Friday, November 22, 2013

Giving on a Tight Income!

For those of us living on less there is a temptation to hold onto our money and not give to those in need. We know the daily struggle to stay within a tight budget. We work hard to stretch our  income to meet all of the expenses. What if we won't have enough to meet our own needs?

I am confronted with this question when I see a homeless person sitting on the curb with a sign for help. Or when I hear of a need at church or in my neighborhood.

Missing my 2 grandbabies who moved many miles away. 

The scriptures have a lot to say about giving to those who are poor. You may be saying, 'But I AM POOR !' Yes, compared to some we may be. But, we are rich in comparison to the homeless or our Christian brothers and sisters living in other countries or maybe even the widow living on Social Security.  Sometimes we may not have any extra to give. God understands. But, how often do we have just a little more than we need and hoard it for ourselves out of fear?

I often think of this scripture and marvel at their faith:

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saintsand this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 2 Cor. 8:1-5

They gave out of their EXTREME POVERTY! They gave BEYOND THEIR MEANS!  They BEGGED for the FAVOR to relieve the saints.  Maybe because they gave themselves FIRST TO THE LORD?!

I know things are tight for many of us.  But, it is possible to give even on a small budget. God knows what is best for us! He knows that we not only bless others when we give but we are blessed, too!

Here are a few  ideas:

  • Pick up 1 snack item(peanuts, crackers) at the dollar store along with a 6 pack of water to carry in the car along. Include a gospel tract. That way you have something to hand to the poor as you drive by.
  • Watch for needs in your neighborhood. Do you know an elderly person living on a tight budget? Maybe you could make an extra loaf of bread next time your're baking. Or take a plate of cookies? Or invite them to dinner?
  • Do you know a young family that is struggling to make ends meet? Maybe you have extras in your food pantry that your family won't eat. Maybe you could make a pot of vegetable soup to share. 
  • Do you have a garden? You could share your surplus. 
  • Do you give yourself an allowance? Possibly set aside $5 to pick up sale items to share with someone whose husband is out of work. 
  • Watch FREECYCLE giveaways for items to give to others in need. 
There are so many creative ways to give without putting a dangerous strain on your own family. Of course we must always take our husbands wishes into account.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 ESV


1. Payday has arrived! YAY! This last pay period was 5 weeks! Boy was it tight the last 2 weeks but we made it! I spent too much at the beginning which left me with $70 for 3 weeks. I divided it by 3 and only spent that amount each week buying just what was needed. I'm trying to slow down my spending this month. It's a challenge because I'm out of so much by the end of the pay period.

2. I keep the lights off during the day. At first it seemed so dark in the house but we've adjusted now. At night I keep nightlights on in the bedrooms and the bathroom so we don't have to turn on the lights except for the living room where we spend the evening.

3.  I'm ALWAYS thinking about how to lower my grocery bill. This month I'm focusing on snacks. I decided to buy more veggies for snacking instead of low carb muffins and sunflower seeds. The sunflower seed and coconut flour in the muffins are not cheap. I purchased a huge bag of organic celery at Costco for around $3, a bag of carrots and 2 bunches of radishes. They are cut and easily to find in my fridge. They are filling and less calories, too.

4.  I shopped 7 stores in one day to save money on my groceries. I made a full circle so that I didn't spend extra on gas. I hit the discount grocery stores first, the dollar store and then the main grocery store and finally Walmart. I made a list and prayed for help to stick with it.  Normally I look for deals as I'm shopping but this time I tried to stay focused on only buying what was on my list. I did find 2 great deals that just popped out at me.

5.  It rained for 3 days this week. YAY! Winter may finally be here! I did laundry while it was raining so I didn't run the rinse water from the washing machine to the flower beds. Instead, I turned off the faucet on the garbage can that holds the rinse water and let the rinse water fill up the garbage can. I now have a large garbage can full of water to use once it stops raining. I hope to buy another garbage can after Christmas to save more water.

6.  What I saved this week:
  • rubber band that bound the radishes
  • veggie peelings and egg shells for compost file
  • TP end roll for compost. 
  • Leaves for compost pile
7. I keep looking for new recipes to use the veggies in our garden. I'm focusing on the swiss chard right now. I plan on trying an Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing for a swiss chard salad.

