Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Small Reminders of a Big Love

Earlier this year, I mentioned that we started a budget.  Basically, we want to be better stewards of the money we are blessed with, and a budget has done that for us.  It has also helped make expenses more predictable and has actually given me a freedom that I didn't have.  I know it sounds backwards to say that establishing a budget would actually give us more options, but it has. We have a set amount that we spend each week on 'other' expenses, such as clothing, entertainment, dinner out, and other non-grocery items.  Before, we didn't have this budgeted, so anytime I spent any money on non-grocery items, I felt a little guilty.

Another way that it has given me freedom, is that now I don't feel bad about saying "no" to things.  Since we do have a budget, sometimes things come up that we just don't do.  We pick what our priorities are, and we stick with them.  I know that if an expense comes up that is beyond our 'other' budget, that we are taking away from our food budget, and it's really easy to say no to something when it would involve taking food away from your children.  I've had to become more assertive, which has been difficult, but also liberating.

Unfortunately, I'm not perfect.  I've miscalculated our amount spent, which has (more than once or twice) resulted in needing to take away from what we normally put into savings.  Also, more than once, it's allowed us the opportunity to see how God constantly provides.  I'm going to list a few things that have happened just since April.
  • When X went gluten-free, we had to buy some new baking flours.  They flours and rising agents were quite a bit more than I had anticipated ($20 for xanthan gum and gf flour).  It just so happened that X-Man (for the first time in months) needed a prescription filled for his eczema.  It also just so happened that I had a $20 cash-back coupon for the pharmacy, so the unanticipated charges were covered - we met our budget within a dollar that week.
  • A few weeks ago, I went over budget by two dollars.  When we got home, Ben received a survey in the mail with two dollars in it. Goosebumps.
  • Earlier this week, we had some extra expenses.  We had only $25 dollars left in our budget (food plus other) by Tuesday.  I wanted to go to the fair with my sister, and out to a fancy restaurant with one of my very good friends for her 30th birthday, but we knew we wouldn't be able to do both.  Well, Tuesday evening, I had paypal funds of $90 become available for an ebay sale I had made.  Entrees at the restaurant are around $20, so this was the perfect amount for all four of us to go to dinner (we ended up making it a date night, but still - awesome!).  Then, on Wednesday, a day before we would go to the fair, I received a check in the mail for $44 from our bank.  This was plenty for the fair! 
I know some people will say these are coincidences, but I don't buy that.  I believe that God takes care of His children by giving them small reminders of His big love.

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