The Frugal Catholic: “SOS Means Set Our Spending” by Martha Wild King–November 29, 2009

I asked my husband of nearly thirty years tonight while we were on our weekly four-mile walk (our cheap weekly date) what he though of our budget, stating that I needed to write an article on it.  Michael is the chief recorder of the budget in our “budget book.”  The Good Captain, USN Retired said, “Having a budget is critical to living within your means and avoiding debt.  Without a budget you are driving your car down a freeway at night without any headlights where a crash is imminent.”

All right: so there you have it.  We need the darn thing–the budget.  But how does one do it?

The SOS philosophy says: SOS: Set Our Spending (create a family budget).  I was impressed today, Sunday 8 November 2009,  by Father Emmett Carroll’s homily in which he stated that in the time of Jesus, in the temple, there were 13 different boxes placed around for the temple offerings.  Perhaps you dropped your coins into the “wine box,” or maybe you stuffed your  monies into the “flour box,” or the “oil box.” So with that in mind, lets look at category budgeting.  Picture, if you will, thirteen different envelopes.  This is the way families used to do it way back when and how we do our income now.  The first is tithe; the second, mortgage;  the third, food;  the fourth, auto; the fifth, medical;  the sixth, household; the seventh, savings/investment; the eighth, entertainment/education; the ninth, clothes; the tenth, insurance; the eleventh, debt; the twelfth, vacations, and the thirteenth, other.  Take  you income and distribute your money into each of these envelopes.  If you prefer to keep your income in your checkbook, then take your income and divide that earning onto thirteen sheets of paper like the above envelopes.  Now every time you spend something, either pull that money from the envelope, or after you have deducted the expense  from the checkbook then deduct it from the category which you penned.  When you add up all of those  remaining figures, then it will equal your checkbook final calculation. That is how category budgeting is accomplished.

For example, you go to the gas station and spend $50 for gas.  With the envelope system, you would take the funds with you, but with the pages system, you’d deduct it from your checkbook then from the penned category.  When the monies are gone, you don’t spend anymore. Period.  If you need a healthy shopping spree for stress, rob a category and take $3 in change and go to Goodwill.  Works wonders.

By living this way for thirty years, we have been able to understand clearly how much money is coming in and be aware of what the expenses are and how to plan for them.  With five children, that has been hugely important.  Category budgeting has given us the freedom to minimize the stress of not being prepared for everyday expenditures.  We haven’t been 100% successful all of the time, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing,  but the Good Captain has guided us well.  And with a budget, you can plan for your operating costs, plan for your charitable contributions including money to The Church, and avoid living beyond your means.

Isn’t that what being a “Frugal Catholic” is all about??

The Good Captain’s Fifth Expense

The Frugal Catholic: “Shibboleths” by Martha Wild King–October 18, 2009

 

SOS: Stop Over Spending- one of the best Shibboleths.  The Frugal Catholic here at a Christmas rummage sale.

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For those who don’t know, “shibboleth” is a catchword or slogan: a phrase frequently used or a belief strongly held by members of a group.  According to the Bible, the people of Gilead used the word “shibboleth” as a password because they knew their enemies, the Ephraimites, could not pronounce the “sh” properly.

Judges 12:5-6 says, “The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim.  When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, ‘ Let me pass,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘ Are you an Ephraimite?’  If he answered, ‘ No!’ they would ask him to say ‘Shibboleth.’  If he said ‘ Sibboleth,’ not being able to give the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.” NAB

Also, “SOS” is a maritime international distress signal which in years past was tapped out  Morse Code–dot,dot,dot,dash,dash,dash,dot,dot,dot. (That piece of information was added by my retired submarine Captain husband).  The letters SOS can also help us focus on  frugal shibboleth living.

  1. SOS: Set Our Spending (create a family budget)
  2. SOS: Safeguard Our Savings (learn how to shop)
  3. SOS: Stop Over Spending (figure out ways NOT to use the credit cards)
  4. SOS: Stay Out of Stores (hummmm, that sounds interesting)
  5. SOS: Salvage Old Stuff (seldom say die to anything you own)
  6. SOS: Spot Opportunities to Slash (cleverly cut your spending)
  7. SOS: Support Others Spiritually (tithe, bestow, volunteer)
  8. SOS: Strive Only to Simplify (keep life simple, Sweetie)
  9. SOS: Share Our Selves (give and it will be given unto you)
  10. SOS: Sup On the Spirit (get that soul food into your diet)

There are my top ten SOS’s.  They are economical in the amount of brain space they require, but rich in what they can do for your life.  Try them on, for an  SOS Shibboleth a day will keep the creditor away.

The Frugal Catholic: “Tithing” by Martha Wild King– October 4, 2009

God provided so we could adopt our 5th

In our modern day, “tithing” seems like an ancient word which doesn’t apply to our tight finances.  Encarta World English Dictionary defines it thus: 1. Paying of tithes: the assessing or paying of tithes    2. one tenth: one tenth part of something

What Encarta doesn’t address is the importance of tithing to one’s overall financial wellness, and also what God and The Church have to say about it; as well as,  what those who have practiced it have found that paying of tithes has given them.

