To the people behind me in the checkout lane, I must have looked like I was on my last dollar, literally. I couldn’t find my wallet (a different grocery store called later to say I had left it there on my last shopping trip; fortunately everything was intact). So all I had in my purse was an envelope with a bunch of one dollar bills from our yard sale. My boys had just been diagnosed with coxsackie virus (better known as hand-foot-and mouth), so after the doctor’s appointment, we loaded up and went to the store to get them some medicine, Gatorade, popsicles, and a few other things.
When I got to the checkout lane and realized I didn’t have my wallet, I started counting my ones. When I ran out of cash but still had more items in my cart, I started making decisions about what I absolutely had to get and what could wait until my next shopping trip (once I found my wallet and debit card).
The woman behind me must have felt such pity for me--standing there with my sick boys and counting my ones once again to make sure I hadn’t miscounted--that she told me and the cashier that she would buy the rest of my groceries. She even insisted on buying the items I really didn’t need that trip (a watermelon, a pack of diapers, some cereal and cheese).
Of course, I thanked her profusely and offered to send her a check once I found my wallet. But she graciously refused and told me this was her gift to us. On top of all that, she even held up a crisp twenty and asked if I had gas in my car or needed anything else. Wow. (I didn’t take it but thanked her again for her generous offer).
When we got out to our van, we saw a beautiful rainbow arching through the sky—a rare sight where we live. What a symbol of God’s faithfulness. He blesses and provides for His people even when they’re down to their last dollar.
This event forces me to evaluate how frugality and generosity really do go hand-in-hand. Are we frugal so we can hoard more? No, I’m sure we would all say of course not. The motivation for frugal living is to manage the resources God has given us with such excellence that we can afford to be generous on every occasion. The woman behind me had extra money—perhaps from living frugally—so that she could provide what I was lacking at the time. By living frugally, I too have some extra money with which I can afford to be generous to others in need. This is as God intends.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously…for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”—2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 11
So give it a try sometime. Take a whole bunch of ones with you to the grocery store, count them out slowly, and then count them out again as the cashier tells you your total. See if anyone offers to pick up your tab. Just kidding!
Live well below your means (or at least within your means). Look for ways you can be generous to others in need. Trust that God will provide for your future needs if He uses you to provide for someone else’s current needs.
I’d love to hear your stories of how being frugal has allowed you to bless others!
(Linked to Heavenly Homemakers and Saving and Giving)
Visit Frugal Fridays for more money-saving inspiration!