Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances

Money.

It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible.

Proverbs 13:11

Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Proverbs 10:4

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

These two proverbs are I think important when considering the use of money and, actually, the importance of saving it and “being smart” with it.

However, one could easily go to far with this, and save money with only his/herself and his own life in mind.

1 Timothy 6:10

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

When I was in this hyper-saving, can’t-spend-a-penny-outside-my-budget mindset, I thought I was pretty awesome. I thought the amount I had in my savings was a virtuous thing. I thought I was better off than someone who spent a ton of money. Now, I didn’t think these things consciously, but they were definitely beliefs in my subconscious.

Now, reflecting on what I actually believe to be true, and praying about it, I have learned a few things.

Budgeting is important, but it’s not everything. As those proverbs state, wisdom with money is certainly important, because I don’t want to spend it all on myself. A lack of a plan with money is not what I’m called to. But an inability to go out with a friend for coffee who is having a really hard time because I “went over my coffee” budget is not necessary. If that friend really wants Starbucks, I can afford a couple dollars for a coffee– and even think about treating her of course! If this becomes excessive, I may think about inviting that friend for at-home coffee instead, but it doesn’t need to be so wound up in “my budget.” That is where I’m convinced of my conviction that it becomes selfless saving.

It is always better to give than to receive. Jesus Himself says this. And a giver is who Jesus is. And since really recognizing this is as Truth, this importance of giving– I’ve experienced such freedom with money.

Obviously, I’m not going to give all of my money away! Part of the calling I have with money in the society we live is to look after myself, paying bills, and even understanding when I’m meant to bless myself with that money. But knowing that I am blessing myself because I’m honouring God when I bless others with money– also recognizing the privilege it is, but that it’s not everything, is man-made, and temporary– is important.

All things belong to God– including “my” money. It isn’t really mine if everything under Heaven is God’s.

There is a common saying along the lines of “you earned it!” But I would urge you to think critically about everything you hear. As a Christian, I think about this in light of Scripture. My life story, actually, is that I am undeserving of any of the blessings graciously bestowed upon me– it is entirely because of Jesus that I have this life. This is my core belief. And so, when I work, and receive money for that work, I didn’t “earn” it or deserve it as much as I was given it as part of duty: working for the glory of God. And so, I come under Him with my money.

I had an experience in church a few months ago in which I heard God’s voice so clearly.

I don’t experience His audible voice very often, but He was incredibly clear to me about an amount of money I had in my bag that I was called to give to the church that day.

I was tight for money for the month based on the arbitrary budget I had in my head, and going over that budget would usually cause me stress.

Rather, I was overcome by Jesus’ love and very easily gave that money up. I have already watched Him tangibly bless and multiply it, as He promises to.

Since then, I have learned that it’s ok for me to like budgeting. It’s actually a blessing that I enjoy saving. But the Holy Spirit will always speak about generosity, and when He does, it’s always for all good that I listen.

There is also always room, and in Christ, I am literally, actually, truly free from the law. I have learned my fair share about the destruction strict rules can wreak on a person.

Matthew 6:21

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Above all, I pray my treasure is in Jesus Christ, and that my heart, then, is fixed on serving Him.

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Fall Favourites 2018

It is mid-November.

I am mid-way through the first semester of my last year of my undergrad. 
Can anyone in the same place– or who’s been there– vouch for the insanity? 
Yeah. Breaks in order to carry out passions are necessary, I have found. 

That is why I keep up the blog. Many of these posts, have proven to be helpful for some, and many of them just fun reads, and many of them sparking conversations that have changed my life… or, I’m told, someone else’s… 

So, I keep blogging. I pray God continues to use it. 

Today, Wednesday, has the blessing of being a break in my week, consisting of zero lectures, and time to study, reset, hit the gym, hang out with friends, etc. This morning I was blessed by a meeting with my pastors, where these amazing friends of mine blessed me with their time and wisdom. I am so incredibly grateful to go to a church in which the leadership sees community and mentorship as a vital part of church.

After which, I got to head home and clean with my beautiful roommate, bride-to-be, and friend, Mary. This girl is one of my greatest blessings, and we have most definitely become like sisters. Investing in relationships and people in her life so beautifully, Mary has taught me so much about self-awareness and awareness of others. Maddie and Mary are both such incredible blessings to me that I cannot imagine my life without. 

And now, I’m enjoying a break in studying to blog, and felt inspired to do one of my old favourites post:
Essentially sharing the top ten miscellaneous “things” I’m loving this season, that I think you might appreciate, too.

