Generous 2015 – No Spend Month

We’re almost done with No Spend Month, which reminds me to log the most recent grocery run in my Spending Tracker App. I have used it faithfully, and it has in turn betrayed me by telling me that we cannot live exclusively on my salary.

Unless we stop cutting our hair.

As usual (we’ve done at least one month a year for the past few years), the exercise has been mainly easier but in a couple ways harder than I thought it would be.  Using said app was easier to remember than I expected. Staying within my pre-allotted Starbucks gift card amount when it has been 15 degrees? Not as much.

Over the past few months, Curtis and I have been reading a few things, chatting together about what simplicity would mean for our family. We sit over coffee and croissants on our Friday Sabbath and imagine the next few years.

One book framed the conversation as spending in alignment with what you most value or want to create in your life. So we worked to get pretty clear on that together before we bought our house. We want to build our lives around hospitality, church life, family time, generosity.  We like routine and predictability, in a lot of ways.  We want to be inviters.  We want our kids to know what home base really is so they can explore beyond it confidently.

It added up to a house that is literally a five minute walk to the church. We will pay a bit more per square foot than we could nearby, but our car expenses, if my tracker app is on point, will plummet by $200 each month, once the church is not 20 miles away, round trip.

Putting our dollars towards the house instead of the commute was the exact right expression of that point for us. It is less about cutting spending and more about focusing spending on the life we want to build here. And around here, people drive–far–to come to our church. We want to be able to invite them to stay for lunch, or come by early for a bite before an event. Living near the campus opens that door.

So at the end of this month, my hypothesis is proving correct:  the practical side of this stuff, the numbers of it, is intrinsically connected to realizing the values.  Math will decide, to some degree, if we build the life we want to build.

We close tomorrow, paint next week, move after that. I’m excited, and grateful for this focal word around which I am making some of my bigger choices right now.

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