8. My girls bought most of the food for Thanksgiving in exchange for me doing the cooking and baking. They are so busy! I don't mind! I love to cook and bake for my family! I start prepping for the meal a few days in advance. This makes it less stressful on the day of the dinner. I already cut my onions and celery for the stuffing and tore the bread in small pieces. I made the pie crusts a few weeks ago and hid them in the freezer. I also did the major cleaning on Monday. The more I can do ahead of time the more I enjoy our time together.

9. I was pricing sunflower seeds and comparing ounces to the price when I noticed that some of the bags had coupons. When I looked closer I realized the final price would be .18  for a 4.5 ounce bag. I bought 10 bags for $1.80. Husband was happy, happy, happy!

10.  I've wear a CPAP mask at night for sleep apnea. A friend gave me 2 new masks that are different than the kind I normally wear. I don't like the way they fit at all and they hurt my face but I'm 'practicing' each night. I'm hoping I can adjust to them. It would save me $25. My old one is wearing out. I've learned over the years that you can adjust to many things you thought you couldn't if you just practice patience! I need patience! 

I hope you all have a wonderful, and THANKS FILLED Thanksgiving! We are so abundantly blessed that Jesus Christ came to die the death we deserved for our sins and by faith in Him we can have peace with God!

...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:4

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV


  1. What wonderful ways to practice giving even on a tight budget. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and ways you saved :)

  2. Try making stuffed swiss chard rolls, make chiffonades of the chard and use in omelettes, a quiche, soup, or saute in butter with salt and pepper. So delicious! See my blog for the recipe for stuffed chard rolls:

  3. Hi Georgene, isn't fun when you find those peelie coupons and they really are a great deal?
    You asked about the sweet potato casserole on my blog. I made it like the recipe but froze it before baking. Then I will thaw it out the day before and bake it on Thanksgiving. My mom has done it this way many times and was always successful.

    I needed this reminder about giving, I think we are generous to family members and friends, but we should widen that.

    1. Thanks Rhonda for the info on the sweet potato casserole. I'll have to try that next year. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  4. P.S. Your dining area is really pretty

  5. I love this post. You found an excellent scripture about the saints giving out of extreme poverty to give to other saints in need. Not only that, they begged for the opportunity to do so! Awesome. Let's all strive to be like that for it is so true that we are blessed on this continent and our poverty cannot compare to the poverty of those in far away places.

    I like your encouragement to help those in our local areas too that we may know of or come across. Especially at this time of year when it is cold and people are missing loved ones, it is good to think of others.

    I have offered one senior and another friend of hers to make some home made bread and cookies for them. She was happy for the offer. Another friend is a single parent. I offered him some nice bars (fruit and nut). I bought extra at the pharmacy for this purpose. This way he can take them for lunch or give a snack to his child. I also have the child on my Christmas gift list. Though the child doesn't lack due to his large and giving family, it is nice for them to know others care too, and he is a sweet little guy.

    For new arrivals to Canada, I am putting together an inexpensive sewing kit for the mother. She mentioned she needs buttons for a blazer she bought. I've been helping her to find out where to buy buttons in town and then I decided I should put together a little gift basket for her and surprise her instead.

    I was struck by your savings for the CPAP mask. I can't get over how inexpensive the new one is at $25. (or is that after the insurance payment). Here the masks are at least $245. and that doesn't include the headgear which is another $35.

    I was also struck by the good price you've found on sunflower seeds. Clearly well below the cost of them here. You do have some deals so that is another thing to be grateful for! I know it helps when you are on a budget.

    I enjoyed all your post. Happy savings for the coming week. Hugs. xx

    1. I've heard that the groceries are very expensive in Canada. I had to give up on the mask because it bruised my nose! :( I haven't bought a new one for a few years. I hope they haven't gone up too much. Happy Thanksgiving (or have you already celebrated in Canada?).

