As part of our experience with Crown, we were invited to meet with a financial planner in the area who offered us some assistance with our budgeting. We excitedly agreed to meet with him - because honestly, who couldn't use more help in the area of finances and stewardship?? In meeting with him, he helped us with the budget plan that we already had in place and helped us tweak it just a bit until we had a plan that both Kevin and I were pleased with - in fact, really excited about - because we could see some real progress toward reaching some of our financial goals! One area that is personal for me is the grocery budget - since I'm the one to do all the grocery shopping. He helped us set a reasonable amount for our groceries, and it has been part challenge and part game to make my grocery list "fit" within the given amount.
Part of the reason for my motivation behind starting this blog was so that I could participate in Meal Plan Monday. For years, I have occasionally done my meal plan and then shopped accordingly - and the fact that I could easily share my plan with others was appealing. I've also known all along that we tend to spend much less on groceries when I have a plan in place. So, on Monday of this week, we deposited our paycheck and I knew that I needed to grocery shop for the upcoming two weeks. I spent Monday morning scouring through my recipes and organzing a plan for the next two weeks...made my grocery list...and looked at the budget.
Now, at this point, I really can't tell you the full story without going over the specifics, so please don't think I'm trying to divulge all our financial details, just trying to share the full story! I took baby Micah and left Tobin home with his Daddy so I could shop in relative peace. Since I fight hypoglycemia, I knew I needed to grab something to eat before heading into Walmart, so I stopped at McD's on the way. Being that we're trying to stick to the budget, I wanted to get something really cheap - so I got just a double cheeseburger and ice water. $1.09! So I grabbed the rare $5 bill that was in my wallet and searched for $.09. Didn't have it exactly - but I did have a dime! So my change was $4.01 - and I then had exactly 2 pennies in my change purse.
Once I got to Walmart, I went over my envelope category for groceries. The night before, I had been to Sam's to get some staples, and had already spent $85 of our $215 budget for groceries. We had also already purchased some milk and other small things from Braums, so I just was figuring in my head that I should probably allot only $100 to keep our grocery budget intact.
Micah and I head into Walmart and I'm doing all my shopping. His car seat had to sit down in the cart, because it doesn't fit in the kids seat area, so my space to put groceries was incredibly limited. As things piled up - and Micah had two bags of bagels on his legs, I started to pray. "Lord, this cart is filling up fast. Lord, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to keep it in budget. God, you're going to have to work a miracle. I know that you can make these groceries cost what you want them to. Please help me to have enough money at the cash register. God, please make this work!" Can you hear my desperation?? I sooo want to honor Him, and I want to achieve financial freedom, and I know that one of the ways I can help with that is in being a good steward of my grocery budget.
So the checker was bagging my groceries, Micah was crying - it's always a frantic time at the checkout. And of course, she wasn't bagging my groceries to my liking, so I was rebagging everything as she went along. So it was with great surprise that she suddenly muttered something that I didn't quite hear. I looked up and said "Pardon?" I saw that she was done scanning my items - and she had actually said my total. She repeated herself, at the same time I looked at the readout. My total? Exactly $100.02!
$100. Exactly what I had in my grocery envelope.
$.02. Exactly what I had after a snack at McD's.
THANK YOU LORD!
Oh, He is sooo good. And as I walked out the van, a woman was walking by and saw me open the trunk and said "Oh, I wanted to get your number off the sign about working from home!" You see, I have a sign advertising my business on the back, and she was interested! We chatted, I gave her my card - and I praised God for the potential of another business builder!
And then, I got in the van, turned it on - and one of my favorite songs of all time came on. I've been playing Selah's God Bless the Broken Road, and "Faithful One" was set to repeat. I really don't need to say anymore, because the words are so poignant in and of themselves. Go get yourself the album. You won't be sorry.
I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep withn my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the Faithful One
I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of of higher ground on mountains steep
And tho' with feet unsure I still keep pressing on
For I am guided by the Faithful One
Faithful, faithful to the end
My true and precious Friend
You have been faithful, faithful
So faithful to me.
I see Your wonded hands, I touch Your side
With thorns upon Your brow You bled and died
But there's an empty tomb, a love for all who come
And give their hearts to You, the Faithful One
And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
I will bow down before God's only Son
And I will lift my hands in praise for all You've done
And I will worship You, my Faithful One