How to Start The New Year With More Money & More Swag
Hey Jushhhy Friend! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. As you probably know, the stores are filled with holiday shoppers, big spenders, and quite frankly people who are going broke trying to give gifts to friends and family that don't fit their monthly budgets. Well I'm not that chick! A girl's got other things to do than go broke trying to be Santa Claus or buy one holiday dress. You see, I live strictly according to our household income and stick to a budget all year long. There are very few times when my husband and I shy away from our planned lifestyle and I like it that way.
Ryan and I are both planners, savers, and organizational weirdos and, it works quite well for our family. We haven't had a car payment the entire 12 years we've been married although we've owned 6 modern cars between the two of us. We save for what we want and then purchase the items with cold hard cash.
It's easy for me to live on a budget because I never wanted to be that gal who is "sharp to the nines" but has no savings account, college fund for my children, or anything of true value. I don't knock anyone who has another way of living, but for me I like to feel in control of my financial future. I want to be "beautiful on a budget" and "balling on a dime"! Yep, I enjoy looking good and feeling good like most women, and I recognize that a little retail therapy is all a girl needs to "give her life" every now and then, but I've learned how to get that boost the right way.
I recently purchased a pair of BRAND NEW distressed boyfriend jeans from JCPenney for a whopping $.49 cents! You read it right..... FORTY NINE CENTS! I know what you're thinking...SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Where, when, and how does that happen? I'm so glad you asked because when this happened, I knew I couldn't hold this good information any longer. I want you to shop responsibly so much that I postponed folding 3 loads of laundry and vacuuming the living room floor to get these "beauty on a budget tips" to you just in time for the holidays! My hope and earnest prayer (so deep right?) is that you don't break the bank trying to enjoy a two-week holiday season. Girlfriend, let's take a moment right now to make a pact that we will be fly and financially savvy going into the New Year! ARE YOU READY? ..... ok good, let's get to it!
1. Become a Coupon Queen and List Lover
Okay, don't cringe or turn off your phone or computer as if I just said "COOTIES" when you see the word coupon! It's not a dirty word. What some of you may not realize is that many rich people are rich because they are mindful masters of their money who are always looking for deals, negotiations, rewards programs, or sky miles. Think of it like this, coupons are good business and using them makes you a good steward of your funds and a faith-filled woman who is expecting a blessing. When I go shopping I usually know in advance what I'm looking for and how much I want to spend. News flash...random and impulsive buying is not only irresponsible, it's a sure-fire way to get into debt.
I am a proud Coupon Queen so I waited until I received my $10 coupon from JCPENNEY in the mail before I even decided to make a trip to the mall. My coupon stated that if I spent $10 I would get a $10 discount! I knew I needed jeans because (as you may know from my previous posts) I gained 12 lbs. this summer and had to go up a size in my clothing (read CHUBBY GIRL DIARIES HERE). My list and coupon were there to safeguard me from going overboard and buying more than just the jeans I needed. If you want to go home guilt-free and debt-free you should try this too. Remember, lists and coupons are there to protect us!
2. Make a Bee-Line to the Clearance Rack But Stick to the List
Most stores have a clearance section and often run special deals or promotions during different times of the year, especially during the holidays. This is a marketing ploy to encourage more people to come in, shop, and spend their money. The marketers of these companies understand that if they can get you into the store, you are more likely to spend more money on additional items you had not planned for. So my advice is to go straight to the clearance rack first to see if what you are looking for can be found at an already discounted price (which may be cheaper than the promos the store is marketing). I'm not telling you to compromise on style or purchase something just because it's on the clearance rack, but I am saying that those clearance-rack items were once full-price and what you need just might be hiding there at an extreme discount.
For example, the day I purchased my fancy new jeans, I walked into the store and right over to the clearance rack and there they were as if the heavens opened up just for me. I was hoping, wishing, and praying that they were my new size and low and behold, they were. YASSSSSS... score for the home team! I eagerly looked for the ticket, with my fingers crossed, hoping that they were marked down enough to fall within my $20 MAX cash budget. It was a win for this trendy momma when the ticket read $9.97! I wanted to do a "run around the church dance" but instead broke out into a huge smile as if I had just won the shopping-trip lottery!