    2. Hello George me, sorry you could not tolerate the mask. Yes groceries and pretty much everything is more expensive in Canada. We did celebrate Thanksgiving g last month. I like celebration g in October. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. I'm so glad that I've found you blog. My husband was also hurt and just now is regaining feeling in his arm/hand. He fell down our crawl space stairs and was there until I came home from work and found him. He was in the hospital for awhile and his back/spine will never be the same. I thank God that I have wonderful clients that have sent many new clients my way. (I clean homes)
    May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving. I so enjoy your blog and even at my age have learned many new things.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like you have learned to see the blessings even in the hard times. I hope your husband is doing better.

  7. I love the picture of the woman giving thanks. I've been wanting to come across that picture at a thrift shop or yard sale for a long time. Is it in your home?

    I teach an 11th grade Sunday school class, and my co-teacher found a woman who provides presents to the needy at Christmas. the presents need to be wrapped, hundreds of them! So our girls are going to get together one night an wrap, wrap, wrap! There are always ways to help, even if you don't have money to give. We are looking forward to this evening of service.

    Yesterday my husband took off from work, and we went to an outlet mall to start Christmas shopping. We found some great deals, girls Christmas socks for 50 cents a pair, marked down t-shirts at the Disney store, blouses off the clearance at an Ann Taylor store. I have been wanting a pair of brown boots for awhile, and haven't run across a pair in my thrift shop stops. But there was a huge sale at Belk, and I got a pair for $35!! This is my Christmas gift from my husband. I still need to find a gift for him. He really wants a leather jacket, real leather, so expensive! My daughter said she will help me look for a Black Friday deal.

    I am trying to have a discussion with m husband about whether we should sale this house or stay here and use a yearly check that I receive to help pay down our mortgage. We can't decide which way to go. We need a larger living room for our growing family (grandchildren), and we could save and add on here. Probably do a home equity loan for some of the cost to do that, so we just have to pray and see what God would have us do.

    1. Yes, the woman praying is in my kitchen. I have another picture of an older man praying and one of an older woman praying. I really love those kind of pictures. I found the picture you mentioned at a flea market. They gave it to me for a very good price.

      I understand about hoping for a larger living room for a growing family. We had a huge home a few years back and everyone fit nicely. Our home is 1/4 of the size as that one and amazingly enough... my family and grands still fit... we just have to dance around each other a bit in the kitchen. :-)

  8. Happy Thanksgiving, Georgene! :)

    1. Happy Thanksgiving Stacie! I hope your family has a wonderful day!

  9. Georgene-
    I love your dining area so neat and cozy! Thank you again for the wonderful tips and encouragement. I have been reading some Reminisce magazines (my great aunt has a subscription and lets me have them when she is done with them). I love the way people made so with what they had and were content with that. So different from society now days. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Jennifer from Iowa

    1. Hi Jennifer! My mom used to get that magazine. I always enjoyed the stories. Yes, times have changed but thankfully we can cultivate a thankful heart.. even in this generation. It just takes work. :-) Thanks for writing.

  10. Georgene, what a lovely and timely post in the spirit of the season. Another way to give without spending money is to donate blood periodically. You are literally giving life to someone with a catastrophic illness or injury.

    Giving magazines to a waiting room or senior center is another way to do a good deed without spending cash.

    1. Great ideas Michele. I've saved magazines to take to waiting rooms but always forget. :(

  11. Hi Georgene,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. It was so nice to hear that someone enjoyed and may benefit from my "Stewardship in the Kitchen" series.
    I REALLY enjoyed your post today and will certainly be returning soon.
    In our home we like our Swiss Chard prepared like this:

    1 onion, diced
    4 slices bacon, diced
    2 tsp. sugar
    Swiss Chard
    salt & pepper to taste

    In a large stock pot, fry bacon and onion over medium-low heat until onion is almost ready to caramelize. Sprinkle with sugar, stir; Add chopped Swiss Chard. Cook, stirring frequently until Swiss Chard is wilted. Add salt & pepper to taste.
    Note: This is how we also cook our beet greens, turnip greens and mustard greens.

    Praying you and your family have a BLESSED Thanksgiving.

    1. Yum! I can imagine that would be a wonderful recipe! I have a little bit of bacon in the freezer so I'll try it soon. I'm off of sugar so I'll use some stevia. Thanks so much Mrs. B!

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