Friday, March 29, 2013

Money-Saving Tips for Healthy Shopping

Eating healthy can be expensive, can't it? But how can we eat in a way that glorifies God and be good stewards of our money at the same time? This is a rather difficult question to answer, but God has shown me some wonderful tips through my experience of healthy eating that I will attempt to share with you below.*

~ Create a menu for the week and make your grocery list based off your menu. This helps you buy only what you need and keeps you from over-spending.

~ When an item you use regularly is on sale, stock up. For example, when my local health food store puts almond milk on sale, I always buy several to tide me over until the next sale.

~ Buy the least expensive brand of the products you normally buy. For example, I try to buy most of my organic canned goods, rice, oils, milk, and other things in the store brand (e.g., Whole Foods or Publix) instead of name brand.

~ Buy nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and grains in the bulk section of your local health food market and store in your freezer or in air-tight containers. Buying these types of foods in bulk is usually much less expensive than buying in individual packages.

~ If you are on a very tight budget, focus on buying the "dirty dozen" produce organically and the rest non-organically. Click here to find out what the "dirty dozen" are.

~ Buy toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, frozen fruit, etc., in bulk. My family has a membership at Costco where we save hundreds of dollars buying these products in large quantities. Costco also has a wide variety of organic products to choose from.

~ Above all, never buy what you do not need. I have learned the hard way over time that money slips so easily through my fingertips when I buy unneeded products that look so good, or I think I "need" them. Ask yourself these questions before buying a product. "How much will I use this item?" "Is this worth the money I would spend on it?" "Is this item truly a need?" "Would God want me to spend the money on this item?" These questions, if taken seriously, will stop reckless spending in its tracks.

Above all, our goal is to glorify God with our money. "So whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17)

  *As a wonderful resource for helping you spend your money wisely, I would recommend Dave Ramsey's envelope system wallet. This wallet helps you keep track of every penny you spend.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Kingdom of God and the Role of His Daughters

  This week one of my Sunday School teachers said something that really got me thinking. She said, "What picture comes to mind when you think of the Kingdom of God?" Well, what do you see? I see a group of people, all vastly different and yet one in the same. We are the same because we are linked together by a love for Jesus and a desire to bring His Good News unto the world. Although we aren't perfect, God fills in our gaps, and thanks to Him we can do our own unique jobs to further His Kingdom in our temporary home. Well, thinking about this group where we are all connected and each serves their own purpose, I had another pondering that was really a revelation to me. For the first time in my life, I thought long and hard about our role as women in His Kingdom. And believe it or not, after much prayer and Scripture-reading, I found that our standard job is a lot different than that of our Brothers in Christ.

  For those of you who have read the 23rd and 31st chapters of Proverbs, we know that women are a majestic part of creation as a helper to their husbands and a protector of their children. It saddens me to see so many young girls trying to "change their image" in an attempt to be more like their male counterparts. They think that men are somehow more important than women just because God made men the protectors of the human race and the leaders of many aspects of society. It frustrates them to read in God's Word that "a woman is to be submissive to her husband." Little do they realize that this "softer nature" that God instilled in them is a blessing and not a curse. A gentle spirit is known to be much more persuasive than a harsh one, is it not? So if a woman recognizes the true potential of her role in the Kingdom, she can use it to win others to Christ and to care for His people. Although it may seem that our job description is a little more behind the scenes than that of a male leader, our ability to witness is really just as effective. Because the joy in the heart of a loving servant of the Lord can spread like wildfire and increase the Kingdom in more ways than you would think.

So if someone asks you about the Kingdom of God, don't just tell them about what it will be when we're in heaven. Tell them of the extension of the Kingdom here on earth that is growing every day and the strong, beautiful, confident women that contribute to it. Because, whether you realize it or not, you're one of them. So if you're feeling unimportant, take heart. You're a Daughter of the King, and with His help, you can make diciples for Him until Kingdom Come.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spend or Save?

Good quality items can last for YEARS. A designer brand doesn't always mean just a high price and a "touty" title -- many times it means a quality product of natural fibers that last.

Below is a list of items that I would spend more money on for the quality, and a list of items that I would choose to spend less for seasonal trends.

