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Too Much Month At The End Of The Money

May 31, 2008

I ran across an article that suggests different savings tips for these ultra tough times. I think the tips are great. But I also think they are far fetched for most. At least most in my circle.

We are on a very tight budget. Every single penny is accounted for. I’m allowed “X” amount for groceries each paycheck and that’s what I get. When it’s gone. It’s gone.

This article recommends putting $10.00 away each day.

Wha?!?!! Uh. Let’s see…An average month has 30 days. 10 x 30 = 300. THREE HUNDRED!!! Seriously?!

I don’t know anyone right now who has an extra 300 a month. I’m sure there are some who may not have a budget and do have that extra cash and don’t even realize it. So this might be good for them. But our allotted budget for gas each month is less than $300.00 😯 for BOTH of us together!

We’re in the ministry so making loads of cash isn’t an option. So honestly, finances for our future weighs on my mind often. But all I can do right now is live day to day and continue being creative enough so that there isn’t too much month left at the end of the money.

Do you have any special savings tips or creative budgeting that you have found beneficial?

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71 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2008 12:27 pm

    Tam, I feel your pain! I am working on budget tips but I don’t have many yet. 😦

  2. May 31, 2008 12:30 pm

    Jake and I did this at one point and it fizzled out. We probably need to do it again though.
    We’d get envelopes, get out cash for each anticipated expense (besides bills) and put it in the labeled envelopes. When it was gone, it was gone. That way we were able to look at the CASH and say “well, that’s gone” instead of looking at our checkbook and saying “oooh, there’s still some here what can we do with it?” And the envelope system left money in our account at the end of the month too. 😯

    Hmmm, yeah, we might need to do that again.

    I had to laugh at the title….. I hate the longer months b/c it throws off the pay days. πŸ˜†

  3. May 31, 2008 12:51 pm

    I try to put saving tips on my blog from time to time but I understand the ministry budget. My dad was a Pastor and I have worked in ministry as well. It’s tough at times financially but the people usually step up and try to assist.
    I have a few blogs I visit you can see on my blog log that offer great money saving advice. Otherwise budget, menu plan, and no debt is the basic advice. Debt enslaves and keeps us from options.
    Blessings

  4. May 31, 2008 12:57 pm

    You do know somebody that puts away $300 per month!

    Late in 2007 I decided that I needed to be more aggressive in paying off our debt (student loans / credit card / mortgage), so I started having $25 per week directly deposited from my paycheck into my savings account. I never saw it, and our spending adjusted accordingly. I raised it to $50 soon after, and a few months ago I increased it to $75 per week. Tonia now has $25 per paycheck (bi-monthly) directly deposited as well.

    It’s great because like I said we don’t see it and adjust our spending to what we have in checking. It’s rough at first, but knowing that you can actually tap into that to pull you out of a rough spot is nice.

    And we’ve used that to pay off almost $7000 in debt (above normal payments) this year alone.

    Believe me when I say that we don’t make tons of money, but we do both work and have decent jobs.

    I am so into this stuff! I’ve been meaning to do another post on this subject. I completely buy into the idea of living beneath your means. Here and Here are two previous posts I did on the subject.

    —-

    Now go fix that other post to show that I was at your Mogulus/UStream party!! πŸ™‚

  5. HeatherBlankenship permalink
    May 31, 2008 1:01 pm

    Tam- I feel the pain…ministry salary is not the way to get rich! Jon and I are blessed enough that I don’t have to work, which seems unheard of nowadays! Our budget is tight though. Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He is really excellent and funny about money and budgeting. His program helped us a lot. Our gas budget is about 300 for both of us too… groceries are 400… but sometimes we have to use that for gas….depending on the month! Envelope system is what Dave uses..it is wonderful!
    My biggest money saver- coupons! Go to a store that doubles the value of the coupons. We have a local store that occasionally triples the value of coupon…that is like tons of free food!

  6. HeatherBlankenship permalink
    May 31, 2008 1:02 pm

    PS- What are savings ?? I have none! πŸ™‚

  7. May 31, 2008 1:15 pm

    I love the envelope system. that’s what we’ve been using since January and it is freeing. It works for us.

    Our food budget is also 400 – for the four of us.

    Our gas is actually 250.00 for both of us. that is extremely hard right now.

    we do have a small entertainment budget that i am extremely frugal with because it isn’t much either.

    Martha, i will check out those blogs. Thank you!

    Faith – how ya feeling??
    other than that we pay our house and utility payments. no car payments. and like you Heather, no $$$ left for savings.

    I just don’t know how people are doing it these days.

