Saturday, March 25, 2017

Frozen Assets

It started with a notice from my apartment complex about my lease expiring at the end of April. As happens yearly, I was offered a new lease with an increase in my monthly rent. But, if willing to pay fifteen more dollars per month on top of the increase, I would be the recipient of the following:
new carpet
new floor in kitchen and bathroom

new dishwasher
new refrigerator
new stove
new hood/vent for stove

A quick mental calculation added up to all that new stuff for only $180 over the coming year. The next quick mental calculation centered around how to save the $180 to justify the added expense. It turned out to be simple. First, I won't buy any clothes or shoes over the next twelve months, excluding white socks and underwear and precluding any generous gift cards to Jos A Bank. The second part is a mental pledge not to eat out during the coming year. Between the two commitments, I think I can do it!

The wardrobe part is easy; my job doesn't wear out dress clothes and I have enough jeans/t-shirts/workout gear for the rest of my needs. I've never eaten out much but giving that up will be more difficult. Typically, I go out for dinner due to time constraints, particularly during basketball season. I simply don't have the time or the energy to make something to eat. My estimation is that each foray into Taco Cabana or WHATABURGER costs me six dollars more than dining in my apartment. I think I probably ate out twenty or more times the past calendar year so a minimum of $120 can be moved over into the rent department just on that switch. But to keep me from eating out, I have to have an option. It's pictured at the top of this page. 
Last week was Spring Break so I put my new plan into action. For four straight days, I made a different crock pot and froze the contents of each. (If you are interested, the four recipes were chicken cacciatore, vegetable stew, chicken stroganoff, and pot roast.) By Sunday evening, the freezer above my soon to be replaced refrigerator held twenty plastic containers full of almost gourmet meals waiting to be unthawed in the microwave. So, I have no excuse, at least for the time being, of spending my hard earned cash at fast food establishments. Let the savings roll in!

I've always been frugal. There is part of me that likes the challenge of saving money to be a good steward and part that likes it for no apparent reason. So many of the stories of Jesus deal with our relationship to money, like the one with the guy we call the rich young ruler. A number of Jesus' parables center around the way we use our assets; The Shrewd Manager, Lazarus and the Rich Man, The Sheep and Goats. Interestingly, there is food involved in all three of those parables as well. My parents were big on teaching the value of both food and money to their five kids. Nothing was ever wasted. We never ate out growing up and we never went hungry. No food was ever thrown away, resulting in a multitude of Cool Whip containers being stacked inside the family refrigerator- no way the folks would buy Tupperware when they could simply recycle what they had. Satan tempted the Savior with the thought of food; Jesus replied from Deuteronomy with the bread alone scripture. Food is a blessing those who have it, a dream to those who lack it, and maybe for me, an avenue to wisely use what the Lord has given me. We don't always have to get the most expensive thing on the menu.... but I am going to be forced to eat my own cooking, but at least I'll be eating in a nicer apartment!

Applicable quote of the day:
“The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.” T.T. Munger

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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