A Great Way to Give Thanks
By Shannon M. Medisky
As we enter the holiday season, most of us pause to reflect on how fortunate we are. Whether it be the warmth of friends and family near, good health or roof over our head or all of the above, chances are that the vast majority of us have many reasons to be grateful.
On a personal level, though, I’ve admittedly struggled a bit this past year with gratitude. As a work-at-home mom, I’ve had no problem attaining work projects. However, many clients have had difficulties paying me for said work. Additionally, living with a physical disability that requires a multitude of maintenance prescriptions has bled my budget all but dry. And I’ve struggled both emotionally and financially as we spin our wheels to try to climb out of debt from an adoption that spiraled out of control. This year has left me – and likely others out there – a little worse for wear.
On the other hand, things could be worse. In fact, they could be a whole lot worse. And I find it important to remind myself of this constantly now more than ever, and this time of Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to do so. Being as pragmatic as I am, though, I like to move past mere reflection and on to action whenever possible. After all, actions speak louder than words, right? And I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for all we do have than by being mindful stewards of the resources in our charge.
Frugality, thriftiness and careful spending aren’t just tactics to help us skate by when times are tough. They aren’t even a way to help us stretch our funds so we can simply get more things. All of these are about responsible living that can not only help us live better lives, but can help us make better use and be more respectful of all we have. Words like “cheap” and “stingy” may admittedly have negative conations, but learning to live well (and well below) one’s means is an admirable skill that takes care, thought and self-restraint.
So this Thanksgiving, I didn’t wait around for the new year to come. Instead, I opted to start some new resolutions early. While I’ve always been a thrifty person, I’m going to embrace my actions as a form of year-round thanksgiving. I appreciate how important a healthy environment is, so I not only recycle, but I squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of every item I own. I am grateful for the income I earn, so I will judiciously budget and spend it wisely. I do not take my well-stocked pantry lightly, so I will endeavor to make busy work of my own hands and make more meals at home.
Talk is not always cheap. If one doesn’t practice gratitude for their financial resources – plentiful or not – through their actions, then they’ll likely pay dearly for it. In fact, when it comes to finances, a laissez faire attitude can cost an arm and a leg. As it turns out, though, the mindful practice of gratitude in relationship to money and material resources can help one create mountains out of even a molehill.
Photo credit: vernhart
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