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Living on Less and Enjoying More

I love the "better is" verses in Scripture. These verses have a way of putting things into proper perspective. God clearly shows us that less can be more: "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife." (Prov. 17:1)  

It really doesn't take a lot of money to comfortably exist, but we can talk ourselves into the mistaken notion that we need just one more thing. A modest income goes a long way in the hands of a prudent person. 

How can we make more out of less?

1. Ask yourself, "Do I need this?" If the answer is "no," postpone the purchase and pray about it. Maybe you'll decide that you don't want it at all. I have seven black skirts (a uniform staple). I saw another one while running errands recently, so I tried it on. It was sharp, but way overpriced for two side-seams and waistband. I told myself to "wait" because it wasn't a need. Besides, if that skirt makes it to the clearance racks, I'll like the price a whole lot more!

2. Will it improve your family's manner of living? When an item or goal is beneficial, it's worth saving up the money to purchase it. Start a fund called "New Bikes" or "Dishwasher," then begin adding money to it weekly or monthly. Keep at it, and you'll have the power that comes from purchasing with cash.

3. Is there another way to have good family fun? I used to love our homeschool field trips. Every autumn, we'd have our "Fall Leaf Walk" on the River Road in Minneapolis. Our children knew that it would include a trip to the doughnut shop on the way to River Road. Total cost of field trip: Under $5.00, even if someone got two items from the bakery (and that someone knows who he is).

4. Make a budget with that money. What money? The money called "income." A budget is a tool for bossing money around; not for bossing you around. If you routinely have "too much month at the end of the money," you're way overdue for a budget. My personal favorite is YNAB, and you can check it out here:

5. Reducing expenses is the same as earning a part-time income. I called the garbage company a few years ago and told them to stop the service, because I was going with a lower-priced competitor. The customer service rep said, "We'll match the price." I asked this question: "If you could have done it cheaper, why didn't you?" I went ahead and switched and saved $120 per year.

It's your turn: How are you living with less yet enjoying it more? Leave a comment below and expand our "idea bank."

"Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without right." (Prov. 16:8)


  1. From Kacie Jamison: I love being frugal! It's actually fun and the whole family gets a kick out of it! We do Boorito night at Chipotle. We dress up as anything and get $2 burritos. We dress up on cow appreciation day at Chick-Fil-A and get free meals for the whole family. We go to the zoo the week of fourth of July because my husband is a veteran and we all get in free. We eat out at Chilis because all four kids eat free with a coupon that comes out regularly! We've NEVER bought new furniture in over 11 yrs of I don't have to stress over things getting written on or broken. With four kids, it happens! :) And it's no secret, I love Goodwill and coupons!! lol

  2. Anonymous wrote the following: Thank you for your wonderful teachings! Currently we are struggling, as we had to shut down our business this year. We Praise the Lord for quickly giving my husband a new job, however we are trying to pay our regular bills along with the debt our business has left us and on a much lower income. we definitely have more month than money. And we have NO savings. Do you have any suggestions? The only things that are "unneeded" would be the dish network, however, we are under contract and would have to pay to get rid of it. We have lowered the cell phones giving us less minutes, but they too are under contract.
    Thank you

  3. KEEP THE HEART replies to Anonymous:
    It sounds like you have done all the subtracting that you can, so now look for ways to add. Is there anything around the house that you could sell? Even having a garage sale can potentially bring in dollars, while clearing the house of unneeded clutter. Take a look at ways to add more income from home, then start a savings account rather than increasing spending. Every household needs an umbrella for rainy days, even if it's a small one at first! Thanks for writing.
    Francie~Prov. 4:23

  4. From Micah Maddox: I recently read the following quote and love it, "The secret to having it all is realizing that you already do." That has really helped me in the contentment category. I love having nice things but I don't like paying for them. I've found in my life that the more I give away the more God gives to me (and usually what He gives is bigger, better, and more expensive than I would ever buy myself). When I do shop I only shop the clearance racks and already have in mind goal prices for things. Also I don't buy just because its cheap, I think through "Do I LOVE it? Do I NEED it?" Somehow the things I NEED and LOVE usually end up on my door step through an unexpected blessing. "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, GREAT is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me." wink thank you, Mrs. Francie for the good reminder. I read the Proverb yesterday and stopped at verse 1. Big lesson in there!

  5. I recently started meal planning for my family and was able to shrink our food budget to less than $50 a week (shopping at discount stores and buying store brands). This allows me to purchase only what I need for that week and not shop for extras and also keeps me from impulse buying as I browse the grocery store. :-) I also enjoy doing things like making my own laundry soap (end cost is less than a penny per load and it works just fine). I shop at goodwill and thrift stores when we need clothes and other items. And when I need a big item (right now I'm praying for a dresser) I start praying that God will provide one under a certain amount of money and patiently wait for it. I found one recently that was nice but more than I was praying for so I didn't get it. God promised to provide all my needs and He knows what I can afford. If I need it He will provide it. If He doesn't provide it I don't need it and He will provide ways to live without it. :-)

  6. Reiterating what Charity said about meal planning. Also making sure to use up your leftovers. We have a leftover meal smorgasbord one night or have leftovers for lunch. Cut back on cable or completely cut it out. Cut back on eating out and when you do - drink water, share plates (who needs all that food anyway),etc. Cook more homemade foods instead of buying processed. Your wallet and waistline will thank you!

  7. That's a very positive way to look at things Charity.

  8. Not really another idea. Great ones posted here already and in the blog itself. I just want to "rise up and call her blessed" (that would be my mom). She is a Missionary wife, and I remember being in my teens and scrunching down in my seat so no one would see me at a yard sale, but my mom always went to yard sales and thrift stores, and she finally convinced me that it was like a treasure hunt. Funny, it was about the time that I started earning my own money and having to pay for my own clothes and such! LOL! Anyway, I have been married 22 years and have never had to work outside the home because my mom taught us to save and to be thrifty. My husband has been very happy about that, and our children as well. Praising God for a wonderful mom who taught me well.


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