  8. May 31, 2008 1:41 pm

    (my comment is locked in your spam folder)

  9. May 31, 2008 1:43 pm

    How are your utilities? Leaving lights on when you go out?? What did you leave on when you went to the church to do the video chat?? Look at energy consumption.

    Send Kass & Kota to Mama & Papa for the summer – we have no boys here – Kass would be safe! :o)

    Cost saving – use rule #11!

  10. May 31, 2008 2:03 pm

    PAPA! You really like rule #11 dontcha??? πŸ˜€

    Mud – OK – so I do know one person πŸ˜‰ That’s awesome Mud!!! I am impressed! Trust me when I say…there is absolutely NO room in our budget to do that. not even close. we don’t have credit card bills anymore. We budget for necessities and a very tiny bit for the kids. that’s it. here in the next few weeks we’re actually gonna be losing more of our income cuz we have to adjust our taxes AGAIN, and we’re gonna feel it real bad.

    When I am able to do odds and end jobs it helps with things like getting Kass contacts last month. HUGE blessing that was! God is so good!

    I’m not complaining. At all. God has never not provided for us. and even though we’re tight we have more than what we need. A TON more than most. I am daily grateful and humbled by how HE provides for us. He is too good to our family!

  11. May 31, 2008 2:41 pm

    A pretty good site with savings tips is frugaltimes-dot-com From the site:

    “SAVE MONEY ON CLOTHES When it comes to clothes, I shop at thrift stores and yard sales. You can find the best deals at yard sales but sometimes it can be hard to find the size your looking for. Sometimes they’ll tell you to fill a bag for $1.00. If this doesn’t happen clothes are usually very cheap anyway. A lot of times I find children’s and adult clothing for 25 cents each.

    The thrift stores are a bit more. There are a variety of prices but all are usually at least 30% less than retail if not more. I like to go to thrift stores on their sale days such as 50% off day to save even more. There are still times when I buy clothes brand new (usually clearance sales), but most of the time I shop the thrift stores. Not only do I save money but I find a bigger variety.”

    “SAVE MONEY ON FOOD For food, I try to buy only sale items and shop at the Canned Food Warehouse. The Canned Food Warehouse is a store in our area that sells food for much less than retail stores. I’m pretty sure most major cities have stores like these.

    Each week when I receive the grocery ads, I go through them to see if there are any good buys — and I mean GOOD buys — not just .10 cents off. If I see tuna 4/$1, I go buy as many as the budget will allow and stock up on it even if I already have some. This method not only saves us money but it ensures we always have food on hand.

    To shop like this, you need a place to store the food. I quickly found out my kitchen cupboards and refrigerator freezer weren’t big enough to store this amount of food so we put a pantry in our garage along with a huge freezer.

    Keep in mind that you can also stock up like this with toilet paper, shampoo, soap, detergent, etc.

    Another way to save money on food is to be sure to use all your leftovers. This has always been a challenge for me but I do try to do my best. I have improved using leftovers over the years by planning. For example, if I make a large pot roast, I plan on making roast and vegetables the first night, hot roast beef sandwiches the second night and BBQ beef the third. If I plan, it gets used. If I don’t plan, only sometimes it gets used.”

    “MAKE YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD SPRAY CLEANER Make your own household cleaner. I have found ammonia to be a great general household cleaner and it is so cheap! It cuts through grease and makes everything shine. I buy the 64 oz. size ammonia for about .89 cents at the grocery store. To make the cleaner I put about 1/4 cup into a cleaned out spray bottle that I’ve saved from some other cleaner, add a drop or two of dish soap, about 20 drops of essential or aroma oil for a nice scent and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water.

    If you buy pre-made cleaners from the store, this alone will save you quite a bit! The pre-made cleaners are usually around $3.00 for just one spray bottle. Consider how many spray bottles full an .89 cent 64 oz. container of ammonia will make when using only 1/4 cup full in each bottle! That’s a BIG savings!”

  12. May 31, 2008 2:47 pm

    Thank you for this Tam.
    I am horribly worried that I won’t find a job to replace the one that I am loosing. I have been trying very hard to remember that God will provide for us. In the mean time, we have started to have discussions like which car we can do without, and altenate heating soluions for fall and winter.

    Up till now we have been blessed with good jobs–both of us–that pay well. Although having a child here now really pulls on me to want to be here more for her, I am realistic enough to know that financially we can’t keep what we have if I don’t work. (no, we don’t need the house we have but we couldn’t sell it now if we wanted to for multiple reasons) So I am beginning to sweat a little over it, and it’s causing me to re-focus these verses in Matthew and Luke:

    Mat 6:31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
    33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    Luke 12:32″Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    I will be watching here for suggestions on budget planning. I’m wishing now we had done more to save when we could..but now is here and we have to learn what so many before us have learned…tighten belts, turn off lights, and PRAY!

