Diana Kerr »

One of the biggest misconceptions about money is that in order to have more of it, we have to sacrifice what we love and live a lower quality of life.

I.e.:

  • Saying no to dinners out with friends
  • Eating all your food out of cans
  • Clipping coupons like a boss till TLC calls you to feature you on TV because you’re such an extreme couponer

To this I say: NOT TRUE.

Good news! It doesn’t always have to be that way. There are a lot of ways to keep more money in your pocket if you’re creative.

As Christians, this matters. Our money isn’t actually ours—it’s God’s. We want to manage it well. The less money we spend needlessly, the more money we have to make an impact. (And avoid icky debt!)

Related post: The debt story that won us $2,000

Here are five creative ways to hang on to more of your own money, and they’re not sacrificial financial habits. These are actually non-financial habits that will indirectly save you money:

PinIT1. Getting up in the morning without hitting snooze

If you get up right when your alarm goes off, you’ll have more time in the morning. Duh, of course, but have you thought about what that extra time could do for you? An extra 10-20 minutes has endless possibilities, such as:

  • Making your own breakfast, coffee, or lunch (a habit that will not only make you healthier but save you some moolah on convenience food or beverages throughout your work day)
  • Throwing some food in the crockpot so you don’t end up getting take-out later

(This magical alarm clock has totally changed the way I wake up in the morning, by the way. Who knew this was a thing?!)

2. Taking action on mail as soon as you open it

Get into the habit of acting on mail as soon as you open it. Allow yourself 10 minutes to deal with the mail when you first take it out of the mailbox, or set it aside to open later in the day if you have to. The goal is to touch everything only once if possible. Make decisions, take action, move on.

My goal is to pay any bills (and the occasional parking ticket, ugh) right away so I don’t forget to pay them and also save money on potential late fees. You may also notice an error on something you receive, but thankfully you’ll have plenty of time to deal with it thanks to your great habit of taking action on your mail right away.

We learned this lesson the hard way with a $1900 medical bill, a painful story with this moral: We would have saved money had we looked into the charges sooner because we would have stopped using that pediatrician who was actually out of network!

Here’s another idea—something I do myself: As soon as you get an invitation for an event that requires a present, buy that present right away or at least put it on your shopping list. If I get a wedding or baby shower invite, I immediately go on that person’s online registry and buy a gift to be shipped to my house. It’s not only super convenient and saves me time/money to go to the store to buy something, but I’m also less likely to buy other things while shopping online for that gift versus in-store. Plus, if you check out the registry before it gets picked-over, you can filter the items by price and have your choice of plenty of gifts within your desired price range. (I always try to buy a gift that’s on sale if that’s an option so I can get as nice of a gift as possible for my budget.)

By the way, if you are a couponer, dealing with your mail right away might also mean that you come across valuable coupons you can use before they expire.

3. Getting good sleep at night

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve all read the scientific studies that show that sleep is good for you in countless ways. We know this. Have you ever thought about the fact that the sleep hours you bank each night are actually helping you bank more money?

Many of the ways that sleep is good for you will also save you money. More sleep means being sick less often, which means you’ll save money on doctor’s visits, medication or vitamins, and missed days from work. More sleep also means you’re more likely to make better choices and be less hungry, which translates to less impulse buys and overeating on junk food. (We’ve all done it.)

As a Christian life coach who helps women minimize overwhelm and focus on what matters most, I am all about simple health improvements, and this is one of those.

Getting more and better sleep doesn’t require you to drop tons of money on a specialist or that you do a bunch of research, so why not prioritize it? I personally aim to do my best to take care of my health in the simple, free ways (sleep, moving my body, drinking water, etc.) so I can keep the amount of money I’m spending on more costly health improvements more minimal.

Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on medication or supplements when something as simple as sleep could have prevented some of that spending? Let’s not choose the lazy, expensive way out!

