“It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend.”

Recently married, so many of my husband and I’s conversations revolve around money – earning it, spending it, keeping it, loathing it, needing it, giving it, receiving it, desiring it or praying for it.

A simple life, to me, is one where money does not take top priority. We realize it is necessary for human sustenance, security and happiness, to some degree. I say money provides happiness because it covers the costs of our healthcare, our grocery bills and our travel expenses. I sure would not be happy if I could not see a doctor, could not buy my own food or afford a tank of gas to go visit my family! So I do believe money allows us access to many blessings and allows us to enjoy things more freely, which brings us happiness.

But how much money is required for true happiness?

I am blessed because I’ve never been much of a shopper to begin with, which has helped guide me to this life of pursuing more intangible things. (Although, I have to admit, my only pair of boots I bought years ago are pretty scuffed by now and my brown belt is no longer holding my pants up properly – it’s almost time to spend some funds at the mall.) I am naturally a more social and caring person and the material has never had a huge pull for me.

In the book “Drive Like a Woman, Shop Like a Man” by Mary Mulvihill we see the behavioral differences between men’s and women’s shopping habits. The book shares how each gender can learn something from the opposite sex when it comes to the economics of life. Women tend toward “browsing” or “gathering” when out at a store. They push their shopping cart and grab what is appealing or possibly needed at home or for others. Men, on the other hand, “hunt” while they are shopping. They have a particular item or items in mind and go in for the kill. I shop like a man, because crowds of people, mall lighting, and the utter horror of a credit card bill or shopping receipt is enough to narrow my focus on what’s important – what is necessary – and nothing too much beyond that. My husband thanks me, but there are times when I’m given a sideways glance and told, “It’s OK to get a hair trim, Steph…” (Oh, yes, it’s been months and months now…)

So since adopting some of these little habits and after years of working, praying and planning, my husband and I are off to a decent start as newly weds. We’re both employed full-time. I even have access to lots of over-time work. I successfully paid off what little credit card debt I had in the past year (greedy rectangles of plastic bound for our shredder for good!) And now we start a new plan to eradicate those lovely student loans and car payments, which again, remind me that I have had access to a good education and a safe, comfortable vehicle.

My grandfather, who built himself up from little financial wealth, focusing on Biblical principle and sound financial practice, always shares nuggets of truth and one financial one is this: “It’s not what you make, it’s what you spend.” If I’m not making enough to buy something, I won’t. When I focus on my output – what I spend, what I give, what I do, (only what I can control, in other words) – this is when I see good financial progress. It gives me the strength to say “no” to that 30% off sale at Express. It gives me the strength to say no to having a TV and a cable bill at our new apartment (network TV is mostly rubbish anyway lately and I’ve found it far more satisfying to save my money then to pay for having trash dumped into my skull.)

This little financial mantra is enough to keep me in the pursuit of less… less hassle, less bills, less complication and stress. Less distraction.

In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus talks about money and the love of it…

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.




(Courtesy of Google images)

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given to you as well. 

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own.


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wise words Steph. Wish I knew these lessons when I was your age.

Comment by Kay Paff

Thanks, Kay… and I often wish I would have heeded them sooner! Although, I’m grateful for where we are and the progress we have made thus far.You can’t go back, only forward, right?

Comment by simplyenjoy

Beautiful Stephanie, 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Comment by John

🙂 Thanks, Pop Pop. Don’t you worry!

Comment by simplyenjoy

Fabulous Steph. I haven’t caught your writing in awhile…I will have to read some more of your past posts. Don’t forget to credit those pa Dutch roots for your waste not want not mentality. 🙂 I am blessed to have you as a friend.

Comment by Rachel

Hey, Rachel! Ah miss you thanks for checking in 🙂 I definitely need to give propers to the pa Dutch roots… good point. Thanks for reminding me! You are a blessing my dear Amiga!

Comment by simplyenjoy

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