  13. May 31, 2008 2:53 pm

    nope.

  14. May 31, 2008 3:20 pm

    I wish I could help with tips Tam but I have never been good at saving or budgeting. Luckily I married someone who is very good at it.

  15. May 31, 2008 3:32 pm

    Idiot and I have that in common – married someone who is good at it! Very good at budgeting!

  16. May 31, 2008 4:29 pm

    “We’re in the ministry so making loads of cash isn’t an option”

    My wife is a school teacher and I am a grad student, you are preaching to the choir here.

    Regarding tips. I will have a post coming up on this soon. Have you tried using the envelope method? I’ve found that with things like food budget you can shave up to 25% off your food budget with the simple change of putting all the money you will spend on food in a month in a single envelope. If you are serious with that limit you can make your money stretch far. Plus, there is no bigger black hole for extra cash like Wal-mart.

    Like I said swing by my blog sometime Monday for more details.

  17. May 31, 2008 4:57 pm

    Tam, thinking on this post all day and I have to say I am not too happy with us right now. 😳

    We got a lot of money for the move and haven’t really been well with it. And not saved any of it. Granted, half of it is going to pay off some big bills, but that other half?? What have I done with it?? Nothing I SHOULD have done with it that’s for sure. *sigh*

    You have inspired me Miss. Tonight, guess what I’m doing?? Completely revamping our budget….something I haven’t done since we’ve been here. 😳

    Just b/c you HAVE extra money doens’t mean it needs to be spent. A lesson that is a hard one for me to learn…..AND remember. 😐

  18. May 31, 2008 4:58 pm

    The envelope method is a good one.

    We live in the South so we tend to get away with eating lots of beans and cornbread with fried potatoes on the side…cheap meals, no eating out, that’s how we got through our lean years. Thrift stores and selling any unnecessary items…staying away from the mall and not looking through “Better Homes and Gardens” kept me away from wishing [coveting?] for more.

    A couple of years ago, when our world fell apart, we quickly took inventory of any assets. Remortgaged our home, got rid of some insurance coverage, and sold the Expedition — sometimes the things we think we need are just extra burdens when push comes to shove.

    We regularly read Matthew 6…still do.

    ♥ U

  19. May 31, 2008 5:25 pm

    I hear you Tam – with the rising cost of gas and food its challenging.

  20. May 31, 2008 6:06 pm

    We use the Dave ramsey approach except no envelopes. And like you when it’s gone it’s gone. Our budget is much less friendly than yours … our gas budget is 120 for both of us and our food budget is 300 for the 4 of us … tricky times but I want to be a SAHM so we make the sacrifices and no we do not have an extra $300 a month to put away … wish we did!

  21. May 31, 2008 6:59 pm

    remortgaged our home? 😳

    That would be dumb…

    refinanced with lower interest

  22. May 31, 2008 7:03 pm

    We use the envelope method – but we only have one envelope – on the front it says “”Mama Only!” All the money goes in there!

  23. TheNorEaster permalink
    May 31, 2008 7:09 pm

    “Do you have any special savings tips or creative budgeting that you have found beneficial?”

    First, my savings is at a different bank and I do not have an ATM card with that account. I do have a certain amount of money that I set aside every single week for my savings.

    Second, when I see something I might want, I run the cost through my head based on my current budget. Most of the time, the answer turns out to be, “Nope.” Although sometimes, it’s, “Not yet.”

    Third, I try to be content with what I have. I run the soles of my sneakers down to my socks, wear my jeans until the holes are so big and so faded I cannot even donate them, and my jackets I keep forever (one of them I’ve had since 1995 and another has been around since 1983).

    And I limit my gas budget to one tank a month, which, with about a 12-gallon tank in my compact sedan, comes out to roughly $48.

    Of course, by the end of summer, those 12 gallons will probably cost $5,000,000.

    Personally, I’m thinking about getting a bicycle.

    Or a horse.

  24. May 31, 2008 7:10 pm

    We also use the envelope system. Our food, toiletry, (basically everything used in the house) budget is $450 a month.

    We have no debt except the house and 1 car payment ($651.24 a month GASP!). Tried to sell it….it ain’t happenin’.

    The part that kills us is the gas. Hubby is a traveling salesman. Although they reimburse us per mile, it is below the national price & WAY below the price of gas. We spend about $600-$700 a month on gas and are reimbursed about half.

    I actually can make a few hundred bucks buying stuff during yard sale season and reselling on ebay. I haven’t done it in a few months, but things are going to be rough over the next few months. I’ll be starting again soon.

