gimp-u.jpgGiMP U

Spring has sprung

Haven’t been writing much because Spring snuck up on me again. The garden is once again taking up a lot of my time and the kids are really restless to be outside a lot. So am I, actually. I despise being cooped up in the house.

I’m not planning a summer-long blogfast this year but I’ll prolly cut back on the posts.

God is at work…always.

Some simple Rules for not getting cleaned out when you go shopping at a big Super Store

Some simple Rules for not getting cleaned out when you go shopping at a big Super Store:

1. Stick to the list. This is crucial, especially when you begin to reform your spending. Stick To The List.
2. Have a ‘call your spouse’ rule. The ‘call your spouse rule’ is easy. You call your spouse for any purchase over a certain amount. It works because of our nature. We want things, sometimes we can’t afford them. Calling our spouse gives us time to think it through. If you want it bad enough that you are willing to lie about it to get it, you probably don’t need it. If you want it bad enough it falls under the criteria for the call your spouse rule, you’re going to think hard about it before you call them.
3. Make a list, as you shop, of other things you’d like to buy. This works because you are doing something about it. It works for me because I usually lose my grocery list once I get home–problem solved. You’re not just passing up a great bargain, you’re writing it down, you’re writing the price down, and you’re going to shop online. You’re going to research it and make a wise decision and finally decide, man I really don’t want this thing this bad. Recently I thought about getting a noise cancelling Bluetooth headset for talking while driving and washing dishes. I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone but if I do get a call, its going to be while I need my hands for something else. So I found a nice one at the aforementioned W retailer for $78. That’s a lot of headset. Later, I found the same thing at an online source with free shipping for $50. That’s thirty bucks I save if I buy it, but its really $80 because I didn’t buy it. I waited, I cooled down, and then I decided I could, in fact, live without it.
4. Cut coupons, comp ads, buy clearance items. This is the shopping equivalent of gouging in the trenches. (No I’m not talking about ‘Black Friday Sales’) Listen, this works, OK? Just wait a bit for some things, cut coupons for others, and always, always check the sale folders. It’s not that hard. Most stores with price-match guarantee’s probably appreciate you doing their research for them and if they don’t, they should.
5. Don’t fear the consignment shop. My wife and I make a run through consignment shops whenever we find them. Ok, my wife does. Thank God for DVD players in the van, right? Anyway, whoever is in charge of clothing should seriously consider this because it saves a ton. Here’s an example. Those little Osh-Kosh overalls are about forty bucks retail but you can find them on consignment for about seven. Do I need to say more?
6. A word to the men. Listen, to the ladies I just want to add an apology for rule six. It’s the unspoken rule, for the most part, and I don’t plan to speak of it again. It’s rule six. What that means for the men is this: support your wife if she really wants to do this and life will be easier, you’ll have more money in the bank. If you support her, encourage her, and make it easy for her to do this it will be good for you. Know what I mean? In the long run it will be good for YOU.
7. Know when to quit. I don’t have anything else to say about that so I’m going to call for rule seven.

Now, not only can you rescue your budget, but its biblical and right that you should do so…

Blindsided

So we’ve talked about some reasons to be frugal and we’ve discussed one way to do it. The grocery budget is the easiest thing to fix first because most of us spend way too much on food. Face it, Americans are, for the most part, fat. Eat less, exercise more and pocket the difference. That’s how to dig us out of our early obesity induced graves AND save the country from a recession.

I’m convinced that most of the money problems we face in this country come from an excess of instant gratification. This has been written about by many who are better equipped to deal with it right now but from what I can see, no one is really wanting to work for anything. Here’s what I mean. I was talking with a health care professional the other day about our health system and the same old complaints come up. “Look” they said “America has one of the best health care systems in the world because people pay for it. If we don’t pay for it, it goes down-hill.” And of course the case in point there is managed care. Am I saying I don’t care if single moms don’t have coverage for their kids? Nope. (At least in Oklahoma all kids are covered, that’s a whole ‘nuther topic though) What I am saying is that the money has to come from somewhere.

When we’re talking about our budget and not our health care system, find the fat. Cut the fat. Don’t allow the fat to creep back in because fat is sneaky. Say you cut going out but you suddenly have all this cash. SAVE IT. Here’s the deal: if you had a grand today you probably go blow it on a big screen HD LCD TV. You’d get all the bells and whistles you could afford and then a few more because, hey, I can pay that extra $500 off if I put it on my credit card.

One of the worst things that happened to us is that our local WalMart stopped taking checks. What I mean is, they quit just taking a check, they’ve turned a check in to a debit slip that you have to sign twice. If I find that repugnant, and I do—I don’t want anyone else messing with my checking account. Then I have to use plastic. Now that may seem ironic, but at least I get cash back on Discover and I pay the thing off every month come hell or high water. The credit card lesson is a tough one to learn but it has to be learned if you ever want to have any semblance of control over your own personal finances. My point, and I do have one, is that you have to make sure that what you buy is on your list before you go into to the store.

We go to wally world because it is, basically, the only game in town. No I’m not going to write about the destruction of the local retailer or the invasion of our markets with Chinese merchandise. Do I really have to? The problem I have is that they are just too good at selling things to me that I don’t need. I am continually blindsided by things I don’t have but I think I need so I buy them because, hey, there’s always room on the credit card right? Discipline is the key. If its not on the list, don’t buy it. Period.

Unless it’s on sale…if it’s on sale it requires judgment and a few simple rules to keep you on track…

COD: Family Quote of the Day

I found a great article about having the family together in worship. Heres a quote and the link.

Worship is the most valuable thing a human can do. The cumulative effect of 650 worship services spent with Mom and Dad between the ages of 4 and 17 is incalculable.–By John and Noel Piper

650 is a very small number. How many have you got left? Enjoy them.

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
–Psalms 2:1-12

I enjoyed this iTunes podcast from R.C. Sproul about this Psalm and the Davidic Covenant. Very good listening and reading for a Sunday.

COD: Podcast

Here’s an iTunes link to The Habanero Hour the new music podcast from the colossiansthreesixteen blog.

Theres a wide variety of good stuff to listen to if you’ve ever had that secret craving for alternative music. Go on, you know you want to listen to it. This podcast has several great songs that I liked a great number of them.