Example: I will pool my funds to purchase a pair of classic black leather pumps from Nine West, but I will save my money by buying LOW priced trendy sandals. Each must be comfortable, but one will last only a season; the other will last for years if they're taken care of properly.

Spend More ---------------------------------------- Save More

Black Dress ----------------------------------------- Bright Spring Dress

Watch ------------------------------------------------------- Sunglasses

Classic Pumps ------------------- Flip Flops, trendy Flats and Sandals 

Blouse (neutral color, cream, white, black) -------------- Stylish Tee

Trouser Jeans ---------------------------------------------------- Purse

Swimsuit ------------------------------------------------- Beach bags

Now just because you are spending, this doesn't mean you can't find a great deal. Look for sales and check out the thrift store for items. Often you can find quality for low prices and then you can save and save!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Where did the money go?

You've got your eye on that dress. It's a little overpriced, but you deserve it, right? But you love those shoes with it, so you'll need a pair as well. 

Lunch out with a friend and dinner out with the family.

You have a fetish for fabric so you pick up a couple of yards of new prints for some unknown projects.

Your library card has fines to be paid.

Your checking is overdrawn.

Your mom's birthday is this week.

You bought new songs on iTunes.

Gas, Gas, Gas.

Etc., Etc., Etc.

And you wonder....................... where did the money go?

Money is just a fancy barter system, but it can be hard to manage. (I'll be the first to admit this.) So here is my question: Are you a spender? Does a dollar burn in your pocket till it's gone?

Being a spender in this day often means overspending and ending up in debt. BAD IDEA!

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

If your money is running amok, then take control. Stop the spending, then determine what is a need versus a want.

Stay away from sales ads, magazines, and shops. Use only cash and halt the spending for a while -- then gradually save for a dinner with friends, or a movie with your siblings, using only cash.

You CAN learn to be wise.

GIVE to the Lord (10% tithe is the starting point; extra as an offering).
SAVE for the future (at least 3 months' living expenses and for any goals like a car).
SPEND (on living, investing, and pleasure).

P.S. Have you ever had a mannequin lie to you? ;)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Money-Saving Tips for Eating Out

Eating out is always fun, whether it be for a special occasion or  grabbing lunch with friends. However, eating out and eating healthy at the same time can quickly get expensive. Below are some tips to follow the next time you eat out!

- Always order water to drink. Water is free and the best drink option for your health.
- Use coupons, when available. Clip and save coupons for your favorite restaurants from the local newspaper or online.
- Order a cup of healthy soup and a side salad for your meal. This is usually a less expensive option than ordering an entree and is much better for you.
- Limit the times that you eat out. The less you go out to eat, the more money you save and the healthier you can eat!

Remember to glorify God in all that you do, even in the "small" areas of eating out and eating healthy.

"A penny saved is a penny earned." 
Benjamin Franklin


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

F.S. ~ QnA: Posture

Q. What is the proper posture one should have when sitting, standing, walking, etc.?

A. An excellent topic! Posture is a very important part of appearance. A slouchy posture affects your appearance in a negative way, and pretty posture enhances beauty exponentially!

When sitting, your posture should be such that you are sitting directly on top of your "sitting bones." Your shoulders should be back but relaxed, and your ears should be directly over your shoulders. Avoid any arch in your back; your legs and back should be at a ninety degree angle.

Slide down into your seat gracefully. Depending on the length of your skirt, you can cross your legs at the ankles or cross your legs at the knees. Shorter skirts make it absolutely forbidden for you to cross your legs at the knees, and it is generally considered more proper to cross your legs at the ankles, no matter your skirt length. You can also leave your feet flat on the floor and together, either side by side or one sightly in front of the other. Your hands should be in your lap and possibly to one side rather than in the middle.

When standing, your posture should still be tall and upright. Pin your shoulders back and move your head back so that your ears are over your shoulders. Hold your stomach in, and tuck your hips under as you walk. Take smaller steps and keep your feet under you and close together. This will help avoid a boyish gait and make you appear polished and poised.

As you practice good posture, be confident, wear a smile on your face, and remember that beauty comes from the Lord! Your inner beauty will shine forth as you endeavor to hold high the character and appearance that God has blessed you with!

The Q & A is still open! Leave your question(s) as a comment to this post or e-mail it to:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Shopping Picks

I like buying new clothes, but I don't like new clothes' prices. There is a way to shop to find designer brands, yet sometimes pay less than half the price!