    As for clothing, we swap w/ other families. They hand it down, then we pass it along. I just add decorative patches where there are holes or cut & sew stuff to make it the right size.

  25. May 31, 2008 7:21 pm

    im loving all of this friends! I hope everyone is getting something out of this discussion!

    the clothing budget can be hard with kids too. My daughter has lots of hand me downs from another girl who gets to shop at all the cool places. so it works well for my daughter.

    i have lots of handed down clothes too. and when i actually do buy something for myself, it is very rare for me to spend more than 10 bucks on one piece of clothing. I just wont spend more than that. and i make shoes last forever!

    i cut and color everyones hair, so there’s no extra expense there.

    and i have even found a way to make my monthly meds last beyond their 30 days. i can stretch them to 90 sometimes. that’s a great saver too.

    every little thing adds up!

    i do lots of what has already been said, and i have learned a lot more too. you all are savvy people!!!

  26. May 31, 2008 7:31 pm

    i’ve been doing this thing called not buying stuff. it seems to do the trick.

  27. May 31, 2008 7:32 pm

    πŸ™‚

  28. May 31, 2008 7:50 pm

    This is mama – We have 3 envelopes: one is church tithe, one is Master card and one is American Express card. Papa does the main charging and Mama does the main paying. Of course Papa is the one that earned the money. of course we pay off the cards each month. A long time ago we got into big trouble with cards but we have learned not to charge more than we can pay off that month. It works well for us. Mama

  29. May 31, 2008 7:56 pm

    This is Papa – I see mama mentioned tithing. We truly believe everything we have is really Gods – it belongs to him. Mama writes the tithe check first – plus offerings, which are above and beyond the tithe. Our tithe is 10% of the gross – not the net. If we have 2000 dollars gross income, 200 is tithe, then taxes, insurance come out. We have done that in the lean years as well as the fat years.

  30. May 31, 2008 8:51 pm

    We found Dave Ramsey a year ago last January. The envelope system has really help to set us free. We are kinda’ on hold with paying off our remaining debt at the moment because we are trying to adopt and cash flow it so we don’t go into debt.

    Two things we also found last year via one of the links off of Dave’s website were http://www.grocerygame.com, which really works to help you use those coupons in the most effective way. We also discovered the simple formula for making your own laundry detergent! Yes, it works and it is super cheap!

    Use -one cup of Borax (twenty mule team detergent)
    – one cup of Arm & hammer Washing Soda (this is not their detergent or the baking soda, it is a separate product)
    – one bar of Ivory bath soap ground in a cheese grader
    – mix the three ingredients together in a storage container
    – use one table spoon per load

    I am very serious this works and it is literally pennies per load. It doesn’t make suds but it will clean like nobodies business!

    We are in ministry too! So we will be praying for you guys!

  31. Heidi permalink
    May 31, 2008 9:28 pm

    So.. my hair is getting a little long and grey, so if I get up there I get the full treatment???

    I agree with mama tithing has been essential for us. In the real lean times we tithed 10% of our gross (like now) and when were in plentiful times it was 15% off our gross.

    God has always honored that.

  32. May 31, 2008 9:36 pm

    yes, tithing is crucial. we do tithe regularly as well. it’s just a given really!

    Jack, thanks for the link…and thanks for stopping by and leaving some great tips!

  33. May 31, 2008 9:37 pm

    yes Heidi – come on up – I’ll do your hair! Of course it’ll cost $1,852.00 in gas 😯

  34. May 31, 2008 9:43 pm

    Tithe…….first and foremost. He says it. Just do it….
    Can’t explain how that all works out. But it is amazing. This one thing has affected us more than anything else WE have done!

  35. May 31, 2008 9:48 pm

    Practical things? I cut Sean’s hair every two weeks. High and tight baby! and now to CAPITILZE….I am teaching my girls, one by one, how to cut hair!

    Second hand shopping! I wore a new pair of shoes that I bought at the good will, and yesterday, alone recevied 4 compliments on how cute my shoes were! yea baby…$2.99

    Once a month cooking…..oh yea, this is the best!

    Garden sharing…..I love giving plants away from my yard!
    much cheaper, and they come with love!

    Tam….I think we need another day on this topic soon! πŸ™‚

  36. May 31, 2008 9:58 pm

    that’s capitalize….ughhh:-)

  37. May 31, 2008 10:02 pm

    Storie – i do everything you say except gardening. HAHAHAHA!!! tried it, failed it. It’s actually quite comical πŸ˜€

    Yes, we need to get together girl! soon!

  38. May 31, 2008 10:17 pm

    So what is it with gardening girl?

