Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Character Challenge

This week was my main shopping week to buy most of our household and food supplies and I have been thinking up ways to stay within our budget for our family of ten since this is important to me. Most recently I've been reading a very indepth book on character which has challenged me in the areas of finances that I shared with my husband this morning and would like to share with you:

"Please answer the following questions: Would you rather have a $10,000 salary increase or the character to live on what you currently earn? Or possibly, would you like to develop the character to live on $10,000 less than what you currently earn? We seem to think the answer to our problem is to make more money. I wonder if the answer to our problem would be to develop more character."

Character indeed! I have been thinking about this all day about how I would be developing more character as I looked to even more ways to be frugal with what we have. Ladies, please share with the rest of us how you save to stay within your budget. I enjoy garage saling, thrift stores and trying more economical recipes. I think staying within our budgets can be a challenge for many woman but with some thoughtfulness and resourcefulness most situations are 'do-able'. When you think of how some people live in third world countries, with so little, we in America truly have an abundance. I will be looking at my cookbook tonight titled 'More With Less'. It features recipes from around the world of how people eat more simply and healthfully. I am hoping to find some treasures! Until then....

To read another post on Homemaking click here.


  1. It is a true challenge for many. I know one problem I had was the ATM card use. You use it and don't feel the pinch. What I have started doing is budgeting a weekly amount for spending and taking out the cash. At least I can control it more.

    Also coupons are my best friend and so are the thrift shops. I rarely buy anything new.

  2. Oooh, that's a good one. I need to meditate on that for a while. :-D

  3. I love this!!

    5 questions I keep in my wallet as I am hunting and gathering for the home are:

    Do I need it?
    Do I need it now?
    Do I have something like it already?
    Can I find a cheaper subsitute?
    Is this the best deal?

    I usually end up with nothing....

  4. Coupons are a good thing, when they are actually .75 - $1.00 off an item, but many of the coupons are for health and beauty or processed / packaged food.

    When you see something in the grocery store, ask yourself "can I make the same thing from scratch?". It would be cheaper in the long run and plus you can make a double batch of whatever it is and freeze it for another time.

    Many grocery stores have a 'reduced' aisle with some awesome items. Check their first before you begin your shopping.

    If you have an Aldi or Save A Lot, make use of those stores.

    Always have a list! Because if you don't, you will spend more than what you had planned.

    Store brand is cheaper!

    Forget the cookie / cake can make those for free at home and have the children involved in helping :)

    Meats / chicken is getting expensive. Does your store have a frozen reduced section? Mine does! Has all kinds of meat 50% off or more.

    I know milk is going to go up to possibly $5 a gallon and with little ones at home, that will eat up as much money as filling up your vehicle with gas! Give powdered milk a try! You can always add some cocca to it for the children if they don't like the taste.

    Unless you have a coupon, boxed cereal is getting a little pricey as well. Make homemade granola instead.

    There are several websites that teach you how to make your own laundry soap and fabric softener, Google them! Try using that for a while to see how it works in your family before buying the next $10 bottle of Tide and $5 bottle of Downy :)

    That's some of my hints... I am sure you have heard them all before.

    I have heard of that More With Less cookbook...I need to get me a copy :)

    God Bless!

  5. I have the habit of looking at my grocery receipts - just to check the prices. Had a lightbulb moment and decided to keep the receipts and check off the products as I use them. Also do the same with my pantry list. This is very revealing as you find out if you are using, wasting or stockpiling groceries. It took me a while to realize that I can save money on my groceries after the purchase. Linda S.

  6. This is a really great post, and one that I much appreciate! I like to go shopping at Walmart and fill my cart up with all the stuff I'd like to have and then walk around the store putting things back as I think of reasons why I don't need them. It is good to only shop when you are not in a hurry and can think about why you are buying what you are buying.

    God bless!

  7. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER ABOUT that the LORD does not work by our system or economic laws. The more you give to others, the more He will give to you. This has been proven over and over.

    The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Proverbs 11:25

    There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. Proverbs 11:24

    Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Ecc 11:1

    Lay not up for yourselves'> treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves' treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. -Matthew 6

    1. Plan your meals and only purchase the items necessary for those meals.

    2. Portion Food (this saves me a lot with snacks and school lunches). When a bag of chips or grapes is purchased, my older children immediately help me portion it out into little bags or plastic containers so we don't "mindlessly" eat more than we need. A bag of chips can last over a week portioned out this way.

