I am cheap. I routinely shop thrift stores, Goodwill, consignment, and the 75% clearance rack. I love to get a deal! So when all this coupon craziness started happening I wanted in on it. Saving $300 on my grocery bill every month? Are you kidding? Sign me up!
And that’s what I did. I signed me up with every product out there. I also saved all the coupon circulars; got my mom’s extras and subscribed twice to the Sunday paper. I would then go to my favorite website, find the coupons that matched up with the sales, pull the coupons from my file, and print any others. A trip to the grocery store would take me at least four hours of preparation. Really.
But I would save soooo much! My savings averaged around 50-70 percent. I felt well rewarded for my efforts when that receipt total was $80 and my savings was $92.
So when I began to sense that God was asking me to let go of this money saver, I knew I must not be hearing right.
“No, no, that cannot be what You are saying, Lord. You know where we are financially. You know what a challenge it is to make it month to month. How could I possibly justify not saving ever possible penny? Isn’t that what good stewardship is all about?”
There never seemed to be a divine response to all my reasoning. God is funny that way.
But the next time I would be trying to balance work, writing, and the responsibilities of wife and mom, I would cry out to God, “I am overwhelmed! How can I do this?” That small, quiet voice would say again, “You need to give up the coupons.” And I would again say, “No, that can’t be what You are saying, Lord.”
I’m not sure how many times I went through this cycle, before I finally admitted, “Yes, that is what You are saying, Lord.”
What is ironic in all of this is that part of me HATED dealing with coupons. I hated the hours of precious time spent planning, printing, clipping, organizing. I hated going grocery shopping and spending an extra hour at the store making sure I had the right product and the right coupons. I hated telling the person behind me, “You might want to go to another line. I have coupons.”
Extreme couponing was not my idea of fun, nor was it what my God was calling me to do.
When God speaks, nothing else matters. And God was calling me to write. Carving out that time was extremely difficult. It meant getting up earlier or staying up later, so that I could have time to myself. Writing took concentration, quiet, and time. Preparing to use coupons at the grocery store took those same things, and then there was nothing left for writing.
God had to remind me that stewardship is about more than finances. He wants me to use my gifts also. Laying aside writing for couponing was not good stewardship for me. I was missing the best for the good.
There are only twenty-four hours in a day. It’s not a BOGO deal. In fact, I can’t buy time. I can’t make time. I can’t find time. I can only use it.
Time is a precious commodity. God’s gifts and calling are precious too. Bringing those gifts and calling under the limits of daily life is wise stewardship. Allowing other things to steal those limited resources is like giving away days for nothing.
I may be cheap, but that’s no deal.
By: Karen Cone, Soul Journey