Let's recap and remind you why I was grinning from ear to ear in the middle of the clearance section. I was armed with my list (jeans) and my $10 coupon that stated if I spent $10 I could use my $10 coupon. In hand were my super "quoot" distressed boyfriend jeans that had been marked down 80% from the original price to $9.97. With tax that would qualify me to use my coupon and I would be left paying pocket change for a pair of jeans that someone else paid $50 for! GO CHAS, GO CHAS, GO CHAS....I hope you are excited for me too, because I can't wait to celebrate and read all your "beauty-balling-on-a-budget" praise reports when you try this tip too!
3. Ignore the Foolishness and Stick to the List
No, I am not repeating myself by accident. At this point you might be tempted to keep shopping because you have saved so much money. However, allow me to offer a word of caution, once you have scored the item(s) you came for, get out of there fast because temptation will be all around you. All of sudden a butt warmer gadget looks enticing because it has a $2.99 sales sticker on it and cute earmuffs with rabbit ears poking out seem like the perfect gift to bring home to your little one to keep his ears covered for $7.99. Stay focused and stick to the list because before you know it you will have a cart full of foolishness and a busted budget.
When you're standing in those long lines, "keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind!" You must ignore the strategically placed items that line the checkout aisles where you wait to purchase your $.49 jeans. I know it's tempting but resist the coffee mugs with your favorite quote gilded in gold, and the gummy bears that are calling your name. As you approach the cashier hand her your coupon and a pocket full of change and make a mad dash to the car regretting nothing! I want to be like a little angel baby sitting on your shoulder every time you save you and your family money. Imagine me whispering in your ear "YOU DID IT GIRL" and then open your hand to receive from me a "beauty-balling-on-a-budget high five" that solidifies the shopping sisterhood we share!
4. Take Care of What You Have, Be Giving, and Depend on God
My last and final tip for you is to take care of what you already have, be giving, and depend on God. We often overspend because we don't truly trust God to provide what we need when we need it. Also, we rush around on our own schedules each day instead of humbly seeking God's voice to find out where we need to be and when we need to be there! Often we miss the blessing because of simple disobedience. I know that you are probably uber busy and that you love looking fly but believe me, if you trust God in every area of your life, you will see that He has already divinely arranged for you to never to be without. God will leave things in your price range, on time and on purpose, just for you if you trust Him and are obedient.
You see, what you don't know is that there is a little more to the $.49 jean story. A couple of months ago God had impressed on my spirit to clean out my closet and get rid of everything that no longer fit or I hadn't worn in a while. I was unsure if I was to sell the items or give them away. I prayed and asked God to tell me what he wanted to do with all this stuff. As I opened my heart, and waited patiently for his instructions, the answer became clear while attending an event at Victorious Life Church. On the wall, there was a huge flyer about the 22nd Annual Fashion Share hosted by First Lady Emelda Tolbert. The flyer mentioned that the church was looking for well-kept clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories in great condition to help women who needed a helping hand to restart their lives with dignity. I almost burst into tears staring at the flyer because for over a month at the Lord's instruction I had already sorted through my entire closet and hung and organized all the items on hangers and had even gone so far as to buy a rack to hang everything on. I remember vividly making sure the hangers all faced the same way and that the shirts were hung with matching jackets. l purposely wiped down any scuff marks that I saw on the shoes and sorted the jewelry into baggies. Remember, I told you that I was an organizational weirdo, and I really am. I find pleasure in knowing that everything has a proper place and that even when giving, I take care to make sure it is done right.
The funny thing is, God already knew this - He knew all of my quirky little issues and knew I was the right woman for the job. Although I never saw it coming, He knew that I would gain 12 pounds having too much fun this summer and that I would no longer be able to fit my clothes properly (I wear them fitted, by the way, so there was no wiggle room). He also knew that I would give the clothes in a way that honored Him at His command. God had a plan for those women and for me because He is all knowing, never wasteful, and a God of love. I was humbled by the fact that my 12 lb. weight gain could be someone else's blessing and that God would replenish my closet with brand new items that are just right for this stage of my journey. Please remember, that you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7)! Nothing is ever wasted with God and He always has what you need when you need it - just like He had a brand new pair of $.49 jeans at JC Penny for me when I needed them.
I leave you with this scripture to remind you that God will always take care of you from Matthew 6:25 - 34.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I hope this message inspired you to shop smarter and not harder, be giving, and trust God with everything you need! Leave me a comment so that I can hear about all of your "beauty-balling-on-a budget" finds and so that we can connect and chat it up! If you haven't already SUBSCRIBE to my website, because you belong here!
Keep the comments coming....I read all of them and I'm tremendously grateful for YOU! If this post was helpful please give it a thumbs up.