Wednesday, August 31, 2011


On the last day of every month the Guy at the Next Desk comes in to work, turns on his computer, and announces "Payday!" That's the cue for everyone in the office to break out in applause, and Wooo!-ing. Today my Woo!s were a little more fervent than usual.

Husband and I are blessed with good jobs and steady income, and never fail to be thankful for both of these things. With four children, though, we're also blessed with steady outgo, and sometimes that tide seems a little stronger than usual. Thus it was this month, what with all the moving in and out and traveling about and the price of gas making all that hither-ing and thither-ing a bit more painful.

We've tried to instill a healthy respect for money in the Boys, by which I mean we tried to keep a balance between being aware that it doesn't grow on trees, but that not having boatloads of excess cash was not necessarily the worst thing in the world. I'm sure our sons learned their eyerolling trick the eight-hundredth time we broke out the phrase "We do have the money for (video games, laser tag, authentic NBA jerseys, or whatever the fad du jour was), but we choose not to spend it that way."

And certainly we did not choose to spend our hard-earned cash getting mani-pedis for our three-year-olds. (Seriously? I just may have to break out an eyeroll for Gwen Stefani's parenting.)

There is something about choosing to live frugally, though, that is rewarding. When I decided two weeks ago to try to get to payday without infusing more money into my checking account, I knew it was only the frills I would be postponing. I could wait for my haircut an extra week; I would forgo the farmer's market and live out of the pantry.

I'm completely and fully aware that this is the financial equivalent of those teenagers who spend a night in a cardboard box, then claim to know what it feels like to be homeless. Or people who spend a one-week vacation in a foreign country and wax poetic about the hardships entailed in living there. I am not even visiting poverty, I'm just delaying gratification.

But even this delay reminds me how grateful I am for God's provision, in all of its just-in-time perfection. I'm with Solomon, when he wrote in Proverbs 30:8-9,

 "Give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
   and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
   and so dishonor the name of my God."

Still, I'm glad today's payday. Wooo!

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