Tag Archives: budget

Four Marks of Date-Worthy Men (Or Women)

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There’s a new show on Netflix called Back With The Ex that has a unique premise. Four former couples – who dated and separated for various reasons – have a chance to re-unite and decide: Do we want to give this another go? Or should we stay apart, forever? It’s interesting to watch couples go through what is essentially an autopsy of their relationship. As a single woman, I’ve watched this series with a critical eye. For one couple in particular, I can’t help but think that the goal of marriage must be on one of the women’s minds – considering that she clearly wants it and he, well, has not proven himself to be a family man.

For Christian singles, there’s so much being said about dating, courting, and so on. Some of it is good and some of it is lacking. I believe that now more than ever one thing is for certain: if you are a true, deep in your heart Christian, it’s tough to be a “Christian single”! The path can be lonely so please know that if you’re a Christian single who desires to be married and you are patiently waiting for your future spouse, I understand where you’re sitting in life, because that’s exactly where I am. And no matter where you’re sitting in your life – maybe you’re single again, had a broken engagement, or just getting into the whole dating world, please know that the Father loves you more than anyone in this world can.

I think it can be helpful for Christian singles to think about what their non-negotiables are when looking for someone to potentially share their lives with. Especially Christian women – because it can seem like eligible Christian women outnumber Christian men – if you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, you need to anchor yourself to what your are looking for in a partner. Remember, you are are NOT crazy if you’re asking for these things:

Care and Concern for Others – I’ve done my share of church hopping and I no longer attend a church. But I do remember one congregation that gave people the opportunity to pray out loud during the service (if they wanted to). One man in our group – who society might unfairly expect to be out of touch with things – would pray in great detail for so many people. His prayers included world events because he kept up with things. His compassion was evident. While he depended on others for certain things, he was clearly a man of prayer, compassion, care, and concern for others.

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As we go about our lives, whether it’s sizing up a potential mate or striving for our own character improvement, we can look at the traits of care and concern for others. These can manifest themselves in various forms. If we look at ourselves and see that these qualities are lacking, we can always ask God to give us more empathy (but beware, ask and you shall receive!) And if you’re looking at a relationship,  you can ask the Lord if this area is lacking in the person so much that it is a red flag or if it’s an area where he or she is growing (as we all grow and mature).

While not everyone will have the gift of deep prayer, your love interest could have another gift, like wanting to give to the needy, or being a great listener, or performing acts of service. Maybe she sings in the choir at church, or he does manual work for free or just speaking a kind word to someone without anyone else knowing it can be an expression of a caring heart. Having a caring, concerned heart for those in need is a wonderful trait when you consider spending a lifetime with this person. Having no concern, no empathy, no care is something to certainly think twice about. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you suspect this to be the case.

Fidelity/Faithfulness/Integrity – Ever seen the show Cheaters? The poor folks who ask the producers of the show to find out if their beloved is cheating on them… such a sad situation. Not having trust in a relationship really leaves nothing left; perhaps this is why the divorce rate is so high. It’s critical to know that the person you’ve chosen will be faithful to you. This is not about casting judgement towards other people, but this is about what we, as singles, want for our own lives.

Christian women (and men), if you want a partner who is loyal and faithful to you only, you might feel like you’re waiting forever, but you are not crazy! Want a guy who is dating you but doesn’t get an ego boost from flirting with other women? Yeah, you might feel like that’s a rare catch, too! The saying goes that how you catch them is how you keep them, so while you might feel lonely not trying to catch a man with short skirts and low cut tops, you’re more likely to “catch” a man who is like-minded, morally speaking.

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Solid Work Ethic – Charm, looks, muscles and a good tan – sounds good, doesn’t it girls? But I have to tell you what my mom has always told me (and still feels the need to tell me) – it ain’t all about that. One of my favorite YouTubers says that we all get old and we all get ugly – that’s also another way to put it! The person you’re interested in – do they have a desire to work? (At least while their employer is paying them to?) Does she want to be a Proverbs 31 woman so she can create a warm, loving household or a successful business venture? Got your eyes on that man at the office, girls? Those TPS reports he has to do at work may seem stupid, but does he do his work as unto the Lord? Work comes in various forms, so look at the person you’re interested in and ask yourself (and God) if they have the character trait of a good work ethic. While we all like to rest and have fun (I certainly do), there’s a time for work too. A man (or woman) who abuses their employer’s time will probably find themselves without a job (or at the very least, on thin ice), which can cause a great amount of stress.

