Frugality: another step toward balance

Before I jump into this month's goal, I want to give a little update on my steps for April. My plan was to set time aside for daily devotions and begin attending prenatal yoga classes once a week. While I eventually did put both of those goals into practice, I don't know if I would call last month a success.

First, I researched times for yoga and prepared to start classes. Alas, sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans. Aside from the sickness that confined us for about two weeks, my husband happened to have a very busy time at work. The first two attempts to make it to class didn't happen due to unforseen late nights at the office, thus me at home with the babe and no childcare. Oh well. Curt felt awful and I was disappointed--not a good combination.

Finally, two weeks ago, I did make it to my first class and fell in love. I think it will be so incredibly helpful in preparing me for natural labor. The more I go, the more I learn. Hopefully after a few more sessions, I'll feel confident enough to try some of the techniques at home more frequently.

Onto the next: devotions. It's so funny to me how much a personal relationship with God mirrors relationships we have with each other at times. If you haven't had meaningful conversation with a good friend in a while, those first few talks can be kind of awkward. Such has been my experience last month in my prayer life.

Making the shift from "going through the motions" to reconnecting with my faith and with God has not been the cake walk I imagined. I suppose it was naive of me to assume that just because I was making the time, a deep relationship would soon unfold. These things take time. While I do feel the proverbial open arms welcoming me home, I don't quite yet feel at home. The good news is, I know that's OK. I don't have to have spiritual revelations all the time. I can sit quietly in prayer and contemplation and know that while I might not feel it, important things are happening. I am present and so is He.

Considering the baby steps each of these goals have taken throughout April and the momentum I'm experiencing now that May is just beginning, I consider them both works in progress. In a way, I'm still keeping them on my list and will continue to share updates as they develop.

OK, now for May. Incidentally, when I was trying to figure out which yoga package I should purchase, I was faced with the ugly reality that my family was in desperate need of finding a new budgeting strategy. We used to use Microsoft Money, which recently became an unsupported program. Some of you might say, so what? I would tend to agree with you. However, my "computer guy" husband would strongly suggest otherwise. It matters. Apparently, a lot.

With a new baby on the way, me not bringing in any income and the past six months or so of non-budgeted living, we were headed for a spot of trouble. I immediately sprung into action and did a little research, spoke with trusted friends, set us up with new software and now we're good to go. Sort of. Now comes the hard part. Now comes the implementation of spending tracking and saving strategies.

I have every confidence in us that we can do it without tremendous sacrifice. It will take some getting used to and we will have to let go of some bad habits, but I think we're up for the challenge. May will be the first full month we are on this new plan and my hope is to keep an extra close eye on our progress, and work to do my part to save our family as much money as possible.

I will admit that it does feel sort of uncomfortable talking about this so publicly. However, I truly believe that change cannot happen if you close yourself off and remain unopen to outside ideas and insight. While we are not completely new to the concept of adhering to a strict budget, we are still finding our stride as far as making it with only one income. If you have any perils of wisdom or stories about what has worked for you, I am completely all ears!

Head on over to which name to see what Nicola and others are doing to find balance this month. Feel free to join in if you are so moved. I can't say how much I have loved being a part of this process!


Nicola (Which Name?) said...

You can do it on the budgeting. I post a lot about frugal living if you are interested in reading more. You might get some fun reading from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn, a bit dated, but good solid ideas.

And about prenatal yoga...I did it with my first pregnancy and it made a huge difference. Both my deliveries were without epidurals (although for baby health reasons, I was induced with #2). I had had prenatal yoga during my first pregnancy but not my second and I know there was a difference in inner calm, breathing, and focus for me.

Good luck!

sara said...

Thanks, Nicola! I have read several of your posts about frugal living and find it very inspirational and helpful. Hopefully as we find our stride, I can keep adding little things that will add up to make a big difference.

You were induced and didn't have an epidural??!! I am in awe of you!!! I am trying to look at this similarly to training for a marathon... lots of time and planning and building of stamina... all leading up to the greatest moment ever!

Wishing you peace...

Us said...

I am in a similar place with my relationship with God. I know I need a change and am looking for a way to implement it! I'm hoping to find a bible study for the summer that will push me to act. We shall see! But in reading your post, I immediately thought of a wonderful book I read in Seminary...Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen (who I believe is Catholic). Amazing (and easy) read that made a big impact on me.

Any who...we just started a new budgeting system a couple months ago and it has been a HUGE adjustment for me. We were certainly not spending within our means and that is a dangerous road. So we moved to a cash system for our non-fixed, weekly spending. When we run out of our grocery/spending money...we're done spending for the week. Let me tell you...Target is getting a lot less money from me know, but I feel like I am being more responsible with our money. (And I really do miss my extra income).

sara said...

Oh Jenn, I feel you with the Target withdrawal! It is a shift, for sure, but I'm finding that I don't really mind it so much. It just forces me to be more creative and prioritize what I really want vs. just getting whatever I think I might enjoy in the moment.

Maybe we could do our own bible study over the interwebs... Is there anyone else you think might be interested? Could be a fun new project--and free!