"Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward." Doctrine & Covenants 136:27
Do any of these words make you feel uncomfortable? I must admit, they are not my favorite words in the world.
BUT, they are a very real, constant, nagging part of everyone's daily lives.
As homemakers, we have a big part to play in home finances-- or Home Economy, as I like to call it.
I'm sure we all remember these wonderful scriptures, but I'd like to read them again with an eye toward Home Economy:
As modern women, the above description of a virtuous woman can often seem an impossible standard to meet! But when we consider all of the conveniences we have in our modern lives, and take in the image of the virtuous woman as a WHOLE, and not a checklist of specifics, perhaps we can find hope and inspiration to liken the Proverbs 31 woman to ourselves.
When it comes to Home Economy, are we careful with the money our husbands work hard to earn? Do we do our best to be frugal in the management of our household finances? We don't need to be perfect. But we DO need to address our finances and household accounts in a open, confiding way with our husbands. Sound financial decisions require communication and work!
Lately my husband and I have been working through *Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Though we have rarely had "knock-down, drag-out" fights over finances, we have not been very communicative about our finances, either. Money management has not been our strength! My husband and I are finding this program to be very helpful in creating an open dialogue about money between the two of us. We're just beginning, but I feel good about facing what has been an uncomfortable issue for us both.
There are other programs out there; the method is not important. What IS important is having a plan that both husbands and wives can agree on and implement.
She looketh well to the ways of her household
This is not really a post about using different financial management methods. It is also not a post about how we can change our husbands. This post is about what WE, the Home Managers of our households, can do to improve in Home Economy practices.
Thanks to my thrifty parents, I grew up to be a person who is relatively careful with money. (Read CHEAP!) Don't get me wrong-- I can spend money on "stuff" we don't necessarily need. But when I blow money irresponsibly, it's usually at garage sales and Goodwill/Deseret Industries. However, that doesn't make it a great thing to do! This is a weakness I'm continually working on.
How do we view the money that is deposited in our bank accounts each payday? As wives, do we have an attitude of entitlement or one of gratitude?
When we are given care over our household, as the Proverbs 31 woman was, do we remember that the money our dear husbands earn is precious, and that we have a sacred charge to spend his wages wisely?
This is not always an easy attitude to have! But I know that when I take such a view of our finances, I am more thoughtful and careful over the money I spend.
Here are a few ways of managing household expenses that have worked well for us:
- Find the Deals: Once a week, I try to carefully look over all the weekly grocery ads, and make my shopping list from the best deals and loss-leaders at each store. On shopping day, I then buy as many of these items as I can wisely purchase. Whatever we don't need to use immediately in our menu goes into rotation as part of our food storage.
- Food Storage: We store food in case of emergency, as our LDS Church leaders have been counseling us to do for MANY years. We are far from perfect at this at our house, but we consciously buys a few extras of the things on sale and add them to the food storage rotation every time we go shopping. We do also make a few big, bulk purchases a few times every year to keep the essentials in reserve. (Things like wheat, powdered milk, oats, salt, sugar, yeast, etc.) We constantly USE our food storage, naturally rotating it, rather than just letting it sit and hoping we never have to eat it. For LOTS of information on food storage and rotation, I recommend Food Storage Made Easy and the LDS Church's Provident Living website.
- Use Resources Prudently: Waste is a HUGE problem in our modern society that is used to having every convenience immediately. As the first scripture at the beginning of this post reminds us, the resources the Lord gives us are literally sacred stewardships from Him! Nothing we have is ours-- it ALL belongs to our Father in Heaven. That is not a casual charge! We need to use our money, our food, our blessings, in ways that the Lord would have us use them. Thoughtless (or thoughtful!) waste is INGRATITUDE. I have two friends that are great examples to me on how to be frugal and careful with my blessings from the Lord. My friend's helpful blog at Thrifty Like That has some great ideas on how to save money every day. My other friend shares how she and her family lived only on her garden and food storage for several months at The Prudent Homemaker.
The Lord seeks to daily help us in our role of Homemaker. When we remember to treat the management of our household finances as a sacred stewardship, we are given the strength to make wise decisions that bless our families and homes. May the Lord help us all to be more Virtuous Women!
*I do NOT sell Dave Ramsey materials, and I have not been asked to endorse him, his philosophies, or his products. I'm just a homemaker who's trying to be more responsible with our household money!