When Money is Funny (Minimalist Budgeting for Dummies)

Learning to trust God when Money is Low

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I get lost in the details.  I throw myself into all my projects, and I drown in the details.

For example, last Tuesday I spent my entire day budgeting, then redoing the budget over and over.  Every line item.  Every reduction.  Every bill.  And no matter what I did, we were OVER BUDGET.

For hours, I obsessed, until, finally, I did it.  We were done, down to the very last penny.  It was then that I almost cried.  There was nothing left over.  No money for new jeans for the boys who have holes in the knees of the ones in current rotation.  No money for new shirts or shoes or school uniforms.  Nothing for McDonalds or girls night or date night.  No movies.  No cool zoo.  No Sector 6 (or jumpy place as my kids call it).  No ICEEs or Frostys for good behavior.  Nothing extra.  Not one penny.

I will not be traveling to Houston for my sister’s Cupcake Wars.  Any Essence Musical Festival activities must be free of charge.  All the extra this month goes to school supplies and our portion of the annual family vacation to Destin.

Last month was also a fail.  While I so carefully watched and saved for Orlando and the Houston She Flies Solo Summit and Staycation debut event my sister put on, we took one too many trips to Wendys and Sonic for good behavior. One too many thrift store half off days.  One too many meals out for date night, gifts for my son’s birthday.

And I sighed as I talked to God about the hopelessness of my current state of affairs.  When there’s nothing left, there’s nothing left.  And I thought about next month, and all the other months when the bills would stay the same and so would the money.  I calculated how long it would take to pay off the credit cards and sighed again as I realized the amount of time I had before we had free money again.  I told God, I did not think I could do it.  I did not think that WE as a family could do it.  I told Him that maybe we were better off with high debt, no savings and slushies, date nights, and Zoovies.  I told Him I was over it.  We tried.  We failed.  We were trying again but I was unsure I could stick to the plan.

It was here that God began the speak.  He said, “How much do we have left?”

I rolled my eyes and answered, “Weren’t you listening?   We’ve got nothing left.  We have exactly $0.  If we could be in the negative, that’s where we are because I am going to want to spend something somewhere that’s not in the budget.  I’m going to get tired of nothing and pull out my credit card or transfer some savings over.  I am OVER nothing…but to answer your question, I’ve got nothing.  We’ve got nothing.”

And I saw the excitement in His eyes as He let me finish.  And He began with one statement, “I can work with nothing.”

“Look around.  Look at the trees, the birds, and the flowers.  Listen to the laughter of your children.  Embrace the tenderness that your husband so carefully shows you.  Feel the love of your best friends.  Take it all in.

The journey to free ourselves of debt and live within our means is never easy but always possible

“I looked out on nothing.  I stepped into nothing.  I spoke to nothing.  And I created it ALL.  ALL OF IT.  The tallest mountains.  The lowest valleys.  The calming waters.  Look around.  It ALL CAME FROM NOTHING.

I CAN WORK WITH NOTHING.”

And He stopped as though with 5 words He had answered all my unanswered questions, and I, ever the sarcastic student, asked one last question, “So what’s the plan?”

He responded, “Stick to the plan.”

I got angry, “The plan is NOT working.”

He met my enthusiasm, “The plan is ABSOLUTELY working.

“You did not buy the $600 couch set on credit.  You did not buy the $40 swimsuit.  You have been spending any extra you have on experiences.  You have stopped wasting money on things you may or may not every use.  For the first time ever, you developed a budget, and you watched it through beginning to end.  The plan is working.

“Calculate your savings. I’ll wait.”

And I calculated:
$71.12 saved through couponing
$32 paid out using iBotta.
$20 paid from the company Humana Go365
$4 added to Ebates.

A grand total of $127.12…

God squealed, “YEEESS!! That’s a light bill or a cell phone bill or a cable bill.”

I sighed.

So God continued in His delight without me, “Keep going.  I just need you to keep going.  Stick to the plan.

  1. Develop a budget.
  2. Monitor your spending.
  3. Make sure you give some back to me and some to others.
  4. Use your apps and your loyalty cards – your iBotta, your Go365, your Target Red Card, your Plenti card, your Walgreens card, you newspaper coupons and your printable coupons, your Ebates, and your common sense.
  5. Let me handle the rest.

