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 jalapeno...it'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.