Here are the top places I shop to find beautiful clothing, for a little bit of cash:

These stores are mainstream chains that you will need to visit in person, but they offer unique clothing at reasonable prices. You still will need to set a spending plan and keep to it! Though dresses may cost only a third of the price of what you'll find in designer clothing shops, you don't have to buy three dresses. :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Repost: Thrifty Shopping

This post is from Thrifty Shopping.

Let's face it, even if we do find clothing that is becoming to our forms, is modest, and expresses our personalities, the most disappointing factor can be the price tag!!!

Clothing prices are as open and varying as art prices. Many clothing brands and designers designate the price using the value of the name on the tag, not the true worth of the clothing. It is true that clothing made from natural fibers has a longer life than synthetic clothing, but many times what seems real can be fake. (That is a truth within a truth.)

I enjoy shopping, but my bank account does not. I have to exercise a lot of self-control! The secret to looking polished and spending very little money is taking advantage of sales, consignment, and thrift. These shopping avenues take a bit more digging and patience, but I like to think of it as treasure hunting! I have found many jewels in thrift stores!

Here are some tips I keep in mind when I shop:
  1. Have a spending plan before I shop.
  2. Don't allow myself to become overwhelmed by disorganization. 
  3. I find consignment and thrift stores that offer quality clothing.
  4. Remind myself to never feel defeated when I walk out of a store empty-handed. Clothing at these type stores change every week, so I'll just check back another time.
  5. When going through a rack of clothing, if an item doesn't catch my eye, then I pass it quickly. I start from one end of the rack and go as fast as I can.
  6. It's great if the consignment or thrift store has a dressing room, but not always necessary if the store has a good return policy.
  7. Brand names on clothing are important to view.
  8. I check to see if the garment looks old, e.g., holes, fraying, missing buttons, zipper problems, faded color.
  9. Remind myself to not be tempted to over-buy because of the great deals. Keep to the budget!
  10. I search for clothing that is up-to-date, not necessarily trendy -- clothing that is classic and fresh.
Happy Shopping and Treasure Hunting!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time and Passion, Please

Another hour has passed and your schoolwork isn't done and the pile of chores you know needs done still looms over you like a gray cloud. Instead of being productive, you feel yourself in a tale spin of social media, Internet surfing, game playing, and time-consuming little projects. At the end of the day, what have you accomplished other than witty memes, and "liking" a thousand things?

Time is one of the most precious gifts we are given. And just as with money, we need to learn how to give, spend, and save it. You may not have any money in your life right now, but you do have time that needs managing. So how are you investing your time? Is it in a job? Bad friendships? Helping others?

Look at your time in the perspective of eternity! Our time on earth is very short -- 80 or 100 years max. What we do with our time here will follow us through eternity. So when we stand before God, what shall we say? I had the best pinterest account ever or I knitted 100 scarves?

Now, am I implying that you leave everything you have and go live in Africa? No. I'm saying use your gifting, find your passion, use it to the glory of Christ.

It's just that simple and it's just that hard.

If you knit, then find a group of people who would benefit from your skills, like a pregnancy crisis center. Then make an impact on the Kingdom to come by knitting for unborn babies.

Get creative! Ask for passion from the Lord! Learn what Jeremiah is speaking of when he said there was fire in his bones. Get started on the road God has mapped out for you and your special calling -- be it singing, writing, teaching, or working on cars. As you go through your day, you may start out with passion and drive, but remember this verse:

So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.
Romans 7:21

Evil will come against you and you will be tempted. Facebook will call you back for hours of scrolling a newsfeed. Your favorite show will have a marathon beckoning you to sit and forget the tasks you need to accomplish. Spend your time wisely! Give to others, spend it productively, and save some time for relaxation and relationships.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Upcycle of the Week

Many of us have old broken jewelry laying around the house, so put it to use! Here are a few ideas on how to make your broken pieces into treasure once more!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Defining Success: Part Two

     As you may have read, my last post was about the true meaning of success. Well, last week, just as I was having a rough day and wasn't feeling all that successful, a song came on the radio that changed my mood around. It's called "Don't Have Love" by Holly Starr, and it's all about how if you don't live in God's love, then it doesn't matter how much fame you have, or if you've got the best of everything. You can have everything you've ever wanted and be the most successful person around, but if He's not in it, then in the long run it doesn't really count. So I'm going to share this song with you and you can share it with others. Because everyone needs God's love.

