by Gwendolyn Larsen
My husband and I have never had a lot of money since I quit my teaching job when our first baby was born, but we were always comfortable. We live in an area where no one is very well-to-do so it’s easier. As neighbors, we are good examples to each other, often giving each other ideas on how to save money.
Our standard of living increased as my husband’s income increased. My daad also gave us money for various things.
With nine children to raise it was difficult when my husband lost his job of twenty-nine years due to computers taking over his responsibilities. The next job he took was as a shuttle driver. It was amazingly high-paying and enjoyable. This ended when his boss’s van broke down and he couldn’t afford a new one.
For then next few years my husband tried many jobs but they weren’t the right fit. We continue to seek the Lord’s guidance with our finances and we have learned that He always gives us the right kind and amount of trials to keep us seeking Him. His dependable, peaceful guidance is our salvation!
1. Pay tithing. Every Bible-believing person knows that God has promised to open the windows of heaven to us when we return a tenth of all the money he gives us. What time do we need it more than when money is tight? I believe that God blesses us in ways we don’t realize, like the accidents we didn’t have and the appliances and automobiles that didn’t break down.
2. Stay out of debt. There is no way that we could have lived on so little money if we hadn’t waited until we had the money before buying what we wanted. Having to pay interest on debts eats up the money cushion that is so needed when on a tight budget. Besides, debt is bondage and there’s no way you can feel like life’s abundant and rich when in bondage.
3. Know your spouse’s and your own needs to feel abundant. Because we weren’t in debt and we know and trust each other to be wise in spending, we were able to give each other our own money, as little as it was. I discovered the magic of having just a few dollars every week automatically go into a separate savings account for my favorite things. I was amazed at how rich I felt! I can have anything I want if I’m just patient and consistent, I learned.
4. Make every dollar count. My husband did the grocery shopping and is a marvel and stretching our dollars. I shopped at Deseret Industries and was grateful that the things I needed and wanted were there because others gave of their abundance in their time of plenty.
5. Learn how to say “No!” (A) This is a hard one when it comes to children. They try to make you feel guilty, like you’re doing something wrong, and like you don’t love them. I just explained that I knew that God wanted me to be home with them, giving them my time, not money. We gave them jobs to earn a little money and when they wanted more, they found jobs outside our home. At one time, four of our five at home children had regular jobs.
(B) My husband and I were examples of saying “No” to ourselves too, except for those things for which we were willing to save.
6. Confidently give from your heart. I became very good at finding inexpensive, but good-enough gifts. The reason for gifts is to help others feel loved in a fun way. One of my separate savings accounts was for birthdays so I would always be able to work with at least a few dollars. My family and friends all understood and were ok with our financial situation and I think were a little relieved that they didn’t have to come up with fancy gifts either.
7. Express gratitude. In prayer, to each other, in and out of the family, around the table, in phone calls and in e-mails and letters, we tell what is abundant about our lives. At dinnertime, we often tell of inspirational moments of the day, times when we have seen God’s hand in our lives. Many times we tell of how things had worked out financially. Sometimes others will be generous with us. We are always humbly grateful, never pridefully saying “No,” as we feel that God has prompted someone to help us make it through a hard time. A thankful heart is a happy heart.
Gwendolyn now has 2 grandsons to add to her family.