  39. May 31, 2008 10:20 pm

    well. im pro-life. but my gardening does not reflect that too well

    πŸ˜•

  40. May 31, 2008 10:20 pm

    That’s it! I am coming over wih my red wagon chuck full of all kinds of surprised for you…..WE can do it! You keep so many other things alive…reationships, people….plants are a breeze!
    Yes, I agree, we do need to get together. I really miss you….

  41. May 31, 2008 10:22 pm

    Funny, we were typing the same thought at the same time…..pro-life, people, relationships….
    You have a PEOPLE GARDEN! πŸ™‚ i truly understand….

    miss you

  42. May 31, 2008 11:11 pm

    Money Talks – i find what it generally says to me most is: ‘Good-Bye!” πŸ™‚

    I basically don’t earn money these days – other than interest and some small share profits so saving comes second third and fourth nature to me, plus i long ago learned what i want is far more than i ever need, and spend accordingly.

    I hear your ‘pain’ Tam – i am luckier than most ( in one way) not having a wife and kids to raise and care for – just my sorry self.

    One piece of financial advice i got and put into practice when i was earning income though i think is invaluable above all other.

    It’s kind of like the envelope system many have suggested with one major exception…

    All the ‘must pay’ envelopes for Gas, rent/mortgage, food, electricity, phone, credit cards ( if you are ‘lucky’ enough to still have any) πŸ™‚ generally hold the money for someone else – banks, utility companies, grocers, service stations…

    But of all who have a claim to your money earned there is one who Deserves it above ALL of these… and that one is YOU ( along with your immediate family). Make sure the FIRST envelope you put money in for is YOU Pay yourself FIRST – then pay all the must pays.

    This is hard for many to grasp as it goes against many of the things we, and especially as Christians, are taught.

    What you do with the money in this envelope is entirely up to you – but don’t waste it paying off things other people/companies own.

    Donate it to African Missions, put it to the Church Roof Repair Foundation or buy clothes and food for the poor if you so deem it ‘necessary’, but the money you make or have control over – is what has been earned by ‘you’ in fair labour. It should be your’s first – then necessities – then luxuries.

    Just who do you and Brent work for anyway? A bank? a Utility? A Supermarket Chain?

    Just who do you think God’s major shareholders are????

    You are very valuable to Him – never sell yourselves short if you are to be worthy of Him.

    and i know God does not buy people off with money – nor does he measure people’s true worth in it.

    But while we are on this earth it is a ‘necessary’ evil and so long as never place the love of it above the love of Him we deserve to be fairly rewarded for our labour.

    Pay YOU first!

    <B

  43. May 31, 2008 11:27 pm

    I love Love. Anyone second that? πŸ˜‰

    Good advice!

  44. May 31, 2008 11:53 pm

    Sell everything including your kids and move to Africa.

  45. June 1, 2008 5:46 am

    Hi again. It’s me. So I forgot to mention…my friend is involved with this way cool ministry http://www.generousgiving.org/ that is all about figuring out what you and your family can live on and then giving away the rest…FREEDOM is what I call it. I know that it isn’t necessarily what you are talking about…but kinda if you look at it and think about it with your eyes closed. Sort of. Just a thought.

  46. June 1, 2008 7:09 am

    We don’t have any savings right now. With us having paid for the entire wedding in March, we didn’t have much left to save.

    I just continue to trust God for provision. We tithe and God continues to provide in the most unexpected ways!

    Of course we continue to use wisdom concerning spending money but we make sure we are in agreement when we do.

    I wish we could set up a formal savings system [I call the current one tithing πŸ˜‰ ] but with us going on one salary now, that may be a little harder to manage.

    Thanks for the budgeting tips. This season is going to be new for us with being one salary, possibly having a house payment and higher utility bills but I know God will be faithful to provide for that is who He is, Jehovah Jirah, our Lord God the Provider!

  47. June 1, 2008 7:34 am

    Just don’t spend. Yeah. That’ll work.

    Actually, we are very tight on our fuel purchasing. We don’t just hop in the car to go grab something in town. We are 8 miles out of town so we plan our trips and get lots of things at one time. Oh, and tearing your calf muscle and not being able to drive and get up a lot for several weeks sure helps on the gas, too.

    Just a thought πŸ™‚

  48. June 1, 2008 8:09 am

    isn’t it amazing that when the money runs out and there is still month left, that we survive and still seem to lack nothing…?? God always provides..and I praise him for getting us through many months where we were left scatching our heads…and our tax person scratches their head..as to how we live and have so much, with so little.. πŸ˜† GOd rocks!

