This is a little rabbit trail...please forgive me if it doesn't entirely make sense!
I have had several friends say to me over the past few months--it wasn't long ago when they didn't have to worry about what they spent or about paying the bills and that now they do. What a blessing for them for a time to not have to worry about things!
I think there was only one very short time span of 2-3 months during my freshman year in college when I felt that way. That was a long time ago. I don't know if it's easier to go up or come down--but I tend to think that it's easier to adjust our standard of living up than down. And yet, when our income goes down (whether monetarily or by inflation), if we don't adjust we can find ourselves in trouble very quickly.
I have always felt in my heart that God would likely never put me in a place of where I didn't have to think about how and where I spent money. I realized in grad school, that for me--because of my personality--it is a blessing to have to be aware of how and where I spend money. It is a blessing to me because it makes me very aware of the little blessings that God has given me and of how He, not me, continually provides for my family.
Yesterday, I went to Dunkin Donuts with some great gals whose kids are in the same homeschool pe program that my girls are in, because it was raining and we couldn't hang out outside. One of the gals that went in my car was very kind and paid for my small latte and I had a coupon for a free donut. The gal at the counter put in 2 donuts and some munchkins! Not only did Eli and I get treats, but so did the gal who bought me my drink and my girls after their pe class. The girls were thrilled. Such a little thing, but it still makes me smile, because it was such an unexpected treat!
I was also humbled because one of the gals shared that her husband just lost his job. It made me really think about needs and wants in my own life. What comes first--a new refrigerator that will make my life lots easier or paying off a motorcycle loan? The motorcycle loan is a need to pay off and the refrigerator--though it would be immensely useful--is a want. Are we being wise stewards with what we have? I have always felt convicted that it is important.