Thoughts on Holiday Spending

I dig Black Friday sales. And small business Saturdays. And Cyber Mondays. And Giving Tuesdays. All the days.

Nothing is more exciting to me than knowing I’ve been prudent with our family’s resources and that I’ve been diligent in managing and stewarding our finances well!

For example, I’ve got a credit with an online yarn shop that I’ve saved for a year in order to get the biggest bang for my buck on some fabulous wool/nylon yarns! I also managed to savvily combine some discounts in order to get my kiddos new high quality BPA/Chemical-free water bottles for over 25% off! Which adds up quickly when you’re Christmas shopping for 5 kiddos.

How do I do it?

First off, prayer. God is the giver of all good gifts, and the source of our ultimate Gift- Salvation in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. And that is why we live the Christian life with a generous spirit! Because God first gave to us, and in giving, we glorify Him as our Maker. So it just makes sense to pray and to be in conversation with the Lord concerning what we give, how we give, and when we give.

Second, I’m not a coupon-clipper for the sake of it. I search for bargains and save for sales so that the limited resources we have can be put to the biggest, best, and most effectual use for our family. When I started viewing dollars as hours of my Husband’s life, it really caused me to evaluate how I spend the money that represents hours of his time sacrificed to provide for our family. I want to do what most honors his sacrifice, and what most meets our family’s needs, all to God’s glory.

Third, all my choices stem from Christian ethics. I am mindful of what our money goes to support, and how those funds are used. I choose to support small businesses when I can and the hard-working folks that run and maintain them to support their families. Making decisions based on my deeply held beliefs and convictions ensures that my dollars are supporting that which is good, true, and beautiful, and that our family is helping to support and sustain other business owners with like-minded values. We support various ministries, both locally as well as world-wide. Locally, we’re supporting our Isaiah 117 house! Our church was one who partnered to supply land for a new Isaiah 117 construction and I am so excited to watch it come together- it’s a truly life-changing ministry that I’m thankful to be a part of supporting. Another worldwide ministry we support is Nueva Esperanza in Honduras. This ministry I’m super excited about as it not only takes kids off the streets while their parents are at work, but it invests in their lives by teaching them the Gospel and life skills/trades like electrician skills, sewing, cooking, etc. They’re raising funds for their new facility, and you can find out more about that here!

Fourth, and maybe the lynchpin in all of this, I plan. If I don’t consciously, intentionally have a plan of action for managing my home and finances, the result is aimlessness, frivolous and chaotic. In order to be able to give generously, I have to plan out our meals and budget for groceries and our living expenses, I have to budget our giving. I also plan out projects to sell in order to give those proceeds to our chosen ministries. For example, I dedicate any money made from knit or crochet hats to go to Nueva Esperanza in Honduras. I know that my Hats are for Honduras, and that is one way I intentionally set aside specific amounts for that.

One of the tools which I use to manage our family’s homestead is our Homestead Management Binder. What I love about this tool is it’s practicality, and the ease with which it enables me to keep everything going on the homestead even when I feel overwhelmed in the busy seasons.

In the homestead management binder, I have monthly calendars, weekly planners and to-dos so that nothing slips through the cracks. I’m able to schedule our animal care and maintenance tasks like brushing, hoof trimmings, nail trimmings, coop or cage cleanings, and keep it all organized and flowing smoothly.

It also helps me with record keeping; everything from breeding charts and schedules, to kidding records, butchering, and produce yields- milk, eggs, meat. I know what we are putting into our livestock, and what that input yields for our family.

Additionally, I use project planners to plan out the biggies like building structures, or cleaning, or whatever other large-scale project our family needs to accomplish, like coops, rabbit or chicken tractors, water catchment systems, etc. It helps me to design, plan, and execute with minimal waste and logical spending for maximum efficiency.

My favorite part is the section I use for planning and maintaining my garden. I’m able to map out the layout on a grid, and I can plan out what seeds get planted and when, how many days to harvest, etc. I also have an area to track my seed inventory, and take notes on sowing, harvesting, and production. And at the very back of my notebook, I track all the homestead income and expenses – livestock sold, produce sold, seeds sold or saved, meat yielded- because if I don’t have to buy it, I count that as money saved.

If the organization and intentionality of our Homestead Management Binder sounds like something your family would benefit from using, I’m pleased to announce that it is currently on sale in our farm store for over 22% off through December 15th. If the full Homestead Management Binder is too intense for you, but you’d still like to stick your toes into the world of garden planning, you can also find just our Garden Management Notebook (a stand-alone section of the Homestead Management Binder) for over 30% off!

The best part about these organizational tools is that they come to you as a PDF download, which you can purchase once and print from again and again, because my heart is for sustainability! You can even customize its over 50 pages to meet your specific homestead needs, printing only the documents you need and use. Not only that, but your purchase helps to support our family business, as well as the above mentioned ministries both locally and worldwide.

The temptation is to go for extravagance on the holidays; to blow our budget on luxury or vanity items. Personally I’ve always preferred practicality in gifts, both giving and receiving; to live generously and steward wisely. And it’s my goal this year to help others who desire the same.

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