“Trust me.  I can work with nothing.  I have a track record of taking nothing and making it into something.  Give me your nothing.  Give me ALL of your nothing.  Sit it right beside my feet, and watch me work.  You just stick to your ordinary.  Let me handle the extraordinary.”

***

What are some things that help you stick to a budget and save money?

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Managing your money when finances are tight.

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32 thoughts on “When Money is Funny (Minimalist Budgeting for Dummies)

  1. I love this!!! I’m going to try these tips, and download IBotta as well. I am going to leave my email with you because I am interested in learning your budget strategies so I can also learn how to save a little cash ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl. I am learning as I go. I love to eat out, and I love clothing/accessory shopping. I like replacing when stuff is old and worn out so reigning all of that in has been the biggest part of the process. My credit is good so I qualify for most promotions. I have learned to step away from the credit cards and spend only what I have.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m the same exact way, but I’m doing my best to build my credit as of now. I’m trying my hardest not to spend money on unnecessary items but it can be hard, but I’m learning as I go to budget and manage my money better

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! Once again you’ve done a great job communicating what and how God is teaching you and speaking with you!
    And if HE says “Stick to the plan,” you know you better stick to the plan! 🙂
    I’m reminded here of Nehemiah 9:20, 21. (I personally remember this when I wonder how much longer my old car is going to hang in there.)
    Also, the feeding of the 5,000.
    God’s got this! Keep up the good work! Hang in there! Enjoy the goodness He has already given you with a thankful heart. Rejoice in His goodness and love. He loves you to the stars and back, dear sister! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post and the header image is priceless. Budgeting can be very challenging – especially when you end up having to sacrifice the impulsive spending in order to simply save. What keeps me in check is remembering the value and sanctity of having your own living space and the peace that comes with that – and that notion tends to keep me on track. But some days are better than others. 🙂

    Like

  4. Wow! You have such a way with words! I believe I have had conversations similar to this with God, but I doubt my ability to display it so artistically as you have here 🙂 And every word, so true. Congrats on your budget! It has me *all kinds* of thinking about a post I need to write now.

    Be blessed! And look forward to His blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Stacey. I always laugh when I relay my stories of my conversations with God to others. In my mind, everyone has these random conversations. Then I learned that everyone communicates with God in their own way so decided to started documenting mine in hopes of helping others along the way. So glad you joined me today!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I just love REAL people!! 🙂 We really do talk to God in interesting ways don’t we? I know I do, lol. I’m so glad to meet you and look very forward to getting to know you more through your blogs. Thanks for following mine!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved that- “I can work with nothing.” Yes!! I look around at my ‘nothing’… or at least my ‘very little’… and I see (but don’t always understand) how God has again & again kept food in the cupboard, clothes on my kids. It’s so easy to get lost in all of the stuff that is advertised to us all day long, but God provides in miraculous ways for exactly what we need to live His life to the fullest. (And our culture can’t figure out how to stay satisfied long enough to take a breath.) Awesome job, sticking with your budget!! It feels so painfully tedious sometimes, but to come out at zero instead of red is just awesome! Keep it up!
    #HisGraceGirls

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. For years, I’ve been staying and operating in the red. I’m tired of operating with a constant credit card debt that gets bigger instead of smaller. So one night at midnight, I stumbled upon a blog with a Dave Ramsey video who I didn’t even know was Christian at the time. Talk about convicted. I set a budget the next day, and my husband and I have been trudging to a debt free life ever since.

      Like

  6. Soooo sitting here reading your blog…feeling the exact same way..these 4 boys plus friends eat me out of this house. I turn around and think I just went to the store. Like I know we just had bread, or milk, or apples. That discussion you had with God, I had to read it. Because I’ll have the same talk. When will I have enough?! Where do I make more cuts? I’m going to stick to the plan, God has a plan..his way is better than mine right?
    Thanks Brittany!! Going to check those apps!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We cancelled cable TV and put up an antenna, so our TV shows are free once we bought the antenna. Budgets are hard work! We pay off all our bills every month. Nothing is carried over. We get money back on our credit cards, about $500/year, so that is our pay to shop method. We get money back on groceries, gasoline, restaurants, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying to convince my husband to cancel cable. We are on my mom’s Netflix account and my sister-in-law’s Hulu AND we have a firestick. It’s tough to
      convince him on days like today when the Internet is out, and it’s been out twice this month for more than half the day! I like those tips, though. I can’t pay the credit cards in full YET…but give me some time. We will get there.

      Like

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