Southeast Texas Christian Blogger Debbie Slaughter – A Frugal Life

Southeast Texas Financial Ministry – A Frugal Life by Debbie Slaughter

In Southeast Texas, Life is about balance. Southeast Texas Christians are not immune from trying to find that balance. How much time should we spend at work? What percentage of our income should be allocated to housing? To transportation? Giving to our Southeast Texas church (above our tithe)? This week we’re glad to welcome back popular Southeast Texas Christian blogger Debbie Slaughter with some thoughts on the frugal life.

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After reading a post by Mrs. White over at The Legacy of Home, I am reminded of times in our marriage where we have lived in poverty and times we have lived in plenty.

When we were newly married, things were so different.  Debbie Slaughter Frugal Life 300

I cooked every single night and although we did eat out occasionally for lunch or on the weekend, the majority of our meals came from our own kitchen.

It was normal to take for us to take our lunch to work back then. Eating out was still a privilege, not the norm. I would sit in the lunch room and read a book, while eating something homemade or David and I would meet at the park and pull out our sandwiches and drinks from our lunch bags. I actually miss those days.

Each week I bought the same groceries and cooked the same meals over and over:

Chicken and Rice, Pork Chops and Rice, Tator Tot Casserole, Roast, and I honestly can’t remember any other recipes!

Our menu was so simple back then and I was a lot less stressed.

Once we had our first baby, we bought a house that was being foreclosed on and only paid $28,000 for a 3 bedroom, 1 & 1/2 bath, brick home! Sure, we had some repairs to do, but it was ours and we loved it!

We drove cars that were older and needing fixing up.women's ministry in East Texas

One year I drove a car that had no air conditioning and I remember having a baby in a car seat and two nieces that I drove to swimming lessons each day! We were sweating all the way there and back! How ironic that I actually miss those sweet days!

There was a time, shortly after that car died, that I was left with no car during the day. The funny thing was, I remember feeling such peace. Sometimes when life strips you of luxuries and you’re down to the bare necessities, you actually feel closer to the Lord and the natural side of life, if that makes sense.

During that same time of life, I remember barely having enough money.

When David would get paid, I would pay all the bills due, and whatever was left over was what we had for groceries, entertainment, or anything extra.

There were weeks when, after everything was paid, I would have $50.00 to last for 2 weeks.

I would go to the grocery store the first week and buy as much as I could with $25.00. It might be a pound or two of ground beef, and enough items to make several meals from that. I was so proud of myself for sticking to my $25 budget! That was quite an accomplishment!

Many times I would buy some cheap material and make myself a dress to wear to church.
Wow! I was quite the homemaker back then!

David eventually made more money and things weren’t so tight, but we also went through 2 layoffs in 3 years time, back then, and still managed to pay off debt and stay alive!

Somewhere during the following years, we made more, spent more and eventually our “way of life” increased (could have been those things called KIDS!).

I kind of hate that our old ways were replaced with a less-careful way of living.

I recognized over the years, that eating out became more accepted and expected. Paying for services became acceptable. Spending more on cars became more acceptable. And, buying things just becasue we wanted them, became more acceptable.

We really didn’t have to deprive ourselves of much anymore.

I consider that a blessing from God, but also a hindrance, at times.

Because, along with the abundance, we have lost our sense of urgency to save and live carefully, the way we used to.

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I must be getting “old” because when I look at my boys and think about them starting families of their own, I actually want them to know the simpler, more frugal times, to a certain extent.

I want them to experience the closeness that comes from spending your nights at home, with your wife, and not having loads of money to “go out”.

I want them to be content with second hand things and not always have to have “the best”.

I want them to work their way up to their “dream house” and live in a “fixer upper” at least once (actually they’ve grown up in one, so they know what it’s like).

I want them to learn the value of relying on the Lord for necessities and not on the paycheck, because paychecks will disappoint, but God won’t!

And, I want them to pay outright for what they want and to avoid debt like the plague that it is!

I remember those time with fondness, not regret.

They were sweet, uncomplicated, and made some of the best memories.

To quote that famous song:

“Maybe it’s time we get back – to the basics of life.”

Do YOU miss the simpler times?

 guest bloggers invitation

SetxChurchGuide.com Editor’s Note: Our nation is set up where you can spend any amount of money. Do you bring home a million dollars a year? You can buy a $300,000 car, take vacations in a $1500 a night suite, and spend $500 a night dining at the trendiest restaurants.

You can also live comfortably on very little- with planning and restraint.

There are reasonably priced cars that are known for getting over 200,000 miles with minimal maintenance (our SETX Church Guide vehicle is approaching 250,000 quickly).

With careful grocery shopping, a family of four can still eat well when cooking at home for $100 – $125 a week.

There’ve never been more resources for finding good looking well made clothes for a fraction of the full retail cost.

Southeast Texas Christians are like most people. Our comfort zone is somewhere in the middle. We know we don’t need a Ferrari but we hate to feel we’re depriving our kids of a good life and every opportunity to grow into a healthy, well educated, well rounded American.

For Southeast Texas Christians, we do have a few guidelines that help us. “Am I being a good steward?

This question can frequently help us make a better decision.

  • “Yes we should spend the money to go on this vacation, but let’s take a cooler in the car and make at least one meal a picnic”.
  • “Yes, we should find the money for private school tuition, but we will need to cut down on eating out to help make it work.”
  • “Yes you can quit your job to home school the kids, but we’ll have to make your car last at least two more years”.

Evaluating whether you’re being a good steward of your money can help you save significantly.

Southeast Texas Christians can also find peer groups that help keep them accountable – and that share their insights on how to live a “good” life without overspending.

  • Do you use the envelope system? Share your tips with a friend who has confided that she just can’t make a budget work.
  • If a friend compliments your outfit and you got it at a resale shop, don’t be shy to say so- you could help someone feel comfortable exploring this great resource for the first time.
  • Maybe you’d have just as much fun inviting some friends over for a barbecue as you would going out to eat.
  • Perhaps you’d like  inviting a couple from church over for dominoes rather than going to the movies.

Life will have many opportunities for you to choose balance over either the extremes of self deprivation or gross over indulgence.

Sometimes “enough” is just right.

Twelve times a year, any self consciousness you feel over driving an older vehicle can be more than made up for by the joy of not writing a car payment each month.

Choosing a house with three bedrooms rather than five can cut hours off of your house cleaning time!

If you see a fellow Southeast Texas Christian struggling with their finances, do whatever you can to share experiences that may help them find financial piece.

Financial struggles lead to depression, divorce, or can make a person work so many hours that they really aren’t able to be a fully participating spouse, parent, friend, or Southeast Texas church member.

Invitation to contribute: At SetxChurchGuide.com we’re working to bring examples of how other Southeast Texas Christians are finding balance in their lives. Does your Southeast Texas church have a ministry that could help others find financial balance and piece. We’d love to share the details with other Southeast Texas Christians.

E-mail the information any time to SetxChurchGuide@gmail.com .

If you would like to share your personal testimony on how you struggled with materialism and how you fought your way through we’d be honored to share your story with other Southeast Texas Christians. Together, we can help each other find balance as men, women, and in our walks with the Lord.

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We hope you enjoyed today’s article, Southeast Texas Financial Ministry – A Frugal Life by Debbie Slaughter.

A big SETX Church Guide thank-you to Debbie Slaughter, for sharing her Southeast Texas Christian blog.

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