I am a penny-pincher. I like saving.
When I was little and was given candy, I chose a few morsels to enjoy and stashed the rest away for a later day.Years later my Omma told me that after we left her home for a holiday, she would find bags of candy hidden in “secret places” … that I had forgotten about.
While the dentist may approve that approach to candy, I failed to realize that sometimes being too much of a saver can keep you from enjoying and sharing what you do have.
When I grew older and money started to replace candy, I kept to my saving ways (though found forgotten stashes much less frequently!) Joshua is also frugal, but has helped me put frugality into its proper place. Thriftiness should be a tool, not an idol.
Now, for the story…
How $5 nearly spoiled a perfect weekend
Last week was a busy one for Joshua. He put in long hours at work, leaving home early and getting back late. About halfway through the week he showed me a picture and asked, “Do you want to make these St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes together on Saturday?”
The kids overheard and couldn’t have been more enthusiastic in their response. Every day they asked, “Is it Saturday yet?”
Saturday finally arrived. Joshua had to work a few hours that morning and then it was cupcake-time. Before he left work, Joshua messaged me asking if we needed anything for the recipe.
“We don’t have any sour cream,” I said, “but we can substitue yogurt for it. And we have semi-sweet instead of bitter chocolate.”
“Want me to pick some up?”
“I don’t think we need it. What we have should work great,” I answered. “Up to you though.” [What I really meant was, I don't want you to get any.]
“I’ll pick some up,” he said.
While I waited for him to get home, I started to stew. Stopping by the store was delaying our afternoon. I’d already spent the grocery money for this week and these cupcakes were turning out to be much more expensive than I’d planned! Did Joshua not trust me that the substitutes would work?
Then Reason (“God’s viceroy”) slammed me in the head. “After Joshua put in long hours all week long to provide for you, are you really going to let a sour cream purchase make you upset? Are you going to ruin the fun family time by having a bad attitude over $5? If you really didn’t want him to pick it up, you should have said so! Is this the proper attitude of a godly wife?”
[Are you laughing? Me too!]
Thankfully, by the time Joshua arrived home, I’d realized the answer to all those questions was a resounding “NO!”
Instead of starting off our weekend together with a sulky wife, bewildered husband and disappointed children, we had a lovely time making cupcakes.* Then we spent the rest of the weekend together, reading, watching a movie, playing outside, worshipping and going horseback riding at a friend’s farm.
Maybe throwing a fit over $5 wouldn’t have ruined the entire weekend. I’m glad we didn’t have to find out.
While wisely stewarding your resources is wonderful, sometimes we can take thriftiness too far. God has “given us all things richly to enjoy.” Even a tub of sour cream.
*Joshua even told me “Just wanted to let you know that I was given unexpected cash. The money for this purchase isn’t coming out of your grocery budget.” Isn’t he wonderful? He knows his wife well!