Last months post from MSM on Financial Shape 2008 has re-ignited my spark to get serious about being a better steward of the finances that our Lord has entrusted to our family.
We started with our grocery budget. We have always had an idea of where we want our limit to be. Usually about 200-300 a month. This budget was always more than enough for our family of 3. It also was not a very well thought out budget. I would often buy groceries frivolously without any consideration as to ways that I could more responsibly spend these funds.
Through much prayer, and commitment to consider each purchase, I am so delighted to announce that our family spent less than $100.00 for February on groceries. I committed to 25.00 per week, and every week I had money left. The left over went straight to our savings jar ( we will use this for "unexpected" weeks)
The blessings have been flowing in ABUNDANCE...quite literally. We have enough bread, cereal, lunch snacks, lunch meat, spaghetti, sauce, canned tomatoes, rice a roni, dressing, peanut butter, jelly, cookie mix,and hamburger to last us at least 6 months! It is so amazing what God can do to the finances when you surrender them to him, allowing him to use you as his tool. With less than $100.00 He has given us more than our portion, and has given us the ability, or rather the necessity, to share the abundance too. We HAD to share some because we had nowhere to put it.
It is so fascinating to witness how God works in some thing too... Let me explain. There are some chores around the house that I have been really lazy about. Because of all of the groceries that we were able to get in February, I was FORCED to clean out kitchen cabinets, pantries, even closets just to store it. Now those spaces are cleared out, and our overflow is neatly stored and organized. Ready when we are.
Also, having a more organized grocery budget led to menu planning. Knowing what is for dinner has given me less stress, as I know exactly what needs to be thawed, and what time I need to get dinner started in order to have dinner ready for my hubby when he gets home from work. It has also given me the opportunity to teach some valuable lesson to my sweet little girl on how to be a maker at home. Admittedly there have been nights when I come home and mutter..."what should I cook for dinner. " My darling daughter gently reminds me "what does the calendar say, I will get it out for you" What a JOY!
Equally wonderful is the fact that any family member can quickly refer to the calendar, and put in a special request with dinner. "Mom, can we have that really yummy homemade french bread with Spaghetti tonight?" or "Dear, can you make tonight's lasagna with turkey instead of hamburger?" I now can be more flexible with our menu, and bring joy to my family's special request, because we are prepared. I am reminded of ...
Proverb 31: 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all
her household are clothed with scarlet..... ESV
This woman has not only well prepared, but as result can provide the best possible for those in her household with care and special attention.
We also committed to establishing our emergency fund. Dave Ramsey's baby step # 1 was to save $1,000 for emergencies. Our family made a decision to save $500.00 this month and $500.00 next. I hope this wasn't a bad idea.
We jumped ahead a little to Baby Step # 2": paying down debt, smallest to largest." Fortunately we have very little credit card debt. In February we were blessed to pay off 2 of our credit cards, a personal loan and 65% of a 3rd. The 3rd card will be paid off on March 15. I have to mention that it feels so good to be freed from the bondage that debt can hold.
My dear husband requested that I put something together in a graph to record our progress. I know of this site that allows you to simply and easily put together a graph. So I have posted a pie chart graph on the refrigerator. It is a constant reminder of what the goal is, along with a way to keep my husband constantly informed as to where we are financially.
I am AMAZED at all of the things that the Lord has done with our finances in February. I am anxious to see what he will do in the months to come.