4. Shutting down the kitchen and ending snacking at least an hour before bed

I know, it seems strange to watch Netflix without a bag of chips in your hand, but if you’re able to get into a habit of turning off the lights in the kitchen and ending your snacking for the night by a certain time on weeknights, you won’t just see the results next time you go jeans shopping.

Think about how much money you spend on junk food late at night when you’re not actually very hungry. Wouldn’t it be great to have all that money in your pocket instead?

Note: You might need to buy smaller jeans but bigger pockets. (Sorry, that was super cheesy, but I couldn’t resist.)

5. Being present when you’re out in public (as in, not on your phone)

Shopping or eating out without your phone out constantly isn’t just a good habit so you can enjoy your surroundings and the people you’re with.

It can save you money, too.

It’s hard to know how many times you’ve paid more for something than you should have because you weren’t paying attention.

Put your phone away when you’re checking out at Target or when the check comes at a restaurant and you might pick up on some errors that would have resulted in being overcharged.

There’s the list—5 good non-financial habits that save you money, too. The power of habits has gotten a lot of buzz lately for a reason (there’s even a best-selling book called The Power of Habit if you’re especially interested in this subject). As you think about all the types of habits you could try to work on and cement as a routine in your life, why not consider habits that will serve you in multiple areas?

What are your ideas for habits that save you money? And what would you do with the extra money you save?

Want to change a bad habit? Watch my recent Facebook Live to learn how and follow along on Facebook for more videos to help you live an intentional life!

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  • September 9, 2017 - 2:00 pm

    Candace Bright - Super duper insightful stuff, each one of these is so helpful to think about! And honestly, I should totally want to do things for their own benefits (going to bed on time? totally worth it as it’s own discipline!), but sometime the extra nudge of, “yeah, and if I don’t do this I may lose money too! ” is the added incentive I need to try to be consistent at something!ReplyCancel

I would say I’m in a pretty similar place this month as I was last month, so if you haven’t read my August life updates, check those out here!

First, here were my August PowerSheets goals!

1. Complete Content that Connects course

2. Refresh content strategy + implementation plan

3. Plan out the details for an incredible launch of the next class of my group coaching program, Bold, Intentional Life 

Decided to postpone the next launch to an undetermined date. :) 

4. Complete The Curated Closet process

5. Transition Harrington to going to bed at 8

6. Figure out the basics of starting to feed Harrington solid foods

He had pureed organic grass-fed beef liver as his first food and loved it. SO thankful for my dear friend Dr. Meghan and her advice

7. Test God in my time spent with him

Definitely room for more progress here–I am adding this to September’s goals as well.

Weekly goals:

Goal: Do each of these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Spend 30+ minutes processing papers and organizing files

2. Do one email list-building activity

3. Have fun loving on someone 

4. Savor a true Sunday Sabbath

5. Keep calories to <2,400/day

6. Share valuable content on Facebook Live

Daily goals:

1. Pray on my knees Goal: 20 days // Actual: 19

2. Pray Samuel’s prayer Goal: 20 days // Actual: 21

Based on 1 Samuel 3:10 (I got the idea from this book!)

3. Exercise (non-walking) Goal: 10 days // Actual: 11

4. Open the texting app on my phone <18 times Goal: 20 days // Actual: 25

5. Put phone on airplane mode and be done with phone/computer by 8 pm Goal: 15 days // Actual: 16

6. Practice gratitude Goal: 15 days // Actual: 21

7. Track food in FitBit Goal: 20 days // Actual: 20

Books I finished:

These and all other affiliate links in this post support our Giving Back initiative

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe

Now, here are my September goals!

SEPTEMBER GOALS

I use the PowerSheets intentional goal-planner to set and track these goals!

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1. Test God in time with him

2. Enter tags for Divine Consign sale

3. Prepare for intentional, God-focused business + family photos with my Making Things Happen friend, Nicolette

4. Love through listening

5. Dig into You and Me Forever and the action steps

6. Set up a system for content upgrades to replicate

This goal means more valuable freebies like this one will be headed your way, but only if you’re on my email list!

