Before shopping, pray! Ask the Lord to guide you to make the best
purchases.  Pray that you shop according to His will. The Bible says
"in all things...with prayer."

Ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

Shop during sales. Do your homework. Know how much the item originally
sells for. Sometimes, one department store will sell the item for less than

Shop at outlet stores. You can find really great buys at the outlet stores.
Also places like Big Lots, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Value City, and others have
great buys but that means you have to fish through everything. Sometimes,
the best item is one that is hiding from you.

For instance, I was in need of a black leather handbag and found a top
designer Italian label handbag at TJ Maxx for $30.00. The bag is flawless
with no blemishes or marks...perfect bag. I have had this bag for two years
and not one sign of wear. Just a superior quality bag. The cashier at TJ
Maxx told me that; "Most of the imperfections can never be found with the
naked eye. If one stitch is off, even in the lining, they are sent here...
depending on the quality control of the manufacturer."

The point is that I was in a very low price department store one day and I
just happened to glance at their handbags as I briskly walked by in the aisle
and curious to see... the bags were made somewhere in Asia,
vinyl...imitation leather and were being sold for $30.00.

A wise shopper is a praying shopper. God can lead you to the best sales,
best items for much less than you would normally pay. The Lord wants to
be a part of every minute of our lives. He created us, He loves us, He died
for us, He rose again, He is coming back for us. But don't just buy
something because it is a great buy...make sure you need it and will use it.
We all have purchased things on sale that we will never use. Some are still in
the original box sitting in a closet or basement somewhere. We have all
purchased make-up when on sale but we only have one face and so the
make-up just stays in our cosmetic case, unused. How much make-up can
we possibly use in a month?

Do not purchase items with credit cards. That $100.00 item charged
becomes a $300.00 item charged if you have accumulative debt on the card.
Some people buy scotch tape and pencils with a credit card-- not smart
when they have $6000.00 on their credit card already. Those little items add
up on your card each and every month. The average American has $6000.00
on their credit cards alone, not counting car payments and house payments.
The average annual income per American household is $37,000. Seems like
the more people earn, the less they seem to save.  Over a million American
families are going bankrupt every year. It is not that Americans don't have
the money; it is just that we are coveting more than we can pay for. Experts
say that the number one cause of divorce in America is money problems.
Coveteousness...wanting more than we can afford, wanting everything now,
lusting after the things that their neighbors and friends have, etc.

Materialism is sweeping the nation. God wants us to have nice things. But
needs and wants are two different things. Do we have to keep up with the
Jones' and have the latest
gizmo that they have?

I speak for myself included. We all have to quit spending money on things
we don't need. That is why we all have to pray before going shopping. Like
most women, I have been in a store during a GREAT sale and bought things
I will never use but "the price was great." I once heard a pastor on TV say
that "if the Lord never blesses you with one more item, you still have more
than enough to last the rest of your life. You have salvation in Jesus, eternal
life someday with Him forever; you have clothes in your closet that still
have tags hanging from them...never worn and that you have forgotten
about. You have a closet stuffed with stuff...more shoes, hats, pants, dresses,
perfumes, etc. than one could ever use in a lifetime and you still want to buy
more. You could wear the clothes in your closet for the rest of your life and
still leave some in your will when you die." Oh how true that statement is.

I was viewing a lady on T.V. discussing the fact that people shop out of fear.
They fear that the item will be discontinued or they fear that if they don't
buy that dress, they will kick themselves for it later. They buy out of fear.
Fear that "just in case I need it, I should get it; now that it is on sale."  Fear
is the motive. That is what I heard. She may be right or she may not. I don't
know. But I know in my life, in times past, that has been the case.

My friend told me about a talk show that she viewed one day, concerning
people who are shopaholics. The guests on this T.V. show,  spent all of their
money on designer clothes and designer shoes, jewelry, etc.  that they have
no place to live. They live with family or friends because they cannot afford
a place of their own because of their lavish spending habits. One guy said
that he rather live with friends [being poor] and looking good by spending
his paycheck on luxury clothing. He said; "no one sees where you live when
you walk down the street but they see the way you look." Wow!! Are these
the last days or what? "Men shall be lovers of themselves, boastful, proud,
arrogant...incontinent" [can't control their passions.] Can't control their
spending habits...coveting all the time.

Home shopping channels are another story entirely. Ever notice how the
hostess or host never stops talking? They have celebrity guests on who want
to chat about something else with a caller who calls in and the hostess will  
interrupt them right in a sentence..."Oh look at the time, we have to keep
moving...look at this watch...just fabulous! You have to get this watch."
Lalala....they just keep talking. There is one hostess who is a power seller on
one of the channels and she was selling a blood pressure machine and so the
company rep hooks her up to the thing and this hostess' (poor thing) blood
pressure was sooooo high. It is a stressful job. Their whole purpose for
talking is to sell you something. The more they talk, the more redundant
they are, the more they keep you listening, you eventually will buy the they think. Next time, you see something you have to buy,
mute the TV and look at the product on the screen without the voices, most
likely, you will change your mind.

I was talked into buying a convection oven by watching the channel. They
were cooking some really nice things in it. I thought it would be nice to have
for the Holidays...baking and such.  Oh the TV shopping hostess was so
excited about it.  She said she was going to "throw away" her microwave
"because this product is so much better." [That I found hard to believe.]
They really hyped this oven up and when it arrived, it wasn't bad but it was
not like what I was seeing on T.V.  A lot of health experts do say a
microwave is not good for your health...changes the molecules in food, etc
and the convection oven works good but I cannot bake much in it. It looked
much bigger on T.V.   Later that same year, the same hostess said "yeah,
when I am microwaving my food..." Did she really throw her microwave out
the door and replace it with the convection oven? Co'mon. :-)

Before we spend our next dollar, let's make sure it is something we need and
will use. The old wise saying goes "A penny saved is a penny earned."
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