$1.66

grace

I’m so terribly normal and oddly crazy. Folks, I’m telling the truth. If you don’t believe me, after you finish reading this post, you will agree.

So I’ve been Frugality Queen of late, trying to shave off our expenses in every which way, including corralling loose change. I’m determined to get my food bill down, and I’m very cautious how I am spending my money.

So.

Enter CVS. They’ve been enticing me again with those awesome coupons that print at the end of your receipt. $5.00, $3.00, $2.00 little gifts of loveliness. All FREE. So I’ve been making it a game to try to make the coupon exactly match what I’m spending.

Before I share my terrible defeat, I have to gloat a moment.

I received another one of these coupons from the grocery store, a veritable watershed of money. Ten glorious dollars. I made my list of needs/wants, which consisted of: iced tea bags, shortening (don’t hate, they make great crusts), bananas and green onions. I obviously knew the price of everything, even the green onions (two for a buck), but I could only guestimate the bananas.

Imagine my OCD joy when Dee the Cashier hit the total and it was a beautiful ten dollars even. Exactamundo. I saved 100%! Here’s the proof. receipt

On to my failure.

So I took my coupon to CVS and had to get two things, one of which was a drink. When she rang the total, I still owed $1.66. I paid, then immediately felt terrible. Had I just bought the one thing and not the drink, it would’ve been free.

Honestly, this is what went on in my head:

Mary, you were being selfish, wanting that drink. You overspent by $1.66, and it could’ve been free. You could’ve done without the drink. Why didn’t you put it back? There are people starving in the world. And you’re always complaining about money pressure. Consumption like this just makes it worse.

I was on my way to Bible study (where I’d drink my drink) and the entire time there, I had these self defeating meanie thoughts. I even listened to them AFTER Bible study, telling myself how I should’ve saved that money, not spent it. $1.66 rang throughout my tired brain in a frightening mantra.

Writing about it now makes me laugh. What in the world is WRONG with me, folks? It’s a dollar and some change. And in the grand scheme of economics, it’s tiny.

The point of this? To share my neurosis, but to also laugh at myself, and choose in this moment to offer myself grace. Yes, I overspent. Yes I didn’t maximize the use of my coupon. Yes, I drank the drink. But Jesus loves me (and you) and He is gracious and kind and forgiving. I picture Him laughing in heaven over my silly internal tirades.

Oh child, I hear Him say, chill! Instead of obsessing about your failures, choose to embrace life and find joy. Offer yourself the same kind of grace you offer others. And hold it all loosely. It’s my $1.66 anyway.

Question for you: Have you ever obsessed over a small failure? How have you found freedom? Should I pay for counseling? 🙂

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