Allison Siburg: Frugality and Abundance

Hi! My name is Allison Siburg. Thanks to Grace, I’m a guest blogger on her Frugal-community blog! I’m so thankful for this opportunity to post here and share a little bit about me and my sense of frugality – or at least my feeble attempts at living a frugal lifestyle!

So, I’m 25. I fit right into this odd bracket of young people in our country who have some higher education degree and have a hopeful sense of abundance and hope for lives full of purpose and meaning – and yet we are stepping into a job market and economy with a rather high unemployment rate, and we are a part of graduating classes that will pay back the largest sum of student debt in recorded U.S. history. Yikes! Thankfully the story doesn’t end there.

I did not exactly grow up in an “abundance”-happy family system. Scarcity abounded and still abounds. As with many of us young adults, my grandparents were kids in the 1930’s through the Great Depression, therefore I’m not surprised that prioritizing (almost divinizing) a food-on-the-table and roof-over-heads mentality trickled down to my parents’ generation, and scarcity was a theme throughout my growing up years. You only did things if they provided the essentials of food and shelter, and if you made more, you put it in the rainy day fund because surely something bad was on the horizon. I’m grateful for all my parents have done for me, but I was curious if there was a more joy-filled way to live.

I decided not to settle for a scarcity mindset as I grew into my 20’s. I wanted to do more than be motivated by a paycheck, to pay bills and put food on my plate and my husband’s plate, our tiny family of 2. I can’t remember exactly where I learned about the dynamics of scarcity and abundance, but for me, abundance is rooted in my faith. Jesus says at one point, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Elsewhere in the Bible Jesus and the disciples feed thousands of people with 2 loaves of bread and a few stinky fish. And he feeds all of them! What just happened? That’s awesome!!

What does that tell me? That tells me that my daily life is not defined by “I don’t have enough work hours, I don’t have enough money” but is all about the reality of abundance. My life and your life is a gift, and as long as you are given the breath of life in the morning, you are abundantly blessed with life, with your body, with your intelligence, with your ability to serve your neighbor by giving a tip in the tip jar at your favorite coffee place. When I shift my perspective to abundance away from scarcity, opportunities open up in ways I could never orchestrate. Thinking abundance and not scarcity helps me find joy in my life. But it can’t be “I hope joy comes to my life today,” it is a decision I have to courageously make: “I am going to find joy in my life today.”

This can look like a few different things.

1. Find an awesome coffee shop that does punch cards so every 5 or 10 drinks you get a free one. Secondly, find a place that gives you a sense of community. Especially coming out of a college, university or grad school environment, graduation can usher a bitter divorce between you and being in a community of students and learners. This is a big deal, because feeling like you belong is something you can’t replace with food (or coffee, sadly).

2. Create your own business cards for free on Vistaprint.com and carry 20 around with you at all times. Even if you don’t have a job. Put fancy things like “independent consultant” or things you are in training to be or dream to be. Every day is an opportunity to share your vision and connect with someone who might know an individual who needs a gifted person like you.

3. Dress for success! Some days it might feel like despairing thoughts cloud your life, but always wear clothes that make you feel awesome and professional – especially for women, force yourself to put on a dress and makeup tomorrow morning, because you never know who you might meet! Shop at consignment stores. For instance, Goodwill and Turn Style in Roseville, MN are fantastic. I got three super nice interview-ready dresses at Turn Style for $40 last month.

4. Remind yourself that you’re a smart kid. Put your Strengths Finders results on the back of your business card. Stop looking at the qualifications section on job descriptions and getting discouraged that you don’t have enough experience.Treat yourself with respect with little pep talks and cold emailing/calling to schedule informational interviews. You telling your story and vision in person is way more effective than any paper resume and application. It’s not a matter of if you’re “smart enough” or “corporate enough” (scarcity!) – it’s are you willing to be vulnerable by being courageous and open to people, so employers/directors/professors can actually see you and find out if you could be partners in saving the world.

That’s living life out of abundance, and a perspective that I hope you choose every day. I hope this reflection on frugality and abundance was helpful. Choosing to use a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity takes courage, but I think if you’re smart enough to read Grace’s blog, then I think you’re up to the task!

Join the Conversation: What are ways that you practice frugality and abundance?

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Allison Siburg holds a Master of Arts degree in Systematic Theology from Luther Seminary. She is an intern at the Center for Good Work in Stillwater, MN and the Advertising Sales Accountant Executive for God Sisterz, a non-profit committed to providing community for women to inspire, uplift, and connect with one another and God.

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