Sometimes the Lord places on my heart lessons back to back and other times I feel I am as dry as a bone when it comes to saying something worth talking about. Todays subject is the letter "P" for preparation. Are we prepared for what may lie ahead? Many of us would undoubtedly say no. Many of us and myself included forgot the lessons our parents taught us about saving up for a rainy day and spent it all on a sunny day. Still others, by circumstances did save up for a rainy day and when the rains came, they were with hurricane force rains and the money dried up.
Many people live on a fixed income and have a hard enough time planning for tomorrow, let alone a rainy day, but we still need to start preparation should the time come. I am more of an organizer, but even I know that with no central heat in our home, we need to always be prepared for the bitter cold the winter and summe prior to a year out. This year we purchased five cords of wood and we may have one cord left when winter passes, but does that mean we should forget about wood until next winter? NO! We already have three cords lined up for pick up this spring and summer so it can sit out all summer and dry.
As I have said in the past, our finances are not in the best of shape, we moved to Washington and while my husband had a job waiting, I foolishly thought I would find a job within a few months and never expected I would be sitting here almost 2 years later without a permanent full-time job. So, our savings were depleted and yes, we over used our credit cards. Now, we are paying for those mistakes in a big way. However, we are also preparing for an upcoming summer and having me unemployed.
This month will have us paying another creditor off, purchasing a locker pack at our butcher with about 100# of meat, frozen food items on sale and watching the local fruit market for reasonably priced fruit and veggies I can freeze or can. It will mean finding the price for new tires for my van and having the money saved when the time comes. Contacting the insurance company and seeing what my hospitalization co-pay is.
It will be buying things in bulk that we will need during the summer that we won't have the second income for and making as many quilts as possible to keep my family warm during next winter.
Being prepared, is simply being ready for anything that God may toss at you or allow others to toss your way. Simple ways I keep prepared is to make sure our Asthma inhalers are in the same place always (for me it means one in my purse, the kitchen, the basement and the bathroom) so if and when we need one, we know where they are. It means keeping a well stocked first aid kit and never running out of bandages or Neosporin, cotton swabs and cotton balls and I always have butterfly bandages on hand for my wonderful accident prone hubby.
It means stocking up on bathsoap, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cleaners, disinfectants, floor cleaners, etc. Anything I use frequently but lasts awhile can be purchased in bulk so I don't have to buy any during the summer.
Use coupons, I always take coupons with me and not just the ones I am planning to use, because I never know when I am going to run into an in store sale and my coupons will come in handy. Double coupons if you have a place that does that and watch store ads from your local area to further save money. Check into on line coupons and make sure your local store will accept them.
There are tons of websites such as couponmom, fatwallet,Living-on-the-cheap,frugal for life, just to name a few. Want to save for your childrens, grandchildrens or your own college or perhaps pay off your college loans more easily? Check out Upromise, go to this site and register your grocery store and drugstore cards, your debit and credit cards and you can save money for college.
My husband and I have our grocery store cards registered and we also go through Upromise when we purchase something on line from Ebay, Pennys, NASCAR.com, etc. because each time we do, a certain percentage goes into my Upromise account and the money goes quarterly into my college bills. Last year I only received eighty-two cents, but then I learned that using Upromise to shop online could add up and am eagerly awaiting my next pay out to see how much I added to my account. You can use Upromise for any family member or friend that you want to help out just by shopping!
There are many sites for once a month cooking that give you shopping tips, cooking tips, etc.
This week-end, we had a church potluck and I made a chicken,vegetable pasta dish. The chicken was already cooked and the veggies had already been chopped, it was as simple as cooking the pasta and heating the veggies.
Don't have a yard large enough for a garden? Plant your vegetables in the topsy turvy planter, large pots, strawberry pots or see if your city or county has a community garden where you can actually rent a small plot to plant. Check out your local churches, many have once a month food boxes that have produce, cereal, etc. in them and for the price you pay, you get a lot of food in return.
The Bible tells us to plan ahead, it saves time, it saves money and energy and it gives us more focus on the here and now. Proverbs 29:18 states, 'Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.' Oh, does that sound like the mess we are in at this time in our countries life. All that unrestrained living we did for years is catching up with us.
Reading further, Proverbs 20:8 states, 'Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion.' God will give us exactly what we need, not what we want. If He gave us what we want or what we think would make us happy, we would all win the lottery. But He doesn't want us to all be rich or all be poor, He wants us to place Him first and not our wants.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:26, 'Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns and yet, our heavenly Father feeds them, Are You not worth much more than they?'
I see the world and what I feel is that I need to do my best, we all do, to be prepared for what is happening around us. It is important to not horde or be greedy, but to be kind and save. What I see now was foretold by the Bible that the rich wil and are falling from grace.
You need only to read Proverbs 13:10 to see why AIG and other financial companies are struggling while others seem untouched. God states clearly that 'wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases.' The bankers, CEO's, Madoff's, etc. these companies are falling because their leaders thought they were untouchable and could spend their investors into bankruptcy and they have.
My prayers are with us all. I know I am blessed to be working and I know many are struggling just to eat and pay rent. Place your faith in God, He will not let you down and as in my life, He may have other plans for you than you do!