To me, frugality has two parts. The first is an aversion to spending money. You must take a close look at your spending habits and decide what are necessities and what are not. If you can live without it, don’t buy it. Learn to enjoy saving money as much if not more than the enjoyment you would get from owning a particular item.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy anything purely for enjoyment, but be very selective with what you choose to spend your money on. The second part of frugality is spending as little possible on the necessities. Shop around for the best deals, research prices, and think about second-hand items. It takes more time to get the best price but it’s worth it.
Whether your finances are tight or not, it’s a good idea to sit down and make a monthly budget of your expenditures. By itemizing your expenses for a few months you may be very surprised how much you are spending in certain areas. If your not ready to jump completely into frugality just yet, pick one or two areas to work on first.
For people who are new to frugality the food budget is a good place to start. Look for ways to save on groceries, learn to make cheaper meals and reduce eating out. Once you feel good about your grocery expenditures, move onto another area and look for things to cut out or ways to save. I highly recommend the book The Tightwad Gazette for everyone for great frugal tips and ideas.
Regardless of your income level, I would urge all Christians to look closely at their budget for ways to save money. Most importantly, are you being good stewards with the money God has given you? If money is tight already then it’s not hard to make the case to try and spend less. Many people have to be extremely frugal just to pay their bills each month. But for those of you out there for whom money isn’t much of an issue, I would urge you to learn to be frugal in order to increase your giving.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24
©2004 by Carrie Balrok, owner of The Christian Woman – Christian Women & Life