Good Steward of Resources – Does he blow all his money gambling? Does he spend more than he earns? Does she have to have the best of everything, getting all tied up in having a high status, top appearance, and making other people think she’s the best? Or does he try to save a little bit, even if it means he can’t have the fanciest car? Even if you don’t believe in God, there’s a good reason to look for this in a potential marriage partner – most married couples would probably say that money is the top cause for arguments. And, while there are times in life that we can fall upon bad luck through no fault of our own, you can ask yourself if the person is, in general, a good steward of their resources. Do they think about the future in general terms of what they want? Or are they irresponsible, making huge, messed up choices, that could impact you or your children, in a big way? No one is perfect and we all do things we shouldn’t. No one is in perfect condition – we are all works in progress and will be until the day we die. But if you’re attracted to someone who has a major issue of irresponsible living, it will impact you. Especially when there is no desire to change, it’s probably best to just cut your losses and move on, and consider that you’ve dodged a bullet.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

6 Things to Buy When You’re Almost Out of Grocery Money

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What would you do if you were almost out of money to buy groceries? It’s understandable if that would cause you to go into a panic mode.

But it’s not just a hypothetical scenario – some people are actually facing that question now. Due to the government shut down, some people are actually having to ask themselves: What bill will I pay first? How will I pay my rent? How will I pay my light and water bills? How much can I really spend on groceries? These folks have jobs, but their employer – the government – isn’t open for business. So, no work = no pay.

It’s a tough spot to be in. I’ve been without work before and the process of a job search that will go on indefinitely was, for me, an anxious time of waiting and wondering.  But wondering where your next meal is going to come from doesn’t have to be part of a time of unemployment if you can do some planning in advance, as much as you can.

I like to keep a list of grocery staples for when times are lean. This might help you if you’re trying to trim your grocery budget when times are good also. Each item has a specific reason for why you should buy it when your funds are running low. This isn’t a comprehensive list that will keep you fed, but it is a starting point for how to start planning if you’re running out of grocery money.

Coffee

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Unless you don’t drink coffee, this would be at the top of my list in a budget crisis. Although it’s not a food, coffee is highly addictive and running out of it could not only cause headaches but a cranky mood! If you drink coffee every day, having that first cup in the morning can give you energy and motivation to start your day. Pick it up at the grocery store – get the grocery’s store off-brand – that way you avoid any morning trips to the cafeteria at work, fast food restaurants, or gas stations to get your fix. These little purchases add up when you charge it on a credit card.

Tea

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If you don’t like coffee, you might want to pick up some tea. And even if you do drink coffee, there are some added benefits to hot tea. If you’re in truly desperate times, hot tea can distract you if you have nothing to eat. Peppermint tea can assist with mental clarity and alertness. Chamomile tea can help with relaxation and alleviating stress. Because I’m trying to lose weight, I also find that hot tea distracts me from food. You can pick up a box of 10 or 20 tea packets as cheap as $1 at a dollar store. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

Bread

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What you want to do is look for bread that is marked down, buy some extra, and freeze it. Get your extra loaf of bread, wrap it in a plastic bag, tie it down, and freeze it to prevent freezer burn. Don’t be discouraged by the “sell by” date- be smart about it! The “sell by” date is NOT the expiration date – it’s the date the product must be sold by, not the date it must be consumed by. I would not serve to guests bread that has been frozen because yes, there is a difference in quality. However, it is still safe and will meet your needs when you’re looking at potentially going without.

Butter

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Butter is an item I love to pick up and freeze; it has so many uses. If you’re doing the ketogenic diet, you may have heard of putting butter in your coffee to get sustained energy. I haven’t tried this, but it’s a possibility. I like to buy butter (not margarine) in stick form and freeze it, and for my purposes, freezing doesn’t compromise the taste or quality.  Butter on toast will keep you from going hungry; put butter and pancake syrup on toast and you’ll have a gloriously unsophisticated breakfast.

