6 Oct 2008
In our house, we have a saying. "A penny saved is a borderline miracle." Like most people, we find it very difficult to save when it comes to money. We have in the dark recesses of our back bedroom closet a little piggy bank designated for emergencies.
Unfortunately, we have come to the point in our financial situation that our piggy bank needs to come out of the closet. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly had hoped this time would never come. It is rather embarrassing when something like this happens.
When we first put the Piggy Bank in the closet, it was supposed to be for some rainy day occasion. Or, to save up for a little vacation time. All throughout the years, we have talked about that little "nest egg" lying in the back of our bedroom closet. Oh, the plans we were hatching for that growing little pot of gold. It was comforting to know that it was there if we needed it.
It was never our intention to use this little cache of money for something as mundane and boring as paying bills. But, a little bit of reality has hit the parsonage lately.
There are times when I hate reality. It would be nice to go through life dreaming those dreams that have no roots whatsoever in the reality of day-to-day living. But, such is not the case.
Family financial planning is a very important topic. I once started writing a book on the subject but only got as far as Chapter 11.
I must say that my wife does her little bit when it comes to this matter of saving in order to balance the family budget. Although it has developed into an obsession, my wife clips coupons in order to reduce the weekly grocery bill. I will often come home and find the kitchen table piled high with newspapers and behind the pile is my wife, scissors in her hand clipping away.
She especially likes those "two-for-one coupons." However, her favorite I think is that one that says, "Buy one get three."
Often after grocery shopping she will bring the receipt and say in a very excited voice, "Look at what I saved this week."
One of these weeks I am tempted to say, "Yeah, but look what it caused me to save you that much money." Like the old hymn, "Yield not to temptation," I won't.
According to her, I am actually no help in this matter of clipping coupons. I stay out of her way. After all, she who welds the scissors is to be avoided. But I try to do my part.
On one occasion, I remember I saw all a coupon for my favorite ice cream. It was one of those "two-for-one" coupons. My eyes lit up. My mouth watered. I reach for those coupons.
"Don't touch that coupon, if you know what’s good for you."
The irony of it is, I did know what was good for me and it was that ice cream. But, being the gentleman that I am and loving life as I now know it, I conceded to her demand.
Our marriage is a partnership and I must say that I tried to hold up my end in this area of saving. Sure, I'm not as adept at it is my good wife, but I do my best.
For example, take my socks. Please!
I am very meticulous when it comes to my socks as far as saving energy. I can wear one pair of socks for four days in a row. On the first day, of course I wear them as normal. On the second day, I put my left sock on my right foot and my right sock on my left foot. Then on the third day, I turn my socks inside out and wear them. Then comes that magical fourth day when I switch the socks again.
The genius of this plan is on the fifth day. By this time, my socks can walk themselves to the laundry basket, thus saving energy.
I have the same plan for my undergarments but I do not think you want to hear about it.
I am all for saving energy and I try to do my part but sometimes it does get me into trouble.
One day this past week, I was taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon. My wife was not home. I had the whole house to myself. And so, as king of my castle for a moment I decreed a nap in order. It sure was a royal experience, that is until somebody came home.
"What in the world are you doing in the middle of the afternoon?" She queried in a rather sarcastic tone if I might add. Then she asked one of those stupid questions. "You're not taking a nap are you?"
"I'm just doing my little bit to save energy. Mine."
Sometimes in the midst of an emergency, I fail to remember the real source in my life. The apostle Paul touched on it when he said, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 KJV).
The economy may hit a snag. My family finances may drag. But God's grace is simply amazing, and he never fails to meet my needs.
Rev. James L. Snyder