One way to save money is to give up various "extras". You can do it to save money because you need that money for the things you need. And, you can do it when you don't really need to; in order to have more ability to bless others. In light of the earthquake in Haiti, folks are all thinking about we can/should do.
I don't believe there is something inherently good about living a life of denial or extreme simplicity. But, we should be living sacrificially. We should be willing to regularly give something up for the sake of another. For our families, for our church family, for our friends, for our neighbors, for strangers, for the fatherless. Our time, our money & stuff, our emotional energy.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to bear each other's burdens.
I am sure I am going to ruin this quote a bit, as I can't find my book to look it up... But, I read Tim Keller's book, Ministries of Mercy a couple years ago, and he had a great quote from Jonathon Edwards. Edwards said that, if we are really bearing each other's burdens, that requires us to feel burdened. Once I read that, it was so obvious. But, somehow I hadn't thought of that before. If you are helping someone, but never really inconveniencing yourself, you aren't really bearing their burden.
So, applying that to my budget, it is good for me to give up stuff that I want and will miss. Not for the sake of self-denial. But, so I can use that money for someone else's need. Something specific that we are trying to save our money for is adoption and the care of orphans around the world.
Here's the money saving sacrifice that I have begun. I know to some (most, all?) of you it will seem so ridiculous that I even did this... And, it is not really quite burden-bearing to give it up, just a small sacrifice.
We used to have a glass of wine nearly every evening. Or perhaps a cocktail or some sort of adult beverage.
The dollars can really add up. We can use those dollars every month to help support on orphan home. The plan is to do that through World Orphans. Check it out & let me know if you want help us support a home!