Let’s start with what God and The Church have to say about tithing.  The tithe is the first ten percent of our income, and this belongs to the Lord.  Offerings are above and beyond the tithe.  In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, God encourages us to give bountifully as well as cheerfully, for “God loves a cheerful giver.” NAB

The tithe has a vital function not only for The Church but also for the giver.  Our ten percent not only supports The Church ministries, but it also helps us learn to fear The Lord.  God has promised to give wisdom and blessing to those who do fear Him.  Deuteronomy 14:22-23 states, “Each year you shall tithe all the produce that grows in the field you have sown; then in the place which the Lord, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of his name you shall eat in his presence your tithe of the grain, wine and oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, that you may learn always to fear the Lord, your God.” NAB

For The Frugal Catholic, the tithe teaches priorities.  If we give God that first ten percent, He lets us have the other ninety percent to use as we need, and He blesses it.  Proverbs 3: 9-10 expounds on this thought.  “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with  first fruits of all your produce; then will your barns  be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.” NAB  Truthfully, if you don’t give that ten percent to God right off the top, then the enemy will gobble it up, and the other ninety percent will disappear too.  One such example is debt.  Debt itself is often a witness that tithing is not taking place.  It should therefore be a motivation to begin tithing in order to allow God to show His power in one’s finances.

Now what about those who have practiced tithing?  What do they say?  Jill Moore of South Carolina states, “Tithing is very important.  I suggest have the sum withdrawn automatically so that you aren’t tempted to spend it.”  Adrienne Oleson of California adds, “The Lords blesses us with so much.  It’s the least we can do to give back to Him in a small way.  I believe that tithing is more than just money.  I believe giving to the Lord should be in total your time, your heart, your mind, your life, your everything.”  Doris Schroeder of Washington confirms, “I consider tithing a privilege and a possibility to share with others.  Tithing is the way to opening the door to God’s blessings, and it gives us the assurance of His protection.  If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose the money in other ways and wonder why bad things happen.”  And finally Dixie Moore in Bainbridge Island WA remarks, “Tithing is an expression of a Christian.  Simply take ten percent off each paycheck and put it into a special account.  We then have money to give to the church and missions.  By doing it that way, we are not deciding between food or gas but giving it to the church.

For The Frugal Catholic, tithing is the best investment we can make with our money.  I challenge you to try it.  God most certainly does as Malachi 3:10 exhorts, where He says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts:  Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” NAB

The Frugal Catholic: “Cutting Back to Give Back” by Martha Wild King–September 20, 2009

I don't imagine Daniel was thinking about "Cutting Back"

Perhaps the best explanation I ever heard for watching one’s money was presented by a family called the “Breedens.”  They had ten children, were strong Evangelical Christians, lived very simply in Maryland, and Sharon, the mom, home-schooled the entire group.  When I asked Sharon about budgeting, she succinctly stated, “If you save it over here, you can spend it over there.”

Is there profundity in that thought? Well, say you cut down on your food budget by cooking more at home–everything from home-made bread in a bread machine to half powdered milk mixed with half fresh milk.  Perhaps you limit yourself to only one meal out a month versus several meals out a week in your quest to be more frugal.  And you begin “brown bagging” it or actually lunch-boxing it (more ecological) and are using that bread-machine bread you made.  Well the bottom line of all of this cost-cutting is what are you going to do with that savings?  According to Sharon Breeden, “If you save it over here, you can spend it over there.”  So your food-cutting-cost savings can be put towards tithing, college fund, or into a clear-day (not rainy day) savings account.  The goal is to learn to live under your means not above it or at it.  And to live this way is like any competitive sport: it takes constant practice and discipline.

Mother Theresa said, “We can’t always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”  Is that not what The Frugal Catholic does?  Does he or she not emulate the Proverbs 31 woman: “She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.” NAB  She knows what is in her kitchen and does small things wisely.

So too, we can do small things with great love.  We can make small cuts here so we can tithe/save/give over there.  Being The Frugal Catholic is a thought process enabling us to use His resources prudently and to His glory.

One of the best adages I know concerning economical living is a saying which came from The Great Depression era: “Make it do; do without; use it up, and wear it out.”  Plant that  on your brain and say it each time you grocery shop, look on your favorite internet shopping site, or pick up a catalog.  Being prudent with your funds doesn’t mean hoarding ketchup or stealing towels from a hotel.  It means being content with what you have, doing without new, using up what exists, and wearing out what’s there.  Sirach 18:30 states it well: “Go not after your lusts, but keep your desires in check.” NAB If we were following that verse, credit cards and debt wouldn’t haunt us.