7. Resolve QuickBooks issues and develop a system to stay on top of it better going forward

Weekly goals:

Goal: Do each of these at least 3/4 weeks

1. Savor a Sunday Funday Sabbath

2. Exercise at least 2 times (Other than walking)

3. Process papers and files 30+ minutes

4. Keep calories to <16,450/week (2,350/day)

Daily goals:

1. Pray on the ground | Goal: 20 days

2. Track food in FitBit | Goal: 22 days

3. Open the texting app on my phone <16 times | Goal: 20 days

4. Grow in faith with Kyle | Goal: 15 days

5. Practice gratitude focused on God, not my circumstances | Goal: 20 days

6. Avoid phone or computer use after 8 pm | Goal: 20 days

7. Lights out by 10 pm | Goal: 12 days

Share your goals with me in the comments or link to your goals post if you blogged them!

Join my email family for email-only tips and encouragement (all with a focus on Jesus) to help you live a #boldintentionallife!

 

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  • September 5, 2017 - 4:59 pm

    Kelsey kuske - I loveeee your goals! I recently started actually typing out my goals so that I am accountable thanks to your posts/emails/encouragements! It makes such a difference! I also love all the book ideas you share in your monthly goal updates! One of my goals is to read more so that is super helpful! I always look forward to your blog posts coming out! It makes my day when I get to read one :)ReplyCancel

This post originally appeared on the Time of Grace blog.

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“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” How many times has someone comforted you with that statement?

It’s a nice thought, and people who say that mean well, but can it be real?

I’m not buying it.

I’m no pastor or anything, but I can’t think of a Bible passage that supports that.

Hello, this whole life is more than I can handle! I need God desperately each and every day.

I never needed God more in my entire life than on a certain day the week after I graduated from high school. I woke up that sunny June morning and could barely move.

Rheumatoid arthritis had literally crippled me overnight.

In the years and days leading up to that day, I had experienced undiagnosed knee pain and some random joint issues here and there, but within one night’s sleep my entire body flared up.

It was way, way more than I could handle. 

Related post: When fighting gets so, so exhausting

As long as I live, I will not forget the specific moment when I sat and waited in a patient room at Children’s Hospital a few days after my diagnosis. It was June 13, the day before my 18th birthday, the last official day of my childhood. I was in severe physical pain, but the emotional pain was just as great as I realized I was trapped, living in a crippled, elderly woman’s body.

That summer I needed my family members’ help with a million basic things just to get by—getting dressed, squeezing toothpaste out of a tube, doing my hair. I barely ever slept because I tossed and turned all night in pain. The beginning of my freshman year of college quickly approached while my mom kept begging our insurance company to approve the heavy-duty shots of medication that were my only hope of being able to move away to college and exist without someone’s help.

Just thinking about those months right now is making my computer screen blurry through my tears. Those were the hardest months of my entire life.

When I think about them, the “God won’t give you more than you can handle” philosophy feels like a big fat lie. At the time, I believed that statement was true, and I remember praying, “God, if you think I can handle this, you’re giving me way too much credit. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’m not strong enough.”

Bingo.

I’m not strong enough.

You’re not strong enough either.

None of us are. Each day brings more than we can handle with our own strength.

Arthritis has taught me how weak and needy I am, and I’m totally down with that truth. Everyone could benefit from something that makes them fall on their knees and desperately depend on God for strength.

The realizations that I’m not strong enough on my own and that I absolutely need to depend on God have been just about the most precious gifts he has given me, aside from my salvation.

So you won’t hear me tell you that God won’t give you more than you can handle. I will tell you this: “God won’t give you more than you and he can’t handle together.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be days or seasons of intense pain or stress or suffering; in fact, you can count on all those things.

It will feel like more than you can handle. 