    3. Shop at Aldi.

    4. Purchase bread from the day-old bakery outlet. I can purchase 100% whole grain bread for less than $1 per loaf and freeze it.

    5. Use a cash envelope system for budgeting.

    6. Don't purchase anything unless you NEED it.

    7. We use washcloths instead of napkins.

    8. We use dishrags instead of paper towels.

    9. Wal-Mart is the best place to purchase diapers. I am a former diaper cake designer as well as having four in diapers at home right now and the Parent's Choice brand of diapers is the cheapest and best! If you still prefer name brand diapers, try

    10. Don't go out to eat. Pack food and take it along.

    11. Stay simple with your meals.

    12. Use the Farmer's Market or roadside fruit stand.

    13. Bag your lunch instead of going out or to a cafeteria.

    14. Think old fashioned.

    15. Stay away from Wal-Mart if at all possible. I can't go in there without spending a $100!! If I have to go, I try to go earlier in the morning when I can just buzz through or I send my husband with a list.

    16. Realize that it IS POSSIBLE to make it on less. I have been able to feed a family of six a wheat-free diet for $300 per month.

    17. Refrain from impulse buys.

    18. Stay away from junk food.

    19. "Its not how much you make but how much you keep"

    20. Pads are cheaper than tampons.

    21. Dollar stores and thrift stores still cost you money if you go in to "browse" and you really don't NEED the items.

    22. Our children don't need 1000 toys to play with.

    23. Throw out your tv.

    24. Read more.

    25. Go camping for a family vacation or go visit relatives.

    26. Include your children because one day they will have to live within a budget.

    27. Purchase clothes second-hand from garage sales, consignment stores, Goodwill, & Ebay.

    28. I have found the most economical way to purchase children's clothes is to bid on a big box of clothes from Ebay (pay no more than $1.00 or less per item average),use what you can and resell the leftovers back on Ebay!

    More On God's Laws of Economics:

    Proverbs 28:27 says He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

    What do you think when you see a poor person in need? “I don’t want to get involved.” “Someone else will take care of them.” “Their situation is none of my business.” “I don’t have enough money myself.” “I’ll help another time.” “They may be lazy freeloaders.” “I could become poor giving money away.” This kind of thinking will cause God to curse you with many troubles. Do you want to prosper and be protected? Give to the poor.

    You will not lose giving to the poor. You will gain! You are thinking mathematically, but God will bless providentially! This economic mystery is not taught in any business school in the world, but it is a law of Bible economics. Despise or ignore it to your own peril and poverty! Giving to the poor is lending to the LORD, and He will certainly repay what you give (19:17; 22:9; 28:8; Deut 15:7-18; Ps 41:1-3; 112:1-10; Heb 6:10).

    The LORD is involved financially and economically in the world. He makes men and nations either poor or rich (10:22; I Sam 2:7; Job 34:29; Ps 33:12-22; Is 10:5-19). He gives promotions (Ps 75:6-7). He grants witty inventions and wealth (8:12-21). Pagans cannot see or measure His work, so they reject the fact. But that is fine, for believers can then easily have the edge financially and spiritually over them (1:32; 28:11; Eccl 7:18).

    The LORD operates above accounting rules, budgets, and econometric models! It is a rule of Bible economics that you can get farther and faster ahead financially by throwing your money away. The rule is certain – it is simply your faith that is weak. Cast off the pagan mentality, and believe God! You can get ahead by throwing money away to the poor (11:24-28; 28:8; Eccl 11:1-6; Mal 3:8-12; Luke 6:38; II Cor 9:6-11). The rule is so powerful that a goal of working hard should be to have money to give away (Eph 4:28)!

    If you think prosperity comes by being financially conservative and frugal in matters of charity, you are on your way to the poor house. Your economic “prudence” will ruin you! The LORD is able to put holes in your bags to cause your wages to dribble away, if you are even a little miserly in an effort to hold on to your money (11:24-28; Hag 1:5-11). The rule is as certain as any other Bible truth. You have been told! Believe it! Do it!

    But God has promised much more, if you will consider the poor and give for his needs. God will bless you and your family for many generations (Is 58:3-12)! Believe it! You can lay up a good foundation for the Day of Judgment and lay hold on eternal life, to assure yourself of your election (I Tim 6:17-19). Jesus Christ will provide His accounting of your giving before God as the evidence of your righteousness (Matt 10:42; 25:31-46).

