I don’t usually say much about money, because I don’t have the II Corinthians 9:8 “enough for all my needs and an abundance to give to every good work” bank balance. So, I figure I’m not really qualified to give financial advice.
But then, I look at people who earn more money than we do in our single-income, many-membered home, and who live without many of the luxuries that for me definitely qualify as “needs.” A fire in the fireplace in wintertime is a need and a luxury, and one I never intend to do without, so help me, God. Making my own chemical-free skincare is a need (especially in the high and dry Rocky Mountains) and a luxury. Having money to do a little traveling, and more importantly the time and presence of mind to enjoy it, is a need and luxury (N&L).
The list goes on: green coffee beans for home roasting; homemade Dijon mustard and money to buy books such as The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook, wherein such recipes are found; and Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
Melissa Gilbert’s My Prairie Cookbook was a gift, and having the time as well as the beautiful stamps and stationery at the ready to send a prompt and heartfelt thank-you note is, of course, both N&L. And the time to peruse this book and suggest my daughter use it to bake sweet-tart apple muffins, to the delight of all participating parties, is the epitome of N&L.
The time. So often people say they don’t have time for such shenanigans as enjoying the making and partaking of muffins with their daughters. They don’t have time for this or that. For what are they working?
I’ve been there and done that – the endless, mindless, thankless grind, and the eating out and on the fly of non-food substances; the bounced checks and astronomical service charges because I didn’t have the presence of mind that “taking the time” gives us.
We all have the same 24 hours, and we can either use time as a tool, or it can be our enemy. We deceive ourselves when we think we don’t have time to cook from scratch, to balance a checkbook, to write a friend a thank-you note.
Most people think the goal of time management is to get more done. I say the goal of time management is freedom from enslavement to the clock. Rather than getting more “things” done, how about getting more people loved and enjoyed?
And how does all this tie into money? First of all, it leads to peace and satisfaction, something that we so often try to buy. A great example is a breadmaker. I used my breadmaker plenty until it went kaput, and now that I know the satisfaction of making the boule for artisan bread, now that I’ve tasted my child’s authentic French bread, I will never again clutter my kitchen counter with a breadmaker.
New tools are great for my husband’s shop (yes, I do have and love some kitchen tools, but there are limits). My kitchen is a place where romance reigns, where money is saved and even made. I am, in effect, making money, learning a new and fun skill, impressing other people (I’d like to say this isn’t important to me, but alas . . . ) and making an amazing treat when I make pear butter from the pears that have been too long in the window sill. Said pear butter demands the making of super flaky biscuits for brunch, to which we invite the neighbors, adding eggs scrambled with cream cheese and a delicious homemade and homegrown turkey sausage (Christmas gift from same neighbors) and serving it all with a giant pot of delicious tea (giant and lovely teapot another gift which merited the sending of a thank-you note).
When I roast my own organic coffee beans nice and dark and aromatic, and convince my mostly non-coffee drinking family to share a small cup as we talk about what we’re writing, plotting, or planning, I am living in the rhythms of grace not often observed by today’s families.
I first heard of roasting green coffee beans at home from financial advice guru Mary Hunt, who convinced me there’s no comparison between brew-ready and home roasted coffees. Mary Hunt also echoes wisdom I once received after praying about finances: You can have anything you want if you stop eating out.
We are back to taking and making and managing time so that we can be creative and artisitic in the kitchen. A functioning and active kitchen is at the top of the N&L list. Let’s make a list, asking the question, “What do we gain when we cook and eat at home?”
- Joys of creativity
- Better tasting food (after a little learning in some cases)
- Family fun
- Self esteem
- Real mealtimes
- House that smells like a home
- __________________________________________ (your turn)
So here’s my money advice in a nutshell: If at all possible, do it at home. In many cases you will find what’s done in your kitchen is much more satisfactory than that made to exist on a shelf for six months, and often less expensive.
But money management isn’t about what’s the least expensive, it’s about what satisfies the most, what’s really worth it, what is both N&L. You may think chocolate covered peanuts are both N&L, but I say make them at home from quality ingredients (real butter for starters) and you’ll have more of your needs met (we NEED to create) with more luxury to boot.
Enjoy them over conversation with home roasted coffee, or perhaps while watching Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in Pride and Prejudice. At home, where all good things begin and end, anyway.
P.S. For more inspiration and ideas, join me Fridays at 2:00 Mountain Time, on 1360 AM radio, The Lion, in Johnstown, CO.