Who cares if I spend 6 bucks on a cup of coffee?

Public discussion of personal finances | Think Christian.

I just read this article on Think Christian and thought that it was pretty interesting.  Do you ever go through your budget and spending habits only to find that you spend a lot on frivolous and unnecessary things?  I know I do.  My wife and I have done a lot of budget cutting over the last couple of years due to uncertainty at work, and over the last year, mainly due to several lifestyle changes, we’ve been pretty critical of our own vices and have been actively cutting out our waste.

We started with things like cigarettes and alcohol, because they were so obviously detrimental to our health and the health of our children, as well as being expensive.  Cutting those habits saved a buttload of money, but we’ve continued examining our spending habits and cutting out unessential things.  We’ve cut back on trips to Wal-Mart, which were made seemingly on a daily basis before because it is so close to our house.  We did this with the combination of planning ahead and avoiding altogether.  The discount store ALDI has helped tremendously (but the tornado that destroyed it did not help much).

One of the most difficult for me was cutting out energy drinks.  I’m a bit of a Monster addict (assault is my favorite flavor, but the uber-expensive Monster Extra Strength in the blue can is super good too).  I used to stop at the gas station and pick them up before going into work several nights a week.  I had convinced myself that they were essential to staying alive at work through the night, but at two and a half bucks a can…I’d rather die (and I’m sure my wife agrees).  I’ve instead traded them up for coffee, which was difficult because I was never much of a coffee fan (but loved cappuccino – I swear I’m straight!), but I’ve made due by experimenting with flavored coffees and creamers, which are more expensive than regular generic cans of coffee but still much cheaper than the crack in a can that I used to drink.

So far, one of the coolest benefits to this whole thing is that I feel more encouraged to give.  I’ve gotten myself to a point that I almost feel guilty if I want to spend money on myself, so I instead spend it somewhere where it can be used for something good.  If I feel like buying something online while I’m browsing late at night, I might instead just give a little to a ministry, which satisfies the urge to spend money in a much greater way.  I noticed this the other night when I was shopping on Amazon for some writings from Martin Luther.  When I found the book I wanted, which cost 10 bucks, I was ready to check out, but then noticed that you could download the Kindle version for free.  “Well heck yeah!” I thought, and instantly downloaded the free version instead.  Before getting off the computer, though, I decided to go ahead and spend the 10 bucks, but instead of buying me something, I donated to http://www.insight.org.  I know that Jesus teaches us not to boast about our giving, but rest assured that is not what I’m trying to do.  Who would be impressed with 10 bucks anyway?  Instead, I’m letting you all know that cutting back on personal spending, then using savings for real benefit is hugely fulfilling.  I feel much better spending in this way, and saving more for my family, than I ever would have if I was spending to accumulate cool toys and expensive drinks for myself.

Anyway, check out the article above, it’s a great read!  If you have any thought on the topic, sound off below!

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