  49. June 1, 2008 9:33 am

    It is absolutely wonderful to hear how people are trying to cut corners and save money.

    I know it is tough but at the same time, we are getting into terrific habits of simply being great stewards with the resources (money, time, etc.) of what we do have.

    I am in a very unique situation as a divorced single dad who sees his kid often and has him every weekend.

    My child support takes 20% of my gross income. It doesn’t lower my taxable income. I can’t claim a dependent. I am essentially a single person with 20% less income.

    So what do I do?

    I reduce everything else:

    1. Live with roommates – Going from a very small apartment with rent and bills totally around $800 to living with two guys in a house with the same being $400 a month.

    2. Living closer to where you work – Lived in Dallas, worked in Ft Worth. Spending $800 in gas per month. Cut the distance in half. spending about $300. A/C broke at the beginning of a Texas summer (which I can get fixed with warranty) but then I started researching public transpo. Now, I spend $50 for a zone pass for my county (train, bus covered no matter what) and restricting my driving (due to heat) to nighttime. I bet I can limit my gas spending to less than $100 a month.

    Next step, living across the street from my work and then taking the train to see my son.

    3. Food – For me, don’t eat out. For work, I bought groceries and store them there. For home, 20 bucks per weekend usually gets us through.

    This is the way I want to live. If God gives me more, that doesn’t mean I spend more. That means I give more.

    God is my inheritance and portion forever. God never fails to provide. It is not my government, my employer, oil companies, economy but in Him do I trust.

  50. June 1, 2008 10:11 am

    drew and i try to live off of as little as possible. back when we both had real incomes, we lived off what we needed (not wanted), tucked away a TON of money that we knew we’d need for seminary, and gave the rest to those that needed it! we paid for both of our cars up front, wrote a check, no payments or credit card debt at all.

    now, we’re using some of that ton o’ savings to get by here, but we are still able to give a little and are so glad that we can!

    we still spend more than most people in the world, and by all standards consider ourselves RICH, but for the rest of our friends/family, i’m sure they worry about us.
    but, who knew being poor could be so strangely fun and liberating at the same time?!
    πŸ™‚

  51. Patrick permalink
    June 1, 2008 11:06 am

    Hello, I found your blog by accident when I was surfing wordpress.

    I would like firstly to say that I am an Ex-Christian, and I fell kind of hard out of the faith about 3 years ago, and since that time spent alot of my time searching for understanding and purpose in the physical world, not the spiritual one, but I would like to offer some advice from/about the physical world.

    The industry that you work in is called the services industry – you provide a ‘product’ or service that is called intangible. For example, you aren’t selling wheat (food), or crude oil (energy), or providing wood from a forest on your property for sale (construction). Your work probably falls more into the category of advice, comfort etc. When there is an economic downturn, a recession, depression, call it what you will, services suffer. You yourself said you are cutting/colouring your families hair (haircuts are a service). Consider the wider consequences of what is happening in America, and you will realize that many other people will be in a situation similiar to yours – that they are cutting back on spending in services, because the cost of living is rising (fuel, food, rent/mortage) etc.

    If your particular situation is that you are dependant on the generosity of others for income (givings at a church service), and it is quite logical to assume that things are getting hard for all of your churchgoers, then to me the obvious solution would be to take up paying work elsewhere. By not being dependant on others you both free up more of their income for themselves and you will quite possibly earn more than you are currently making. Perhaps a way to ‘test the water’ would be to take up a second part time job.

    What I mean is, the problem is not your budget, the problem is your income. The cost of living is actually going up, FOR EVERYONE. Not only that, but a job in ministry depends on other people HAVING DISPOSABLE INCOME (which they have less of because of the economic circumstances). The job you are working in, if it doesn’t provide enough income, you should change jobs. I think especially if you have a family.

    That is my opinion/advice. Take up a second job, or change to a job that pays more.

    The bible is full of strange examples of monetary advice or tests of faith/belief/will. For instance you could hope and pray that god makes everything okay for you, but god might be testing you (look at the horrible things god did to Job in the name of tests). Maybe its up to you, maybe you can roll up your sleeves and make a difference, that whats I’m saying.

    The advice mathew gives about god providing for the birds and insects is fine, but human beings now live in huge populations that are distributed in a complicated manner. The fact of the matter is that without organized and industrialized agriculture, the natural environment would not provide enough food and sustenance for people to live the way that they do. The circumstance everyone is living through is a man made system – man made systems of food, construction, energy, finance etc. The solutions to these problems exist in the real world too.

    All the best for your circumstances, I hope you are able to find a way to make it through the hard times.

  52. June 1, 2008 1:27 pm

    Patrick, thank you for stopping by!

