After feeling like I had a pretty good handle on the submission thing – not that I had mastered it but at least I knew what was required – I felt led to take a drastic step. Up until this point, I knew that when I quit my job, we would have to tighten our financial belts – in the future. But I knew that God was calling me to tighten up what I could now. A particular passage really spoke to me. It is the one that says that “he who is faithful in little will be put in charge of much.” (Luke 16)
I realized that what might seem “little” with two incomes, would be “much” with one. I needed to learn to become more responsible with money. Matt has always handled our finances, and for the most part, the only part of our finances that I’ve ever really had control over was our grocery and household budget. And that was an area that I knew would need to be corrected when I stayed home.
I felt convicted to start becoming more responsible in that area before we ever had the need to do so. I felt that easily spending $600 per month on groceries and household items plus eating out a few meals per week left ample room to improve.
The first thing I did was start following money saving web sites like Money Saving Mom, Faithful Provisions, and Common Sense with Money. Money Saving Mom taught me how to grocery shop – matching coupons with sales for example. She would post her grocery shopping trips and I learned her tricks. Faithful Provisions taught me how to build a stockpile of foods when they are at their lowest price. Common Sense with Money (along with the other two as well) would post the best coupon match-ups (and where to find the coupons) with deals at the stores I shopped at. In essence, I was learning long-term strategies while catching the “deals” as they came about. Through these deals I stocked up on many items such as toothpaste, body wash, razors, sanitary needs, deodorant, and other toiletries for next to nothing.
I also started making homemade bread and rolls instead of buying them (thanks to a friend finding a good deal on a breadmaker, and my learning how to freeze rolls for weeknights). I started soaking my own beans instead of using pricey canned beans. I started saving leftover meats for use in other meals. I started buying large packs of items and repackaging them instead of buying the convenient “to-go” containers. Little by little, savings were adding up.
I ended up cutting $200 off our grocery budget. And although $200 is significant, it obviously wasn’t enough to make up for my full-time income. What I learned from this whole venture was that God was more interested in my heart. He wanted me to be faithful in little. And soon that “little” would be much.
Next week I will share Part 5: Reservations Along the Way
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*Disclaimer: I recognize that the working vs. stay-at-home mom debate has been fuel for countless mommy wars. I want no part of that. I know the reality that many women who work outside the home have no choice in the matter. I also know many choose to work for other reasons. The purpose for this series isn’t to convince anyone that being home is the only right decision because I don’t believe that. Instead, I simply want to share my story for those who might find our path helpful in *prayerfully* discerning which path they might take. My deepest desire is that we would all support one another. I welcome comments that achieve that end. I seek for us to build each other up – no matter where we are – and not tear down. Thank you for letting me share this very personal part of my journey with you!