Almost a year ago today, I made a decision that completely shifted my “norm” when it comes to managing my money. I decided to simplify my life and rely on the bare minimum. I would not venture out to say that I am a minimalist yet, but I’m on my way. Before I made this decision, I spent a lot of time making myself think I could afford everything I had. The decision to press pause, reevaluate and take the necessary steps to live with less was influenced by the Word. 1 Corinthians 14:33 clearly states, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” One year later, I’m happy to have made progress in two areas: 1. My money and 2. My mind.
The decision to “get it together!” came at an opportune time. I was preparing to start a life with and marry my best friend, finish my Master’s program and move from Los Angeles back home to Fresno, California.
As long as I can remember, I have been careless with my money. As soon as I would get paid from my family’s newspaper business, I would somehow find a ride to the mall and spend what I had on random things, like non-prescriptive colorful eye-glasses from Claire’s. Yes, I owned a pair in every possible color. In high school, I worked retail jobs and used my money to buy trendy, expensive clothes.
I had a lot of stuff because most of my white friends always seemed to have more stuff than I did. Spending money was a way that I masked an insecurity about my socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, this stuff had no purpose and formed mounds of chaos in my closet, under my bed and tucked away in cupboards and drawers. I have spent a considerable amount of time in 2017 cleaning up my mess. It is needless to say that when credit cards made its way into my hands, I swiped haphazardly and ended up with over $3,000 in credit card debt. For a college student accruing debt through school loans and high interest rates, you can imagine the mess that I’m cleaning up in my 30’s.
But thank God for His saving Word!
When I made the decision to get rid of my stuff, the doors of opportunity swung open! I began selling items using apps like Ebay, OfferUp & LetGo and, in three months, I made a few thousand dollars. This may seem minor, but for the first time in my life, I paid my rent a few months in advance. I began to put money into savings. I went from driving a new car, eating out every night and having a great salary to, now, eating at home and sharing a 15-year old car with my husband. And, if I can brag for a moment, my husband and I also managed to save and pay for a beautiful wedding with very little financial help from our families. God knew what he was doing when he told me marry the cheapest, most wonderful man on the face of the planet.
Peace is not living paycheck to paycheck. Peace, for myself, is having a plan for the money that God gives me and using it to glorify His kingdom.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love me some designer hand bags and will often watch ‘What’s in my handbag’ videos on YouTube! But now I have it in my heart to support others, especially women of color, in transforming our minds and habits when it comes to spending and saving money. My desire is to hear God say to me, “…‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much…”. Matthew 25:21. God’s perfect plan allows us to access His peace and His best for us so that we can be faithful and fruitful with all of our talents. Thank you, Lord!