    I totally understand what you’re saying and i agree with most πŸ˜‰

    Brent, my husband, hasn’t had an increase in pay in nearly 5 years. In fact, due to a major tax mishap (not on our part) we make less now. Brent also works other jobs regularly. he is an studio engineer by trade so he always has his hands in that. It has been a blessing and God has always provided those extra jobs when needed.

    Sure, we could quit the ministry – but that wouldn’t free up what the people, including us, choose to give out of the abundance and joy of their hearts. Giving at our church actually hasn’t gone down. Anyway, I don’t believe God wants us to quit the ministry just because we can’t hike up our gas budget. Like i said in the post, if we were interested in making lots of money we wouldn’t be in ministry. I never said I wanted to make more money – i am just curious as to how people are making what they have stretch a little more.

    I don’t want more money. More will skew my focus. More will trap me. We know ourselves better than that. We want to be good stewards of what we already have. Of everything.

    I’m sorry you fell out of love with Christ. That grieves my heart. But i’m glad you “accidentally” found my blog πŸ™‚ I hope you come back! It’s pretty fun around here Patrick! Would love to have you around…

    Kristiapplesauce – I forgot to mention that we do support a child in Africa through Compassion. His name is Ogutu Ivan and he’s 7 years old. He’s the most beautiful, smart, compassionate, artistic and determined boy i have ever “met”!

  53. heatherblankenship permalink
    June 1, 2008 2:36 pm

    I am back… Something that I have seen lately is that God started really leading us to give even when we did not have it to give. I will be honest, it was really hard and still is at times, though its getting easier. There have been months when even though we were technically broke, we would give to someone less fortunate than us…and miraculously our checking account would somehow stretch. I don’t know how that happens…just supernatural. But I am really learning about being merely a conduit for the finances of God to go where He wants them to go and He supplies what I need in the meanwhile.

  54. June 1, 2008 2:47 pm

    yes. i think one of the things we get confused on is needs versus wants.

    that has been slightly addressed here by a few but it is a big blur for many.

    Do you (as in anyone) need the highest speed internet?
    Do you need the big satellite package?
    Do you need the Sunday paper?
    Do you need to go to the car wash once a week?

    cutting those things out there – if one had all of those – would save easily over a 100 bucks a month…maybe closer to 200. that’s huge!!!

    that is money we can use to put some away and to help others with. it’s all about priorities. ya wanta know what you’re priorities are, look at your bank statement. that can be painful πŸ˜•

  55. TheNorEaster permalink
    June 1, 2008 3:31 pm

    “Do you need the highest speed internet?”
    Sadly, I am not very patient with the Internet. Worse than that, it doesn’t matter how fast it goes; patience with computers has never been my strength.

    “Do you need the big satellite package?”
    I don’t have that. I just have extended basic cable so that I can watch The Red Sox. I’d get rid of it at the end of the season–there is NEVER anything else on worth watching–but it’s part of a package deal with phone and internet.

    “Do you need the Sunday paper?”
    I don’t get the Sunday paper. Once in a while, I buy local paper for fifty cents–which I get from my jar of savings…Err…Quarters, that is! πŸ˜†

    “Do you need to go to the car wash once a week?”
    I NEVER wash my car. NEVER EVER EVER EVER.

    Prestige in God’s eyes has nothing to do with income or credit or cash or clothes or the kind of car we drive. 😎 But the least shall be the greatest. πŸ˜‰

  56. June 1, 2008 7:11 pm

    I think the main thing is to look – try to spot those areas where you can cut back. Cut out the extra shopping trips – combine them – make a list and do it all in one trip. When I retired we even dropped a vehicle – we are now a one vehicle family. That was a major savings. We do not have cable – watch very little TV. Cell phone is on with my daughters plan. Just sit down and take inventory do it three ways:
    1) Each family member make a list – privately.
    2) All family members get together and discuss
    3) Mom and dad sit down – together and make final decisions together – whole family can help.

  57. HeatherBlankenship permalink
    June 1, 2008 8:05 pm

    Hey tam…and all- Hope I did not come across as a total know it all! I just came back to read more and think I sound like a pompous jerk… Sorry! Not my intention! I was in a hurry when I wrote out my comment. Trust me I don’t have all the answers! NO WHERE NEAR IT! πŸ™‚

  58. June 1, 2008 8:12 pm

    Heather, my goodness NO. Not at all!

    I just re-read your comments too i dont get that one bit. you are sharing from experience and certainty of seeing and knowing how God works in your situation. Im glad you shared that. so no worries at all missy. got it? πŸ˜‰

    love you!