But, dear friend, you’re not handling it alone. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Feeling overwhelmed with life? Download my free workbook about time for Christian women and uncover some much-needed freedom.

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  • August 24, 2017 - 9:04 am

    Karen S. - The real key here is that God is the unmentioned help anytime we think of that concept as a Christian. As a matter of fact, even if we are doing something very simple and easy, God is still with us and by our side. As far as the more challenging situations in life, I remember a saying that my mother-in-law had up on her wall as she endured ovarian cancer till her life’s end and it read, “God, I know that you won’t give me anything today that you and I can’t handle together”. ‘Nuff said… HE is our ever-present help in trouble… and actually at ALL times.ReplyCancel

    • September 8, 2017 - 12:31 pm

      Madeleine C. - Karen,
      I’m sorry about your mother-in-law passing. I love the saying she had on her wall “God I know that You won’t give me anything today that You and I can’t handle together.” I just found that out for myself last week. I thought I was alone but found out that I’m never alone. God is always there 24/7 guiding me along our journey together. Thank you for sharing those wonderful words that gives HOPE even through trouble times. God Bless You!ReplyCancel

This post originally appeared on the Time of Grace blog.

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Moms, let’s all admit that we’re good at the busy mom martyrdom game. We love to play the victim of our circumstances.

I suggest you avoid asking me about our family’s schedule anywhere between May through September each year, because I will likely whine/subtly brag about how we have 12 weddings to attend and how nearly every weekend is booked and how I have soooo little time for myself or my own little family. If I’m honest, there is sin—both pride and discontent—woven into my feelings.

Moms, I’m calling you out, myself included.

Let’s stop making excuses, playing victim, and believing half-truths about our busyness.

Let’s take accountability for the fact that we are not helpless.

Here are a few time management myths I want to shatter for you:

Time management myth #1: I can do it faster myself. 

When you’re in the habit of rushing, it seems necessary to do everything yourself. If you let your preschooler put her shoes on herself, it will take an extra four minutes, and you’re already running late. If you ask your husband to help out with dinner, it’ll take you time anyway because you’ll have to answer his questions about it. Why not just do it yourself?

For a one-time situation, this might make sense. However, for things you do over and over (which, as a mom, is a lot of stuff—anyone else feel like they’re living in that 90s movie Groundhog Day?), it makes sense to let others help.

Hear me: You’re probably going to have to invest some time up front to teach your family how to do things, or allow for things to go a bit more slowly, but the less you personally have to be involved in to keep your home running and your children alive, the better! Let’s be honest—you’ll still be needed and not even close to replaceable. (As in, your puking kid will still choose to wake you in the middle of the night, not your husband.)

Time management myth #2: Saying no to an outside obligation means I’m letting people down. 

I’ve coached tons of incredible women in my life-coaching business who are major self-admitted people pleasers. This isn’t necessarily horrible—God made women to care about others and relationships. It’s why we slave over a homemade birthday gift for someone instead of just buying a case of beer like a man would do.

Part of our problem is believing the myth that we’re letting people down when we say no.

In fact, you’re letting people down when you say yes.

Whoa, paradigm shift.

What do I mean?

When you say yes to that extra project at work, that seventh volunteer commitment at church, etc., you’re saying no to other things, and particularly to the people who matter most to you—your own immediate family. 

Related post: People-pleasing doesn’t make you a good Christian

Time management myth #3: My days should be balanced. 

Women strive for balance because, ultimately, they want to feel better about their lives. Unfortunately, striving for balance often just makes us feel more stressed out and like more of a failure!

Most of your days and weeks won’t be balanced, so give it up, friend.

Now exhale deeply at how good it feels to have that burden lifted off your shoulders.

If you singled out any one day in my life or even a week, it would probably look off-balance. You might see that I spent 11 hours working (Tuesdays) or that I barely did anything productive at all (Sabbath Sundays). By definition, that’s unbalanced.