  8. I have been a vegetarian for many years, and while I realize it's not an option for everyone, cutting down on meat does help to spend less money on groceries. I eat plenty of beans and grains, and it's both more healthy and frugal!

  9. Wonderful point!

    Along with doing what you have described, several things really work for me. I find using cash for all of our purchases to help be an excellent way to keep us under budget. When I physically see the cash parting from my hands, that makes the money we are spending more "real".

    Keeping the attitude on constant decluttering also helps. If I buy a new thing, something else must go. I always ask myself if I *really* need something, especially as only one outfit/toy/pair of shoes/whatever can be used at once. When you think that way, how many can you truly need?

    Lastly, praying about what we might honestly need is something that has blessed us greatly. Whenever we need something, a wonderful deal will be found or a gift seems to come our way. We have been given so much in our few short years of marriage, even from people we did not know but knew my family members. Just this past week, we began to plan what we should purchase for our daughter's fall clothing and prayed about it. The next day, a lady my mom works with gave us a HUGE bag full of little girls clothing and toys. I cannot tell you how grateful we are for her gift and certainly see the Lord's hand in her generosity.

  10. Wow! What great ideas everyone had! I do most of them, but I did forget about powdered milk, I definitely will consider that. I also liked the questions everyone asks themselves, I do the same most of the time.

    It is so nice to hear how everyone is striving to spend less and not feeling driven to spend more. In the world today I hear about so many women who are so materialistic sometimes I wonder if I am not alone on such endeavors! (I know I'm not but it just feels like it sometimes!)

    All of these ideas are so encouraging, I will keep these in thought through the week.


    To God Be the Glory,

    I truly enjoyed your comment, do you have a blog to post up such valuable information to bless others with?

    Many blessings...

  11. Anna S, I have enjoyed your blog. Considering your comment on this page on eating vegetarian, I hope you don't mind my sharing this site with you about health and diet. I wish it had been available before I had children.


  12. Hello Mrs. Fuentes,

    Please forgive me if my comment was too long! After reading over it again, it sounded like too much and I don't know how to edit comments once they are submitted. I'm very sorry if it was inappropriate to post so much. I am new to blogging. I LOVE your blog and read it every day. It is very encouraging to me. It is beautiful and a joy to read. THANK YOU for taking the time to write in it - I know you must be very busy. Again, please accept my apologies if I was offensive in any way. I certainly did not mean to be. I just get going and then...well...enough is enough! I do have a blog located at


  13. I really needed to read this today! Thanks!


  14. Always eat your leftovers!

    Never let food spoil in the fridge, pantry, or fruit basket- use up the bananas in banana bread, tomatoes in sauce or paste to use later, meat cooked and frozen if need be, to use later, and make a white sauce with any extra milk you have so that you don't have to pitch it when it goes bad! This is HUGE for me, because when I'm pregnant and tired, or if I buy too much at the store one week, if I don't use it, and it goes to waste, I have wasted our money and we essentially have to pay double the next time we buy that item (because we've already bought it once).

    Have a planned out menu and make a shopping list according to your plan. That way you don't overbuy when you go to the store.

    At the same time, allow yourself the freedom to adjust your week's menu if you get to the store and find a great deal on something on sale that week!

    COOK AT HOME! Invest the money you would spent in one trip to a fast food place in a classic good cook book and commit to trying one new recipe a week. Or look on the internet and get some great ideas.

    Learn to make basic things from scratch. White pasta sauce is so cheap to make from scratch! Pancakes that are just as good as the Aunt Jemima mix you buy for nearly $3 a box are easy to make from scratch! The more you learn, the more you can make, and the cheaper you can make it!

    Serve vegetables with your meals. People will eat less of the expensive stuff (meat, cheese, pasta, whatever) if you have a good selection of vegetables as sides.

    Learn to make your restaurant favorites at home. That way you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get your favorite things! Learn to make a good bacon cheeseburger on the grill. Learn to grill a delicious steak. Teach yourself how to make specialty butters to flavor your meat, potatoes, and other foods in gourmet ways!

    Just doing these frugal things in the way you EAT will save you tons of money!

    Blessings & thanks for a great article!
    Jess @ Making Home

  15. Greetings to All. xxx
    Im not 100% sure but one idea that i didnt seem to read is growing your own vege, learn to seed save and you will have vegetables year in year out. (container gardens are a good start, start with lettuce, toms and different types of herbs.) Planting out a seed a week, will give a lot each week in produce and progress.
    Ps...I love all the ideas and muchly loved. Thank you all and Blessings to all. xxx


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