Corn

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I love that corn is a stand-alone item: you can serve it by itself without any addition and it’s just fine. But, you can also try to make salsa if you dare, or serve it in a salad, or place it in some Southwest Mexican burrito bowls, or serve it alongside steak. Corn is versatile like that. For lean times, corn is great because it’s so cheap and it is healthy.

Pasta – Noodles – Spaghetti – Macaroni Shells

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Pasta, spaghetti, bowtie shells, noodles, call them what you will. The final flavored product is pasta and that  is my final item, the item that could keep you afloat for a very long time. It’s been a while since I cooked any of this because there was a long, long spell of time when I cooked it and practically lived off it. I’m pretty sure I gained some weight as a result. This broad category of food I call pasta (a dressed up noodle) can keep you from starving and keep you full. You can buy a box for about a dollar and I recommend this over the ramen noodles that come with the flavoring that is loaded with MSGs that are so harmful to our health.

And there you have it, six items to help you with your planning of  what to buy when you run out of money for groceries. I hope this is helpful to you if you’re experiencing a job loss, a layoff, a budget crisis, or if you just want to save money! Feel free to share your comments in the comments below, and good luck!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

EASY Last minute Christmas gifts

Today is December 17 – Christmas is roughly one week away! And believe me, I do enjoy my plotting and planning when it comes to gift giving for the holidays.

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Photo courtesy MBisanz via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

It’s all in good fun, of course, planning what to buy and what to give, and maybe even sneaking in a gag gift here or there.

But sometimes the days just sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re in a position where you’re trying to figure out what to buy at the last minute. Maybe you’re not even buying a last-minute Christmas gift – maybe you’re celebrating Hanukkah a week or so late – pushing out a get together after the actual celebration has passed, and you STILL haven’t bought your gifts!

So, if you’re in a pinch trying to figure out what to buy, check out these easy last minute Christmas gifts that could work for several people on your list.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

A Few of My Favorite Dollar Store Things

It’s Christmastime and your days may be filled with various festivities. Whatever you’re doing, hopefully you’re feeling some holiday cheer. Perhaps you’re decking your halls, or making preparations to entertain guests. Maybe you’re doing some Christmas shopping to give gifts for an office party or family get-together.

With all this hustle and bustle that’s bound to be on your calendar, I’d love to share with you a few of my favorite dollar store things. This might help you save a little bit of money while you’re out and about doing your standard holiday shopping.

Dollar Store Cough Drops/Throat Lozenges

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These are truly a must-have given the beginning of brutally cold weather and the inevitable cold and flu season it brings. I personally prefer a Vitamin C throat lozenge rather than the traditional “cough drop” that has the expected medicated taste. Regardless of what you use, you can stock up on a few bags of cough drops or Vitamin C throat lozenges at the dollar store for around a dollar a bag before anyone in your house gets sick, saving you a trip and the added cost the grocery store will charge you.

Dollar Store Tissues

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Again, not a “fun” item, but fighting a cold or flu is never fun, and these things tend to circulate during the colder months. While you’re out and about doing your normal shopping, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on a box or two, especially if you’re having visitors over who may need them. Tissues are another item that the dollar store beats out the grocery store on – for one box, you can normally pay about a dollar or $1.25, without having to watch for sales.

Gift Bags for Christmas Gifts

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I haven’t done as much early Christmas shopping as I usually do, but I lucked out at the dollar store with cheap Christmas bags – 50 cents each! Look for gift bags in solid red or green or even plain brown, as these are “plainer” and they don’t have the embellishments found on Christmas bags – you probably won’t pay as much because you won’t be paying for a logo, glitter, writing, etc. Depending on the size, unless it’s a large bag, you can get gift bags at the dollar store for $1 each. And, after the holidays, you can start stocking up for next year! After the holidays, I watch for prices on gift bags and wrapping paper to drop so I can put some aside for the next year – so I’m shopping in January for NEXT Christmas because the prices are so good. I can pick up some gift bags or wrapping paper, put them in a storage container, and forget about it until next year!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.