Let’s focus instead on the large, overarching picture of our lives, because in every day, week, and even season, we will probably be off-balance in some way. 

What does this do? Like I said, it removes some of that heavy pressure you’ve been carrying. For example, you can stop deeming yourself a failure if you don’t cram every important thing into each 24-hour period: exercise, quality time with your husband and kids, an hour of quiet time with the Lord, a full workday, 8 hours of sleep, interaction with friends, cleaning, and time to cook a homemade meal. (Oh, and the bento boxes for your kids’ lunches. Definitely need to make those Disney-shaped sandwiches you saw on Pinterest.)

Busy moms, some parting words: Loosen your grip. Allow yourself to receive help, to say no, or to not be perfect. Try it in small doses, and you’ll see that the world doesn’t fall apart. Also, I want you to know that you are doing an amazing job. God is working through you, both your strengths and your imperfections. Give him and give yourself a little more credit.

Like this post? Dig deeper into this topic and learn 3 ADDITIONAL lies about time by downloading my free workbook—3 Lies about Time Christian Women Tell Themselves & 3 Truths That Will Set You Free

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This post originally appeared on the Time of Grace blog.

If God has made you his own and the Holy Spirit has worked faith in your heart, it makes sense that that reality would change how you treat other people.

After all, the Bible instructs us as the children of God: “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (Ephesians 5:1,2 NLT).

I’m concerned about the number of Christians who confuse this kind of love with people-pleasing.

Yes, the Bible does talk a lot about loving others. And to follow Jesus’ example is no small task. For goodness’ sake, the man was perfectly innocent, and yet he willingly died because he loved even his enemies enough to give up his life. Whoa.

Jesus definitely sacrificed himself, his needs, and his agenda a number of times throughout his ministry, but when you look at him as a whole, he wasn’t a people-pleaser. 

He didn’t say yes to everything.

He didn’t meet everyone’s needs.

He prioritized quiet time alone.

He didn’t care about everyone liking him.

Jesus was the ultimate, ultimate picture of love, but love is different than people-pleasing.

What other lies are you believing that hold you back? Click here for a FREE workbook specifically about the lies we Christian women tell ourselves surrounding TIME.

So what’s the difference between love and people pleasing?

I asked some wise friends for input!

  1. People-pleasing often stems from our own fears and insecurities. Christian love stems from sincere love of God and others. “Christian love is caring for and meeting the needs of the other person. People-pleasing may be doing the same things, but the motivation is meeting an unmet core longing of your own.”—Dena
  2. People-pleasing puts peace ahead of truth. Christian love honors God’s truth. “People-pleasers avoid confrontation at all cost, but Christian love calls us to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ.”—Carolyn
  3. People-pleasing drains you. Christian love can—through the Holy Spirit’s power—recharge you, even when it demands much of you. “People-pleasing never satisfies self; someone always wants more or different, which drains your love tank. God-pleasing out of Christian love satisfies self because conscience knows it is the right thing to do no matter the cost. It refills your love tank, thus making you want to do even more.”—Mary Jo
  4. People-pleasing focuses more on others’ approval than on God’s. “People-pleasing focuses on us, a false sense of pride for ‘doing it all,’ fear of people not liking us (which we prioritize over obedience to what God actually asks of us), etc.”—Valerie

Friends, this is good news!

God doesn’t ask you to never say no. 

God doesn’t ask you to be all things to all people. 

God doesn’t ask you to sacrifice your alone time with him so you can keep up with everyone else’s needs. 

Nope.

Instead—because of his own incredible love for us—he asks us to love him above all, and to love others as well, following his perfect example. Since we’re not God, we’ll never “nail it” perfectly, no matter how hard we try. But never underestimate the Holy Spirit’s power within you, to love sincerely and in a way that’s ultimately all about God’s glory!

Make sure you feed yourself with good, Jesus-focused encouragement often! Keep it easy and get it delivered right to your inbox! (+ Some awesome freebies!) Click here to join our email family.

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