Today’s post is from Hearts at Home speaker Marianne Miller. Marianne is the author of The Gift of Enough: Raising Grateful Kids in a Culture of Excess.



mariannemillerI live on a budget. Sure, lots of people do, but what makes my situation unique is that I LOVE living on a budget. It’s freeing. It’s empowering. It brings me security. Certainly things come up during the year that I didn’t plan for, but the budget enables me to “find the money” and minimize the potential stress of this unexpected expense. Here’s what that might look like:

My friend from MOPS tells me about a life-changing conference she just returned from called Hearts at Home. I’m immediately interested as she rambles about how God used the weekend to refresh, renew, and equip her as a wife, mother, and woman. I ask about the cost and she explains that it’s only half the price of the MOPS convention but it is still around $150 with travel and a hotel room.

I begin to brainstorm how I’ll find the money for this event that I had no idea about when I created my monthly/yearly budget. Here are just a few ideas:

*I decide to not stop at Chick-Fil-A even though there is whining in the backseat. I save $14 by tossing a box of Cheerios into the backseat instead.

*I thank God that I didn’t get pulled over when I drove through a speed trap (net $150)

*I remember the conference at the checkout line in Meijer, and I remove the box of cherry Poptarts from my cart. No one will die without their Poptart snack. ($3) That was so easy I leave the Poptarts on the shelf the next three weeks as well. ($9)

10-Savvy-Ways-Graphic-2*I commit to only spending $50 a week in gas so I fill up on a Wednesday with exactly that much and I watch the tank all week. I omit a couple frivolous trips as I stretch the tank for the full week rather than the tank demanding a refuel on Monday. ($12)

*The circus is in town but I realize the kids and I don’t need to attend. No lives will be altered by not seeing a tiger jump through a hoop or a man walk on a wire. We Youtube circus videos and eat popcorn. ($75)

*The new Disney movie comes out and we decide to wait until it comes to Redbox. Kids learn the lesson that going to the movies is a special treat so we don’t see every movie when it comes out. ($30)

*I skip Kohls even though I have a 30% off coupon AND it’s Kohl’s cash week. The kids actually have drawers full of clothes already. ($50)

*I skip buying a half-gallon of ice cream once a month until the conference. No one will notice and they will appreciate ice cream more than ever before. ($50)

*My MOPS table is having dinner at a nice restaurant. I eat before I go and just order dessert instead. ($15)

*My son is invited to a birthday party for a boy he barely knows. We decline the invitation. ($15)

*My car is dirty but I wait for the rain. ($10)

*Girl Scouts descend on my house and I only buy one box of Thin Mints this year. ($15)

*The Scholastic Book order comes home and I realize that my child has enough books already. ($15)

*I commit to collecting spare change in a jar until the conference. ($56)

*I add a week between haircuts or have boys’ hair cut shorter. ($12x 4 boys)

*I take $40 off my grocery budget one week and get creative with food in my pantry and freezer.

You don’t have to have a budget for this method to work. You just need to be purposeful and actually place the “saved” money in one place. Then feel the power that you have by “earning” money simply by not spending it!

A second bonus is that you’ll enjoy the conference thoroughly knowing that you saved the money purposefully for the event. (And you might even have some extra to pick up books and other resources to keep you encouraged after you go home!)

What about you? How do you save purposefully?  Do you have a budgeting strategy that helps you get to a conference you enjoy going to each year?

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