This blog contains amazon affiliate links. We may earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you. If you choose to purchase through one of our links, thank you for supporting our blog!
It’s taken me almost 15 years to figure this out, but there IS a way to be responsible with your money, spend without guilt, and feel less FOMO.
THINK ABOUT MONEY THE WAY GOD DOES. THEN, PUT IT TO WORK.
For the first decade of our marriage, we were laser-focused on getting out of debt. During that time, spending guilt was NOT an issue (only because we didn’t buy anything lol), but FOMO was real.
I remember when we decided to live on one income… People would invite us out for lunch after church, and honestly, I didn’t know what to say.
Option 1: “Oh, we’d love to, but we don’t have the money for that.”
That was true. Because of our goals, we didn’t have excess money for going out to eat, but saying we didn’t have the money made it seem like we were a charity case. We HAD the money. We were just choosing to put it toward our debt.
Option 2: “Oh thank you for the offer, but we’re busy.”
That was NOT true. Sarah, why would you even think of that, you liar! We weren’t busy. I just didn’t want to go through the rigamarole of explaining statement number one. Ugh, was there a door number three?
Option 3: “Sure we’d love to go!”
This wasn’t true either. Not really… I mean, we would have loved to go out to eat, but we wouldn’t have loved the feeling of spending money when we had perfectly good food at home.
The struggle was real, friend, and it wasn’t isolated to just lunch dates. There were baby showers, wedding showers, new clothing trends, new vehicle trends, coffee! I wanted to take part in #allthethings, but I also wanted to get out of debt. I knew there had to be a solution, but couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.
This is where any self-respecting blogger will interject some insane story where everything changed. Then they’ll tell you, “You can do it too! Just do what we did!” I’m not going to do that, because truthfully, there wasn’t one single thing.
We’re like that though. Us people. When we have a problem we either dig our heads into the sand and pretend like it isn’t happening, or we go out looking for an immediate fix. The thing about money issues is that they stem from unhealthy relationships… with money.
Imagine for a second that a couple goes in for marriage counseling. They’ve been married for a couple decades, and they’ve just lost that loving feeling. Will a counselor say, “I’ve got it. Change this one thing today, and your marriage will be fixed?”
Never! And if you ever go to a counselor that tells you that… run away.
Unhealthy relationships develop over time. The same is true about healthy ones. And our relationship with money is no different.
WHAT’S THE ACTUAL PROBLEM?
Whether we live in fear that there will never be enough or spend incessantly to make ourselves feel better, the issue is the same. It’s a lack of trust in God. And unpacking that unhealthy mindset takes time. A LOT of time.
I know you don’t want to hear that. If you’re here because you want to have a healthier relationship with money, you don’t want to hear that it could take a decade. But I have an option here. I can give you 3 steps to follow, and we can all pretend like those 3 steps will provide an instant fix, or I can tell you the truth.
THINK ABOUT MONEY THE WAY GOD DOES
Here’s the truth:
- Everything we have is God’s.
- He’s the provider. (Read provider, not sugar daddy.)
- He’s not a fan of playing second fiddle to our money idols.
- He does weird math that can turn 2 + 2 into 100.
- There is an actual eternity that we’re prepping for. What we do here on earth will be rewarded in heaven.
If you want to be able to spend money without feeling guilt and shame, you need to start with asking God to expose in you whatever runs in opposition to Him. And then prepare yourself for a long, and incredibly freeing, journey.
WHAT ABOUT PUTTING MY MONEY TO WORK?
I said there wasn’t some 3 step process to having a healthier relationship with money, but I do want to leave you with something tangible you can do today. I’ve found that the quickest way to move forward with God is to let him do what only he can do (expose our weaknesses) and focus on doing what only we can do (be obedient).
Bob and Linda Lotich, in their book, Simple Money, Rich Life, explain that a lot of our spending issues come down to a single line item in our budget. It could be eating out, clothing, fun, coffee… If we can focus on reining in that one line item we’ll start to see some success.
Side note: That single line item could stem from some form of addiction. It could be hard to pull back your coffee habit if you use it to cope with stress. Be prepared to have your heart exposed (and freed) by God. It’ll be both hard and wonderful.
But don’t just focus on NOT spending. Figure out what you’re going to do with the dollars you free up from not spending. You could put that money on your student loan debt. You could pay down on your credit card, but this is what I would recommend, to start…
GIVE IT AWAY
Those dollars would have been spent on you, probably for things you don’t really need. What if instead of getting a coffee every morning on your way to work you bought 30 – $5 Starbucks gift cards and gave one away every day for a month? What may start off feeling very restrictive could actually be a catalyst in helping you understand what it means to sacrifice your comfort for someone else’s good.
That almost sounds like you would be exemplifying the love Christ showed when he left the comfort of heaven for the good of mankind.
This is what I wish I would have done differently when we started our debt-free journey. We always gave to our church, but we so highly prioritized saving that I think it caused us to be stingy. I can’t speak for Trent, but God’s been exposing that in me, for sure.
This year we plan to give away a certain amount of money each month. Just for fun. (Thanks to Bob + Linda’s Book). It’s not anything crazy… A coffee here, a gift there. But it’s already been so fun and has brought me so much joy to bless others!
If you want to have a healthier relationship with money and be able to spend without the guilt and shame, then look up every verse in the Bible on money. Figure out exactly what God says on the subject. Then, right from the beginning prioritize giving. Not because you think it’s going to earn you brownie points. Do it for the joy of it.
Put your money on mission. You’ll be amazed at how much it’ll change your life <3
Because there’s a better way,
Sarah (and Trent)
Sarah, Thank you for the great wisdom on
Money. It’s been a subject matter that I struggle with in my life. I was always a saver from a very young age and then into my teens and then I got married very young. My husband then was not a saver but a spender and it was a source of contention with us. I did many odd jobs to make sure that we had enough money to cover our bills but not enough to save. Then I got divorced and was a single mother who kept several jobs to survive with my sons. It was not easy but I managed then. Now I need to plan on retiring in a couple years and I am struggling with the fact I will not be able to afford it. But I’m finding peace in my heart and mind that I will get there with discipline and determination. Thank you again for your advice.
Kelly, life sure has a way of throwing us curveballs, doesn’t it? One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” My mom had to go back to work after my dad retired, but the experience has greatly increased her love for people, and she’s had numerous opportunities to pray with people and show them the love of Jesus. I don’t think it was ever in her life plan to go back to work, but God’s worked it for her good. I know he’ll do the same for you <3
I say this every time. I sound like a broken record. BUT REALLY….THIS IS MY FAVORITE POST ❤️❤️❤️
Thanks Rhonda ❤️ I’m so glad God has given us an opportunity to share the things he’s taught us (and continues to teach us). It’s more than we deserve ❤️
Such a good reminder of what our attitude should be with money😃
Thanks Jesse! We have to remind ourselves on the regular, because our minds like to wander… lol
Thanks for the post! After getting rid of all of our debt I find it so hard to figure out “what to spend money on” when in reality I should be focusing on what God wants us to do with it. Love it!
Oh my gosh Arianna, the same thing happened to us! We felt lost for a while because for so long we were just “the people paying off debt.” After the debt was gone we were like, “Now what?” That book I mentioned, Simple Money Rich Life, was so helpful in moving us forward, but I’m glad I could share some things that were helpful for you ❤️