More thoughts?  With each article of clothing that comes in, give one away.  Check www.cnpp.usda.gov for USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at home at four levels to compare how you and your family are doing regarding eating costs.  Employ the envelope system where you cash a certain amount of money for each category/envelope, and when that cash is gone, you stop spending.  Lastly: SOS Stay Out of Stores.  Create a family budget with all participating.

Remember frugality teaches self-discipline; if you save it over here, you can spend it over there. Or in the words of Aesop’s Fables, “Save while you can, for you might not have a chance later.”

The Frugal Catholic: “My Journey Home” by Martha Wild King—August 30, 2009

 

When I think of my journey into Catholicism, it mixes into my motherhood travels.  That journey began twenty-eight years ago with my quest for frugality.  Likewise, my first acquaintance with Catholicism started in 1982 with Natural Family Planning and the Couple to Couple League from Cincinnati Ohio.  A dear Catholic neighbor, Virginia Soter, introduced us to that method after the birth of our first child.  A few years later, I met a strong Catholic woman, Linda Di Muzzio, who gave me some tapes on the Mass.  From those I learned that, unlike in my Protestant tradition, Catholics believe Communion, or the Eucharist, is the consecrated body and blood of Christ.  Protestants, on the other hand, practice Communion as a symbol of Christ’s body and blood.  The way you can tell they believe it is a “symbol” is how these two are treated after Communion has occurred. Protestants throw the wine and bread down the drain or into the trash.  Catholics worship the remaining consecrated hosts (bread) which is kept in a Tabernacle in the church.

So after sixty years in the Protestant church and after thirteen years of helping “clean up” after Communion, one Sunday after church while dumping the wine down the sewer, I told God I couldn’t do it anymore.  While riding home, the idea hit me.  I could go to the early Catholic service then the 10:30 Protestant service with my husband. So I called St. Cecilia Catholic Church on Bainbridge Island WA and was told I could start RCIA classes.  While driving to that first class this winter, the moon was full and huge–a natural sign of God’s lavish love on my spiritual journey.

coming HOME

This past Easter, I became a confirmed Catholic, although until my annulment goes through (I was married before from 1971 to 1974), I can only be blessed during the Eucharist, but I can be near and adore the BODY AND BLOOD versus a mere symbol.  My husband too, of twenty-nine years, has decided to start RCIA classes so we can worship together.

So how does all of my journey into my Catholic faith have any connection with being a “Frugal Catholic?”  It was my quest for frugality that shaped my mothering, and my mothering pulled me into Catholicism.  Thus to be frugal and a Catholic, for me, go together.  And in truth, if we look to our Lord for the answers, He owned nothing.  He wrote nothing,yet He gave us His all.  We have nothing to worry about if we trust in His providence.  As was written in  Hebrews 13:5-6, “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”  Thus we may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?” NAB

Frugality is characterized by thriftiness and avoidance of waste.  It is meager and involves little expense.  Catholicism is living my faith through the Church which Jesus Christ founded.  So what better way to live my Catholic faith than to live frugally so that I can give generously.

 

 

Hello world!

Hello Frugal Catholics, or those of you dear folks who have been led here.  Welcome to my site.  This is a site where my previously published articles can be found and hopefully you will contribute your inspired frugal and Catholic ideas.  I am a 69 year old mother of five children and wife of 38 years to Captain Michael King, USN, Retired, and Grandmother of three.   I homeschooled  all of my offspring for 22 years.

As a bit of history, I was born a Protestant and  raised in the Presbyterian Church, and  I committed my life to Christ on June 20, 1976 at the age of 27.  Since that time I have loved and served my Lord Jesus the best I knew how; but I have always felt that something was missing– a sacredness, a home, unchanging faith and morals in this turbulent society, a place where I could walk into a church (anywhere in the world) and find the same worship.  Those were issues I struggled with, and as you can read from my first article posted on August 30, 2009, I found those issues resolved when I set foot in our local Catholic Church–Saint Cecilia Catholic Church here on Bainbridge Island WA.  I came HOME, not just to a building, not even to a faith, but to the Bride of Christ, His church.  I had the Bridegroom (Jesus), now I have His Bride, The Catholic Church.

Since coming into The Catholic Church, so much more of my daily  Bible reading is making sense, and I find a new hunger in wanting to receive my “Daily Bread” through the Eucharist.  I feel like 2000 years of knowledge has unfolded on me, and for that I am so grateful to the many devoted Catholics who have upheld the faith so I can now hold it.  Likewise too, I am grateful for my Protestant upbringing which has fed me to this point.  Praise to God for the path He put me on.  May your life be blessed greatly, and may you be held in the palm of His hand on your journey for Catholicism and frugality

The Frugal Catholic

Equals Living Under Your Means with Wise Financial Planning and Discovering the Joys of Good Stewardship

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Equals Living Under Your Means with Wise Fianancial Planning and Discovering the Joys of Good Stewardship