Don't Have Love
by: Holly Starr

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Money Love

Have you ever heard the saying, "Money is the root of all evil"? Well, I want to tell you a truth. This statement is incorrect. This is the real statement.

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils."
1 Timothy 6:10

Money is not evil, but the love of it is, because loving wealth oftentimes leads us far away from loving Christ.
"He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity."
Ecclesiastes 5:10

So how do you know if you love it? 
Answer honestly.

1. Do you view money as yours and it's 
only your business in the way you use it?
2. When you get extra money, 
do you already know what you are spending it on?
3. Are you saving for your comfortable, cushy retirement?
4. Is giving a tithe to your church optional?
5. When you give, do you expect blessings?
6. Do you think money is important?

If you answered yes to Numbers 1 through 5, then you might be in love with the stuff. Number 6 was a trick question -- if you answered yes, then you are correct. Money is VERY important. I recently was under the teaching of Dr. Michael Oh, and he put it very precisely. He believes the church doesn't stress the importance of money enough. As he so well put, money is the blood that flows through the body of Christ. And just as when blood doesn't flow through a body, the body dies.

Now does God need our money to do His good work? Absolutely not, but why would we want to miss out on being part of His work? The first step in not being a lover of money is realizing that money, no matter how large or small the amount, does not belong to us. We are just managers or stewards of what God charges to us.

So our first question is debunked. It's not your money, not your business in how you use it.

"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace..."
1 Peter 4:10

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Upcycle of the Week

Instead of spending for the Buy of the Week, what about turning something ordinary around the house into a new free style? It's call upcycling and it's becoming very popular. This week take a look at this project!

Beach Bag

Beach bags are super to have around, not only for the beach, but for shopping days at your local market. Everyone has old plastic bags around the house, and with a little knowledge of how to crochet, you can turn those old bags into a new large tote. Below is how you can create the "yarn" from your plastic bags.

Happy crocheting!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

F.S. ~ Review and Q&A

It has been quite a while since we have glanced back for a Finishing School Review. Before we proceed any further, it is time to look back at autumn and winter.

In October we had Tips on Punctuality. Remember that it is important to show courtesy in being on time, not too late and not too early!

We also looked at a video from Emily Post on proper table manners. When in doubt, watch the hostess!

In November, soup was on! Be sure to remember that the proper way to eat soup is to push the spoon away from you, never slurp, and do not blow on your soup.

Later in November, we had hot tea. Just as with soup, it is not polite to blow or slurp your tea.

1. Get their wish list.
2. Trust your judgment.
3. Stick to your budget.
4. Buy it when you see it.
5. Start a gift closet.

Later in December was the importance of a mending kit. Sooner or later, you will be grateful for it!

Here are the basics:
1. Don't forget to give your name.
2. Be careful of the tone of your voice.
3. Focus on your call.
4. Speak clearly and not too fast.
5. Have respect.

Then began the Wedding series...
How to be a wonderful bridesmaid followed by how to be a wonderful wedding guest. Finally, the wedding attire chart.

Do you have an etiquette question? Send your question to or leave it in a comment to this post. I will choose several questions to answer in the next few posts!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Money Saving March

Money makes the world go around. Or so it's been said...

So let's talk about spending, saving, and giving the green stuff this month. How a girl can spend wisely. How to shop savvy for clothing. Finding the difference between need and want. And the importance of biblical giving! We can't wait to see what the Lord will do!

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the Sundee Best Challenge!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Everyday Style ~ Spring Fever

I love a good pattern combination. Mixing two of the following -- stripes, dots, ginghams, or florals -- will always give your outfit a fun flair!

This time of year is definitely difficult as we go from a winter wardrobe to a spring one. Having a slightly springy look of pastel colors, paired with a fuzzier cobalt blue sweater, works really well as a blend.

This outfit has a most assuredly preppy flair with the gingham blouse, boyfriend cardigan, pencil skirt, and pearls. I hope it inspires you to try mixing some patterns of your own! 

I have spring fever. Don't you?!?!?!