Our family is coming up on a very important anniversary. July 1st will mark two years since money started giving up its hold on us. It had us in its grasp in more ways than we realized at the time. That July day was a pretty ordinary day. Nothing spectacular happened, but everything shifted in my mind.
We made a decision and haven’t looked back.
That day, we started something that I call intentional spending. See, for most of my life, I wanted to be more giving. I always said that when we had more money coming in, we would start giving more. The problem was there was always some other way to spend that money. Sound familiar?
I also realized in my desire to give the girls what they wanted, I wasn’t doing them any favors in the long run. So, the plan to change all that started. I was a woman on a mission!
Intentional spending is a new way of thinking. It may look different for you than me, but it involves sacrifice. For me, I decided to give up the things I would spend money on without thinking. That would be books and makeup.
For three months, I did not buy either one of those. In that time, I was able to step back and gain perspective. The world did not end when I did not buy what I normally would. With the money saved, we began giving more.
We started a Compassion International sponsorship. We started supporting a missionary family who went to Guatemala. The money I wasn’t spending on myself was making a difference all over the world!
One of the best things to come out of our experiences is the way our girls now see money. I stopped buying them little toys. They now spend their own money if they want something badly enough. (Often they realize they don’t really want it.) They love to give and help others who don’t have the advantages they do. Before intentional spending, my children did not really know how good they have it. My oldest especially has a huge heart for others that is being developed. She is always giving and has a project going with Food for the Poor to raise money to give animals to a family in South America. These sweet girls of mine always inspire me.
As a family, we now open our wallets more to the needs around us. The idea of spending less on ourselves so we can give more has seeped into our lives and hearts. Sure, we still buy things and sometimes make mistakes, but overall, we see money more as a tool to be used wisely.
The Bible has much to say about the use of money, and it is convicting.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:17
“What’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others?” James 2:14
If any of this is resonating with you, check out my book, Intentional Spending, available on Amazon. Two dollars from every sale goes to our church campaign to pay off our building.
Don’t worry if you start small: when we give God a little, He turns it into a lot. Just watch!
How to do "spend intentionally"? I'd love to read your tips!
Sarah Donegan is a wife, mom, and lover of Jesus. She grew up a tea drinker but switched to coffee once kids came along. Now that her girls are in school, she is embracing the plans God has for her instead of trying to force her own that just don’t fit right. When she isn’t singing or reading, she is probably writing. You can find her at her blog, Strainme.
Blog is www.strainme.wordpress.com
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