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New Laine’s Letter About Saving Money

New Laine’s Letter About Saving Money

Laine was one of the first women to teach me about godly womanhood through her writings called Laine’s Letters. Yesterday, Annabel from The Bluebirds are Nesting wrote me and told me that she had been in contact with Laine. Annabel lives in Australia and prices are rising so she wanted to know how Laine saved money in situations like this. Laine wrote her a new blog post so I asked if I could share it with all of you!

Annabel wrote, “To introduce, first of all she said that it is wonderful we are all trying to save money.  She said that she is still constantly learning how to save as Art is hoping to retire in about six years time. Even though they live in a hot climate, they don’t have air-conditioning as that helps keep costs down.

I asked what she does nowadays to manage increased food prices and she said she would love to help and this was what she wrote.”

1~ I pray that the LORD will help me save and to develop good habits, because you bring your habits with you wherever you go. I pray while I am shopping for eyes to see the deals.

2~ I try to use meat as a condiment, unless it is a special occasion. I like learning recipes from other countries that already practice this in their cuisine.

3~ I shop at the Farmer’s market and many other stores to stay in my food budget. I shopped four stores this week, but sometimes six stores. I shop the stores that are near each other to save gas, or if I am in that part of town. I shop only with cash and keep a record of what I spend on a small notebook.

4~ I don’t buy much packaged goods, rather I make most everything from scratch. I make my own spray cleanser from one part rubbing alcohol to one part water.

5~ I am already Christmas shopping, a little here, a little there. I have my eight
grandchildren’s presents bought, a well as their birthdays. I love being ahead as I can save money that way.

6~ I love to shop at garage sales, the deals are really great. (The next best place is thrift shops.) I was looking for a waffle iron and found one last week at an estate sale, just the one I was looking for! But I did search for months. If I find something really inexpensive and I already have one, but I use that item a lot, I will buy it as a back up. I actually had a back up for a waffle iron, but I like this “new” one better as my back up didn’t get as crispy as I would like.

7~ I make three pots of tea from one tea bag. I buy Yorkshire tea and fill the pot dunking the tea bag twice, pulling it out and doing the same with the next pot of tea. The last pot I leave the tea bag in.

8~ Fast food for me is buying a cooked roast chicken and using it for three meals; the final meal being a nice soup.

9~ Cheapest protein is an egg, so I love adding eggs to a dish to stretch the protein. I like to make Cloud Bread and mayonnaise out of eggs.

10~ Flour tortillas are a quick bread that can be filled with so many things, and it’s very frugal. Even just celery, onion, and bits of meat leftover sautéed together with some leftover beans is so delicious in a hot fresh tortilla.

11~ I hang dry my clothes to save on electricity.

12~ We don’t use air conditioning, rather solar screens and solar curtains, a good fan, a $7 kiddie pool (great to get wet and put your feet in while the kids have fun), and Frogg Toggs for keeping your body cool, especially at night.

13~ I use one half of the detergent suggested in my wash, unless it is a really dirty item. If so, I will soak it a bit and use three quarters the suggested amount that comes with my detergent. One box of detergent lasts me months, and I find our clothes are very clean.

14~ I love to learn from other women, and one of my favorites is on YouTube called The Fundamental Home. She feeds her family of five on $30 a week! I really enjoy watching her. She also runs a page on Facebook called Frugal Family Food.

15~ I love making fun things with my daughter Lucy who is seven years old. We make Popsicles, cookies, cake, waffles, pancakes, gummies, and other fun things together. We are making a birthday cake today. Everything we make is very healthy, which helps us to keep from being ill, which saves us money at the doctor.

16~ We love going to the library and go there twice a week. There is just so much free there!

17~ I shop with cash; this helps to curb any unnecessary spending.

18~ When I bake, I try to fill the oven. Today, I made chicken, baked potatoes, and broccoli all in the oven at the same time. Filled the rack! I cooked extra potatoes today that I will use in breakfast tomorrow.

19~ I save stalks of kale, celery, etc. and use them in soups and stir fries.

20~ I try new recipes often to increase my skills and repertoire. I am always checking out new cookbooks from our library. I love to try new recipes off the Internet as well.

21~ I stay out of the stores unless I need something and have my list in hand.

22~ I try to buy in the summer for winter, and vice versa when I thrift shop.

23~ If I want to spruce up my decorating, I will move my own items around. It’s those little things that give a room a lift.

24~ I try to make it a game in saving and have my own fiscal year for our budget, which is from May to May. This past fiscal year I was able to save an extra thousand for our upcoming new roof. I love seeing those results.

