Monday, October 27, 2008

How it happens

So many of you have asked how we did it. That is, spent $100 or so on groceries, etc. in the month of October. I'm going to post our methodology here. Not to puff ourselves up. In fact, you'll find it's just the opposite. In God's providence, our circumstances this month made all the difference. Read on, I'm sure you'll see what I'm talking about.

First, this was the plan: Spend a total of $125 on all flexible expenses such as groceries, miscellaneous needs, dates, clothing, family outings, etc. Check this and this out for more ideas.

We still spent money on our regular bills (electricity, mortgage, etc.), gas for the vehicles, tithing, and finishing up the garage project that was started a long time ago.

As it were, I had stocked up on diapers and wipes in September, so we didn't drop any cash on those big ticket items.

Dates were great, even though they were penniless. We went on a great walk one evening, and I can't remember what else we did. Probably walk more.

We participate in the WIC program in Minnesota, which means we get a lot of basic foods for free. Milk, cheese, cereal, beans, carrots, tuna, eggs, juice are not part of our regular spending.

We were blessed by the generosity of others. As long as the gardens are producing, we are thankful to usually be on the receiving end of great organic produce. Here is a list of the hand-me-down produce from Eric's dad and my parents this month:
  • 1/2 bushell apples
  • 20 pounds potatoes
  • 7 dozen eggs
  • At least 10 lbs. of tomatoes
  • Many, many peppers of all varieties (aren't they breath-taking?!?)
  • A small cooler of beets
  • 5 lbs. carrots
  • 10 or so cucumbers
  • 4 Buttercup squash
  • 1 lb. fresh-ground Spelt flour

As I do every fall, I spent a considerable amount of time freezing everything we couldn't use right away. There is no way we could eat up all of this in a few weeks time!

There were other gestures of generosity this month as well. Eric's Aunt Phyllis brought us a jar of her delicious strawberry freezer jam, Eric's mom bought us another jar of jam- raspberry's really good. Usually one small jar of jam wouldn't be a big deal, but it enabled us to make quite a few PB&J's (well, Almondbutter&J's)! Last Friday night I went out with a group of girl friends, expecting to pay for my meal with the debit card. But a kind, thoughtful husband of one of the ladies paid for all of our meals! Lastly, we received two bags of hand-me-down clothes for Eva, including a pair of shoes that she is wearing a ton.

As you can see, God made it easy to keep to a minuscule budget this month. But friends (and family), this is not unusual. This is God's character. He is always providing, always showering us with much more than we deserve! It builds my faith to try something like this. You see, we were never really in need. We could've decided to ditch the plan at any point and go back to spending as usual. So, the message seems to be: God provides when you play around with your budget, He will surely provide when you really need it. I am full of faith for the future, no matter what it might hold. Yes, our fruit basket hung empty more than once, but only because I didn't have time to run to Aldi.


Jenni said...

I love hearing other people's stories on how they are making life work on little amounts. The fact that your whole family could do that for $100 puts my grocery/gas/"extras" budget to shame. Even though I am stripping, a few weeks ago it hit me that I'm not paying attention to my "needs vs. wants" in ALL areas of life. (food, stopping at caribou, driving places that I could walk...etc.) So your post has been a good reminder for me to revisit those realizations I had several weeks ago!

Great job Becca!

Owlhaven said...

Isn't it amazing what God does????


Erin said...

God is awesome!
That is really encouraging to me. I think that is part of what the body of Christ is all about and why God created the family unit!
Awesome, Becca! Really a cool way to build your faith!