Music. 

PVRIS. Thanks to a co-worker and friend, I have discovered my love for girl alternative music, particularly this band.

Food. 

I used to think I hated pumpkin… but I have this new fancy for it. Versatile for both sweet and savoury recipes, so healthy, and so flavourful, I especially love it in this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s also super affordable! 

Menu.

The restaurant I work at just launched its new menu! And it is incredible. If you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, be sure to check out one of our two locations!

Serving something for literally every kind of eater, catering to all allergies and dietary preferences, plain ol picky eaters, and meat and potato lovers. Real people, real food– and that’s what makes me passionate about this place.

Podcast.


I am so grateful for the podcasts broadcasted by my pastor, Mike Rutledge. For leaders of any kind, these podcasts are sure to glean something true for you! While those are not public as of now, his sermons are– and they are phenomenal. Check them out here .

Class.

I am loving my Christian Studies Seminar class so much. Learning such tangible things about program development, research, and integrating different practices, I feel I am finally honing in on some of my passions and callings. 
To brief the project that is coming out of this class, head here.

Worship.

Sitting still with Jesus and singing this song to Him is powerful.

Hobby.

I would say that my number one “hobby” is tap dancing. It is one of my favourite things to do, most definitely my favourite form of exercise, and a practice that gives me so much joy. My school showcase is coming up on December 2nd!

Make-Up.

This eyebrow pencil gave me so much more eyebrow confidence! (When I choose to use it, haha).

Blogger.

Currently catching up on all the posts by my girl Mackenzie. 

Fierce, strong, and beautiful, she is a must-read blogger.

New Friendship.

Blooming so quickly, I have a new friend at church named Kayla, who is one of the fastest friendships I’ve ever formed. She is someone I feel I’ve known forever, and who I’ve been able to open up with instantly. Do you know those friendships? So special and such blessings. People will trump places, work, and experiences for me, always. 

How to Grocery Shop Creatively On a Student Budget

If you know me, you know how much I love cooking and food creating.

You know that the kitchen is my happy place, and that I love getting creative.

If you really know me (comment if you’re one of the few😝) you know that I have some really strange food combo loves (sweet potato with cinnamon and peanut butter and chicken and banana anyone)? You also know that I’m pretty meticulous with my budget, because I’m a student, and I want my money to go toward blessing others more than my own groceries.

While I recognize that I need an abundance of food to live, I don’t need to live in excess.

SO, I keep this passion alive while on a tight budget of $150-200 per month toward groceries by following a few little guidelines every time I shop:

1. Do I need a grain? Am I stocked up on cool/creative pastas, cereals, rice, flours, etc.? If not, I’ll grab one new one. Also, oats are a necessity for me. *Story time* a lady at the bus stop today literally saw oats in my bag, pointed them out, and we proceeded to have a lengthy conversation about how amazing and versatile oatmeal is. We swapped a few recipes.

2. Veggies. These I buy weekly. Depending on how full the fridge is, I usually buy one green variety and one starchy variety. I’ve been loooving pumpkin recently!

3. Fruit. I usually stock up on two types and they’ll be gone by the end of the week. My most heavily used are bananas and frozen cherries/blueberries. I also love apples and dates!

4. Fats. If Im out of a cooking spray, a sauce, or, most importantly, nut butter, I’ll grab a new one!

5. Proteins. I get most of my meat and eggs in bulk from a local farm, so it’s purchased on special trips with my momma! If I need chicken or want to try a fish or something I will, and I also almost always have chickpeas handy!

6. Treats. Treats are important. My go to’s are popcorn, flavoured drinks, dairy free ice cream, chips, dark chocolate, etc.

Having these staple foods at hand is, for me, perfect for making creative and delicious meals!

Like the ones linked here.

I really hope these were relevant tips for some of you students out there!

Tell me– when you go grocery shopping, do you just shop, or do you go in with a list?

A Morning with my Best Friend

Morning. Not stupid early, but not late morning, it’s 8:30am and your eyelids open after a solid, undisturbed 8 hour sleep. You smile to yourself, feeling that euphoric, passionate, life-is-good-because-God-is-good emotion that translates to excitement to spend time with Jesus. You know He’s going to meet you where you are– which happens to be your little student bedroom in Waterloo, warm under the perfect duvet, that perfect warm that is practically impossible to crawl out of.

You roll over just far enough to grab your Bible, and open it to where you left off. Psalms.

Psalm 41. 

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;

the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.
The Lord protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.

