and the wrong way to go about things. I need to focus more on creating memories, not on filling our house with things we don’t really need. My kids aren’t going to learn Temperance from me if they see me constantly buying more stuff.
A few things that I do to get out of the cycle of unnecessary spending are:
1) Deleting my card information from the online stores that I frequent. If I have to manually enter in my information every time, I’m less likely to make an impulse purchase. It is also helpful sometimes to put the item you want to buy in your shopping cart (online) but then wait until the next day to actually purchase it. You’d be surprised at how many times you may end up deleting the item because you realize you don’t truly need it.
2) I also do No Spend months, where I budget out exactly what NEEDS to be spent (bills, groceries, gas, school supplies, etc) and then not spend anything extra. I take an inventory of the freezer and pantry, plan my menu on that, and fill in the extras at the grocery store. Something that helps with not spending extra is taking out cash and then putting the debit card away for the month. Something about having cash instead of a card makes it easier to not spend extra money.
3) Finally, sometimes I’ll look at my previous month of spending and, after budgeting my current month, I’ll send the extra to a charity or family in need. This way I won’t spend it on something unnecessary. There is a group on Facebook for Catholic women dedicated to financially helping other families in need, so it is very easy to find someone to donate to. The group has helped me many times in the past during periods of financial difficulty, so I feel truly blessed to be able to return the favor. (Leave a comment below if you’re interested in joining the group as either a giver or receiver, and I will be in touch.)
In what area is your self-control weakest? How can you practice Temperance this month? Perhaps you can put your Netflix account on hold for a month to prevent binge-watching a new show. Implement a No Spend month and see how much money you save. Try a No Junk Food challenge and instead make healthier food choices. Put your phone and computer in a different room at night so that you won’t get sucked into scrolling instead of sleeping. Good luck!
To Jesus Through Mary – Adrianna
Happy Birthday Adrianna:)Thank you for sharing with us today, Have a beautiful day!