It's time to chat budgeting . . . anyone else with me?
I had a huge revelation over Christmas that I kind of knew before, but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Money can't buy happiness.
(You knew that though, didn't you?)
Over the last year, we've shelled out some serious cash in hopes of making our kids happy here after moving last Spring. And while I'm not going to lie and tell you it hasn't softened the blow a bit, doling out cash hasn't just magically made life easier like I'd hoped.
We bought a trampoline. It blew away in the first windstorm. (Totally our fault for not planning ahead of time ~ grrrrr.)
We bought a kayak for my son. We were able to use it a time or two, but he of course wanted a friend out there with him. You can't buy friends, you know, but he's working on that! 😉
We added extra gym classes for my daughter in hopes of helping her enjoy her new gym more. So far, she's surviving, but it's just not the same as home.
WE BOUGHT A PUPPY. 🙂 Okay, the verdict's still out on this one because he is just a puppy, but the kids who've begged for a dog for the last five years have been a little unimpressed with how much work this little guy is to manage. They're starting to enjoy him some, but they had no idea what they were getting us into!
See how we've kind of failed at the whole penny pinching thing?
Thankfully prior to moving our finances were in decent shape so we haven't blown our budget, but it's become the principle of the matter.
Ultimately? Contentment comes from the inside.
No matter how much money you have, it won't fix all your problems.
Money can't take away sadness. It can't automatically make you fit in. It doesn't fill in the areas of your heart where friendships should be. It won't magically make life better.
However, choosing contentment no matter where life takes you can be learned. I'm working on teaching it to my children, and more importantly hoping to model it myself. Hopefully they'll see it at work in this heart of mine one day? (Folks, I am so bad at showing contentment with the ones closest to me. And everyone. Just really bad at it.)
A very fun-sweet-friend of mine and I were chatting yesterday (ummm, actually I was whining, and since she recently moved to another area in Ohio she's been a great sounding board.) She offered me sage advice . . . “Sometimes you just have to fake it 'til you make it.”
Things aren't always easy. Financial burdens are HARD. (So. hard.) But I've seen first hand that while money undoubtedly makes life a little less painful, it simply won't fix all your problems the way you think it might.
Be encouraged this very minute today though. Wherever you are ~ financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, contentment can be found way deep down somewhere.
If your home is making you nuts because you just want some more space, take a few minutes, grab a grocery sack, and fill it up with as many things as you can so that less clutter gives you a little more freedom.
If you're dreaming of a new car but that's not realistic right now, give the car you have a really good washing, scrub right down to the nooks and crannies, and clean that car til it shines.
And if you know the situation you're in is just so much more than you can handle, take a deep breath, lavish yourself with grace, and say a quick prayer for peace to come in the midst of your day today.
If financial issues are causing your family tremendous strain right now, I so encourage you to really really really really (did you get that? REALLY) determine to make wise financial choices today, clip coupons, skip dinner out, and don't go to Starbucks. (Really.) After years of penny pinching it is oh-so-worth it to have financial freedom, and while it won't make life better, it has undoubtedly made life easier.
But don't fool yourself into thinking a lottery windfall will fix all your problems today. Instead make the absolute-very-best-oh-so-amazing-life-right-here-today where you're at. Okay?
I'll be working on it on this side of the screen too. 😉