You spend enough time with Jesus to know that you are certainly not perfect at “regarding the weak,” but also to know that He has already forgiven you for it. He instructs you, though, and He makes you better. That simple time calling on His name and seeing His face, His very body, sitting on your bed, nowhere else to be but with you because that’s how much He loves you– whaaat— He tells you to lift your weary head and stop dwelling. He makes you aware of a coping mechanism that you go to when you’d be much better off turning to Him.

But that’s just it.

In the valleys He reminds you of His faithfulness.

If it weren’t for the coping mechanisms and failures and misgivings and faults, you wouldn’t know how much you need Him. That’s not to give any credit to the faults. No, it’s to weaken them, because it’s kind of sad to know that humans need them sometimes in order to know Him. 

But oh, there is grace. Oh, there is so much love. Oh, He is forever and always forgiving and unbudging. Oh, how this God Jesus just wants to befriend you, be above everything else in your life because He knows it’s what’s best for you.

He is, after all, your Father.

 

A Friend Like Brooke

I’ve done a couple posts like this before, in which I write about why “everyone deserves a friend like___.” Today, I’m talking about a friend like Brooke.

Brooke is one of my co-workers at Pure JBK, and has quickly become a close friend. From the day I started working at Pure, Brooke made me feel welcome and wanted. She invested in getting to know me, caring about me no matter how much stress work might have brought that day. She inspired me from day one in so many ways, from her work ethic and drive, to her creativity and “realness,” Brooke has passion for life and people.

And, more than anything, Brooke is someone I’ve always been able to be so real and raw with in both good and bad times. If I’m struggling, I know she is someone I can talk to so openly, and she has such compassion and loyalty for those in her life. She is so dedicated to whatever she takes on, and doesn’t take life too seriously.

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She recently moved to working at our second Pure location, and whenever I am at the first location, she is a favourite topic of conversation. She doesn’t see it, and is truly so humble, but people simply love her wherever she goes.

I appreciate her so much and the way she sacrifices her own agenda for the sake of other people. I am so grateful for her presence in my life, and all she’s taught me in the short time I’ve known her. Everyone deserves a friend like Brooke.

My Top Ten Favourite Blogs (Feature Photo by @tumblinbimblincrumblincookie)

Cait’s Plate.

My absolute favourite blog to scroll through. So much clear effort put into this content, with incredible readability and beautiful photos!

Back to Being Sara.

One of my dear friends who share so much truth in her writing. She also just published a book about breaking the bondage of eating disorders through Jesus!

Mack Marie.

I could never tire of reading even her day in the life posts! This girl is a passionate, compassionate, godly woman and it shines through in her writing.

Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Has been my go-to blog for detailed recipes with incredible step-by-step guides that are FOOLPROOF.

Rachael’s Good Eats.

Go-to creative snack ideas!

Elizabeth with Grace.

Not only one of my best friends, but one of the most talented bloggers I’ve ever come across.

Tumblin Bumblin Crumblin Cookie.

The queen of food photography, and art in general.

Upbeet and Kaleing It.

Go-to dairy free and still delish recipes!

Increasing — Josee Foster.

Some of the wisest internet words I’ve ever come across. Make that some of the wisest words I’ve ever come across, period.

Broma Bakery.

Some of the most beautiful blog photos I have ever seen– as well as some of the best recipes I’ve ever tested!

Infinite Jewellery: Your New Favourite Company

You know that just-about-to-leave-the-house feeling when you look in the mirror, take one last look at your outfit, and… it’s just not complete? Something’s missing?

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There’s an easy solution for those almost-perfect outfits. A piece of jewellery might be the exact finishing touch you’re looking for. For just a small investment, you can add multiple pieces of jewellery that will become accessory staples, enhancing the way you look and feel every day.

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And the woman behind the store couldn’t be more of a sweetheart. To know Kenya personally is to know a selfless, determined, hard-working lady whose heart is golden and whose eyes are fixed on her goals. The collection she has put together is one she has worked hard on, and is proud of.

The website, featuring easy-to-shop necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, is user-friendly and incredibly aesthetic.

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And the prices are unbeatable, without sacrificing quality. Your orders will be delivered in a timely fashion, adorning your new pieces before you know it! Kenya’s products are classy, modern, and stylish.

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And by signing up for an Infinite account, you can begin collecting rewards for your purchases, with so many opportunities to save.

Infinite is the store that’s there for your every purchase, too. From thoughtful gift-giving– without have to guess at sizes!– to continually adding new pieces to compliment your wardrobe, these are pieces with infinite possibilities, infinite combinations… one place.