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

Monday, November 18, 2013

2 WEEK Monday Menu

I'm posting a 2 week menu since my daughter in love will be visiting next week. I hope to be a bit distracted with visiting and squishing grandones!

 Happy days!

Breakfast: Low carb pancakes (made with coconut flour)
Lunch: Kale and sausage soup
Dinner:  Chile Rellenos, (I'll fill in with soup)

Breakfast: Omelet (Turkey bacon, swiss chard, red onions)
Lunch: Kale and sausage soup
Dinner: Spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash (Freeze leftovers)

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, LC muffin
Lunch: Hot link sandwich (husband), sausage and kraut (me)
Dinner: Roasted chicken, pea salad, Spicy green beans

Breakfast: Chorizo and egg LC burrito
Lunch: LC Chicken Tortilla Soup (minus the tortillas)
Dinner: LC chicken burrito, Swiss chard salad

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, green pepper, red onion, Swiss chard, hot sauce
Lunch: LC Chicken Fajita (1 piece of chicken and peppers in freezer)
Dinner: Fish Patties, pea salad, deviled eggs

Breakfast: LC biscuits and gravy
Lunch: LC Chicken Tortilla soup (leftovers)
Dinner: LC Banquet Entree and veggies (Easy meal since I'll be cooking all day for Sunday)

Breakfast: LC biscuits and gravy
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich (Husband), egg salad wrap in Swiss Chard (me)
Dinner: Thanksgiving  Dinner

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs
Lunch:  Hamburger soup
Dinner: LC Tacos

Breakfast: scrambled egg, potato and sausage
Lunch: Hamburger soup
Dinner: Fried Chicken, potatoes, salad

Breakfast: LC Waffles
Lunch: Chicken vegetable soup
Dinner: Barbecued chicken, potato, green salad

Breakfast: Chorizo and egg in LC tortilla
Lunch: Chicken vegetable soup
Dinner: Barbecued chicken, pumpkin and chorizo, green beans

Breakfast: Omelet (Swiss chard, red onion, sausage)
Lunch: Egg salad sandwich (Husband), egg salad wrapped in swiss chard (me)
Dinner: Meatloaf, Baked potato, Coleslaw

Breakfast: LC biscuits and gravy
Lunch: Kale and sausage soup
Dinner: Mackerel or tuna patties, yams and coleslaw

Breakfast: LC biscuits and gravy
Lunch: Kale and sausage soup
Dinner: Meatloaf, baked potato, coleslaw

Snacks: LC muffins, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, celery with peanut butter, deviled eggs, hard boiled eggs