  59. June 1, 2008 8:13 pm

    My friend’s just told me about craigslist.org http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites.html
    Choose your city and you can navigate to the free stuff
    Go through your house–what can you sell–garage sale? what can you give away for the tax deduction?
    Offer to barter–I cleaned my Chiropractor’s home & office in exchange for treatment(I wasn’t insured at the time); my friend bartered secretary services for her 2 daughters’ ballet classes
    Change your W4 form with your employer–not sure how that works for the church–take the most exemptions possible that will not leave you paying tax in April to give you extra cash in your check.
    Develop a local network of friends via email–kind of a bulletin board exchange. I guess that would be like eBay except you don’t have to pay for shipping!
    Fake dates: After the kids go to bed, we order out or I cook something special just for the grown ups and we enjoy it alone.
    Check anything that charges you fees: bank accounts, cable or satellite, cell phones, home phones, etc. What can you reduce? We got rid of our land line phone and switched cell phone plans so for the same price, we ended up with two cell phones instead of just the one we can afford. No more sales calls. Be sure though that you have some sort of outlet for internet–cable or wifi or satellite.
    Check websites of stores and restaurants. Some offer online coupons or email clubs that provide coupons and exclusive offers. That’s how we usually treat our family for dinner.
    Check your grocery list: what are you buying that you don’t need to? Name brands? high fat & sugar foods and snacks? Soda/Pop? Bottled water–compare the cost of a filter system like Brita to what you spend on the bottles?
    Utilities: Do things that use lots of energy during off peak hours–especially laundry or running the dishwasher
    Remember to reward yourself when you do see some savings occurring. And consider your time as well. Sometimes going the extra mile takes extra stress.

  60. June 1, 2008 8:14 pm

    Oh and I forgot one on utilities. Save on the water bill. Shower together. πŸ˜‰ But not as a family. That’s creepy.

  61. June 1, 2008 9:29 pm

    my tip? put all of these together, write a book, make that extra $300 and put it to the gas tank!

    [I’m also now more swayed to this bad-word-“budget” thing…ugh!]

  62. June 1, 2008 9:36 pm

    wow Joni! you are one resourceful lady! πŸ™‚ I sure hope everyone who reads these comments are taking some of these tips and putting them into play. They are all so fabulous! But joni, do you really think a shower for two actually saves on water and time??? πŸ˜€

    Stegall – Great Minds!!! I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING!!!

  63. June 1, 2008 11:56 pm

    Well i follow non buying tips from Judith levine
    it really works, I use donated clothings and always pursuing free things in this life. It’s quite hard in beginning but once you sacrifice a little self dignity it’s a great lifestyle.

  64. June 2, 2008 8:01 am

    Thank you for posting this. Now that my hubby works for our church, we too have started to be stretched in our finances. It’s a sacrifice, but SOOOO rewarding to be doing what you love.

  65. June 2, 2008 8:07 am

    Judi thats a good point! I’d rather be very tight and doing what we love than have more $$$ money than we know what to do with and be miserable in our jobs…

  66. June 2, 2008 3:10 pm

    i’m sorry things are so tight for you guys. i have no suggestions, really… we’re in the same boat. i’ll trust God for provisional breakthrough for you as i trust Him for it for us…

    (and i’d love to hear more about what you guys do in ministry… wanna email when you have some time?)

  67. June 2, 2008 3:21 pm

    TAM! trying to reach you…on IM now and will send you an email in a little while if I can’t catch you..let you a message..and a text..hahahaha persistent huh??? LOVE YOU!!!

  68. June 2, 2008 4:58 pm

    Tam:
    I use tons of coupons. I clip patiently on sundays. so when I do venture out to do the groceries I go with list in hand and all the coupons clipped to it. This alone has cut 25% of our groceries.

    Savings? What does that mean anyways?

    Specially now days with the gas ridiculous increases.

    When it comes to that, I haven’t been leaving the house as much. I now only venture out for business or what ever else twice weekly. This way I only need to fill up once rather than twice as I was doing last month.

    And I stay away from the Mall. I can not deal with the temptation….

    For enterntainment we basically stay home and watch whatever is on tv, or recycle an old movie. Oh, and ther is no eating out either……

    That too is gone….

    xoxo
    Ivy

  69. Amy permalink
    June 5, 2008 7:22 am

    Some cool coupon sites are:

    eversave.com
    couponcabin.com
    coolsavings.com
    mypoints.com

    I just go to the printable coupons and use those. Some have coupons for other things. Also before you buy anything online check out retailmenot.com. I love garage sales too.

  70. July 6, 2008 5:39 pm

    Okay, THIS was the post I was looking for. πŸ˜‰

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