25~ I do my best to help keep us debt free by continuing to learn how to save. My husband wants to retire in six years, so saving toward that is now my goal. I remember when my goal was paying off our vehicle, then paying off our house, then saving to adopt our little girl from China, and now saving for retirement. There is always savings going on!

I hope this is helpful, Annabel. I kept writing things down as I either did them or remembered them. It was fun, just like the old days when I used to write In My Home. Enjoy your lovely grandchildren! It was so, so good to hear from you!

Lots of love,
Laine xxoo

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

The Myth of Needing Two Incomes

The Myth of Needing Two Incomes

Happy Mama commented on one of my recent posts.  I thought it was so beautifully written that I would make it into a post.  I will let her words minister to you ~

Just commenting on some of the comments…It is sad to me that some people think that having two incomes is a necessity. You may need two incomes to keep up your current lifestyle, but you don’t need two incomes. You just have to learn to live within your means, which may mean getting rid of a second car, living in an apartment not a house, learning to cook simple meals, buying second hand-only things that are really needed.

My husband is disabled and we live on his disability income. It is extremely financially tight, but I would never leave my role as a homemaker for more money. I have found ways to help us earn a few extra dollars (selling things online) that has blessed my family without leaving my role as homemaker. (The Proverbs 31 woman made money through her extra work at her home.) I completely accept we will always live in an apartment; we will always live humbly. But nothing is more important than caring for my home and family.

A simple humble life with my loved ones is better than any big paycheck. People are what make life great, not things. As long as your husband has an income, however small, you can live off it. Nothing is more precious to me than raising my children and caring for my family.

After reading Money Saving Secrets of the Amish I was really inspired by even the things I think of as necessities. The Amish were asked if they could spend extra money on some luxuries what they would buy. One of the Amish mentioned a salad dressing they really liked, but was only a special treat. One of the ladies mentioned Ritz crackers. Even many food items aren’t necessities (I have always thought all food counts as necessities), but really if you look at how people who live the most humble eat ~ much of even the food bought and sold in America are luxuries. I was greatly encouraged to think more simply after reading this wonderful book, and it really made me think about what are true needs vs. wants, even with regards to food. Just wanted to share that too.

We need to get back to being unmaterialistic and living simply so we have time to enjoy the things in life that really make us rich!

She rises also while it is yet night, and gives food to her household.
Proverbs 31:15

Dissipating Her Husband’s Substance

Dissipating Her Husband’s Substance

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones (Proverbs 12:4). “Solomon seems to intend by this appellation, a woman who has all the perfections of her sex; wisdom, modesty, prudence, virtue, and, above all, economy and good management; and by her who maketh ashamed, he means the contrary; and particularly a woman who dissipates her husband’s substance in expensive follies; in the same manner as he called a libertine a prodigal son, a son that causeth shame.” (Benson Commentary)

Many women today are spendthrifts. They are continually going shopping and spending money or scouring the Internet for things to buy. The average woman makes 301 trips to the store annually, spending close to 400 hours a year shopping. This amounts to 8.5 years spent shopping during a typical lifespan. They are not content with what they have and must have more and more. A friend of mine just had dinner with a man whose wife was rottenness in his bones. She didn’t like the color of the Hummer he had bought her and wanted a new one. She spent all of his hard-earned money and was never satisfied. He was a broken and miserable man. Unfortunately, these types of stories aren’t uncommon in today’s materialistic society.

There are other women who go deep into debt by going to college and taking out big loans. Then when they marry their husbands, the husbands have the added burden of trying to pay off their wives’ loans, plus these same women want expensive wedding rings. Women, this isn’t using wisdom! We don’t need an expensive college education, the latest fashions, expensive haircuts and manicures, spa days, elaborate vacations, new cars, perfectly decorated homes, eating out often (Americans now spend more money on dining out than groceries), etc. if all these mean we are dissipating our husband’s income. We must not be rottenness to their bones but strive to be virtuous women who are a crown to our husbands instead, for godliness with contentment is great gain.

Here are some examples of virtuous wives who live contentedly within their husband’s income and are a crown to them.

 Laine lives within her husband’s income and has learned to be content with little. She found joy in living carefully and frugally while praying for wisdom often. “Every paycheck, I do my best to put a little away. Even if it is only a little, it is a savings. We have a savings account, a retirement account where a sum is taken out of my husband’s salary each month, and an emergency account for emergencies. There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders all that he has (Proverbs 21:20).

I do my best to keep our electrical and water bills as low as possible. When we were in an electrical crisis and our bill tripled overnight, we went into a very small, hip high refrigerator with no freezer and shut down our water heater. …We had to heat our water to bathe and to wash dishes. It was rough for awhile, but I was able to keep us on our budget. (She admits that they had to truly sacrifice to get out of debt and this is an example of a sacrifice they made, no hot running water for a time.)”

