March 3, 2012

Sharing the Wealth: Find an inspiration (NOT a comparison)

This was a post I was going to save for awhile, but I am feeling inspired to write it now!

I believe that God has a place in this world for everybody. He calls some into the ministry. Some he calls to care for children, some to work labor, others to invent things. I believe that, in this season of my life, he is calling me to be a stay at home mom. The point is, he "builds" everybody for some purpose, whether it be a career or what they do in their spare time. Unfortunately, some people don't ever find that job they are being called into. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about my inspiration, Crystal Paine at If this is a new reference for you, you apparently are new to my blog. :) I believe that she has fully discovered and succeeded in her calling- helping people gain control of their finances. Crystal (I have decided that I am on a first named basis with her, even if we have never met) is a huge reason that we are where we are today financially.

When I first seeked out money saving blogs, I was looking for couponing tips. I wanted to find out how to get some free groceries. As I started following some of these blogs, I started discovering ways to save a ton of money in other areas of my life. These blogs help me in my day to day purchases and I am very grateful for them. But, none of them have done for me what Crystal's blog has done.

Crystal has inspired me to completely changed my attitude towards money. And this is exactly what I needed- an inspiration instead of a comparison. Comparison is what got us into debt. I wanted things that my friends had. I wanted to go and do things, even if we couldn't afford them, because everyone else was able to. I wanted my kids to wear adorable, name brand clothing because my mommy friends dressed their kids that way. And most of our debt wasn't even made of these little vanity purchases. They were mostly composed of "emergency" charges like car repairs that we didn't have an emergency fund for because we didn't budget well enough to being saving anything. Because I was comparing myself to people who didn't necessarily have the same means as us or the same goals we were not living within, let alone below our means. And that's where Crystal came in.

She is not a person I compare myself to. She is living on ZERO debt. Nada. Nothing. They OWN THEIR HOUSE OUTRIGHT! But I don't compare myself to her. She has a set of situations that are entirely different that I have or ever will have. And that is fine. I don't want her life. She provides me with something far more motivational that a person to compare myself to- she provides me with inspiration to gain the attitude she has toward money.

Her attitude towards money is amazing. She sees money as something that you need to get you through life, not what life should be all about. For example, she wrote a book, The Money Saving Mom's Budget. When she was asked to write this book, she was stressed out because she didn't need the money she would make off of it. So instead of taking the money for extravagant purchases or turning down the book offer, she chose to devote hours of time to writing a book to give all the proceeds to charity. That is simply amazing to me. First, she recognized that they were making enough to reach their financial goals and decided that she just didn't need the money. In a world where athletes are turning down multi million dollar contracts because they aren't high enough offers, it is refreshing to hear a person say that they just don't need that extra money. What an amazing attitude. And then, on top of that, to decide to put forth her own time and energy to write a book entirely for charity. What an inspiration to me! (By the way- if you haven't read her book I highly encourage it. Even as an avid follower of her blog I learned a lot and became even more inspired).

What means so much to me is that, for the first time, I have found someone I can use as my "money smarts" barometer. I have motivation issues from time to time when I am working toward any goal. As much as I want to be in a place where money is not a stressor, sometimes I want that super cute shirt for Delaney more. But now, I can call upon my "What would Crystal do" theory. Is this something that she would encourage on her blog? Is this truly a little splurge that fits into my budget, or is this me wanting to buy something that puts us further from our goals. Even when I am not feeling especially motivated I can use what I have learned from her to decide if it is a smart decision.

I guess the point I am trying to get across is that it is so important to have somebody, whether it be a person you know personally or otherwise, to inspire you, not to compare to. You will NEVER find someone with circumstances exactly like yours to make it wise for you to be comparing yourself to them. After all, you shouldn't be making any decisions based off what is best for somebody else! So quit making decisions based on your envy, and find someone who has attitudes or beliefs that you desire and use their experiences to achieve your own goals. Maybe your person is Crystal. Maybe it is another blogger, maybe a friend. But no matter what, find somebody to inspire you!

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