Here’s another woman who was a crown to her husband by living within her husband’s income. “I make my own cleaning products, personal care products, and most condiments. I would also add that we have a child with multiple severe food allergies, and I do buy our staple foods in organic versions and make all my own baked goods, treats, etc. from healthier ingredients.

We have SLOW Internet, no cable. No smartphones. No fancy gadgets. We do have newer vehicles, one that we are still paying on, and my hubby just bought a motorcycle for its fuel efficiency for his commute. We have a small backyard flock of chickens for egg and for meat.”

Then there are all of the women who I have asked how they have been able to stay home and live within their husband’s income. One woman responded, “For me, the most important change for making it on one income was mental. When I quit practicing law, I kept finding a quote that the path of Christianity is one of ‘downward mobility.’ Trusting that there is greater peace, joy, and fullness of life with less money/stuff/conveniences was key for me. Also, I personally don’t make my own laundry soap, can, thrift, etc. That is WONDERFUL for those who do, but tips like that would’ve scared me off the one-income idea. I say this just in case someone is reading this thinking, ‘Obviously, we can’t live on one income because I can’t do all of that!’ Those of us brought up to be career women have a hard enough time with the transition! But there are lots of ways to save money that don’t require Mom to be a domestic creative genius. We eat out pretty infrequently, drive older, long-paid-off cars, no cable or up-to-date electronics, ‘vacation’ only by visiting family, etc. I miss nothing that I used to spend money on, and find family life so much richer than financial wealth!”

It is your choice: do you want to be a crown to your husband by living carefully within his income or rottenness in his bones by spending more than he earns?

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12

The Harm in Worldly Finery

The Harm in Worldly Finery

“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts” (Isaiah 3:16, 17).

These women were the opposite of modest. They were proud and evil. Matthew Henry wrote this about them. “Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully?” 

God makes it very clear to us throughout His Word what He values and what He hates. We know He hates pride and now we know that He hates worldly finery. There are many verses in the Word about the love of money and how we are not to serve money but God alone. “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).

Part of pride and loving money is using it to draw others’ attention towards ourselves. He commands that women be shamefaced (“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” – 1 Timothy 2:9) which means “having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one’s merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.” This not only speaks about our clothing but everything else in our lives and is the complete opposite of the daughters of Zion. Strive to be modest in all areas!

Besides being modest in how we clothe ourselves; modesty means being modest in how much money we spend on ourselves. We don’t need the latest and greatest fashions since this world isn’t our home. We are strangers and aliens just passing through and there are more important things to spend our money on than fancy clothes and the vanities of this life. Besides, how many clothes do you really enjoy wearing? I have heard that 10% of the clothes that people own are worn 90% of the time!

We went to Wisconsin this past summer and were planning on staying there for two and a half weeks so I packed enough clothes for that in one suitcase, along with makeup, vitamins, food, pillows, and only brought two pairs of shoes. We ended up staying almost seven weeks and I did great with the amount of clothes I had. It was so easy to decide what to wear each day and we had so fewer clothes to clean! Many of us have way more than we need and so give away everything you don’t use or wear and stop buying stuff.

We are to be “free from ostentation or showy extravagance” in everything! This includes in the homes we live in. Instead of spending a fortune on making our homes into model homes, God calls us to be generous and help those in need. Our homes don’t need to be constantly updated to look exactly like the homes you see remodeled on the television. (I know many of you do a lot of it on your own and frugally. It mostly comes down to a heart issue. Where is your heart? Are you using your money to keep up with the Jones or to bring glory to the Lord? Does your gorgeous, expensive home sit empty all day or is your home a place of ministry to your family and others?) If you have a roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, running hot water, a comfortable bed, and clothes on your back, you are wealthier than most of the world and even the kings of old. Be thankful and content living modestly in your home.

Modesty also means “having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior and speech.” Act decently in all that you do since others are watching you, especially your children; speak decently to everyone since no unwholesome word should ever come from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29). Don’t flirt with other men but be faithful to your husband.

Live contently on a limited or moderate amount of money your husband makes. Save money by showing self-restraint in eating a modest amount of food. Don’t be a glutton and waste food, plus being harmful to your health. Be modest in your exercise. Yes, exercise is beneficial and needed but it doesn’t have to be in the extreme. Be modest in the amount of sleep you get. You don’t need a ton of sleep or you will become lazy and waste precious daylight to get your work done (Proverbs 24:33). Be modest in how many clothes, makeup, perfume, and stuff you own. Don’t store your treasures (worldly finery) on earth since they can draw your heart away from the Lord and the things of this world will all burn one day. Store your treasures in heaven where they belong!

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21