Financial Update 3/10/12

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In conjunction with the Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year series, I will be sharing periodic Financial Updates. I won’t always give specific numbers, but I thought it might be helpful to have a little window into the day to day decision making process we go through.

This week our total income was only a little bit over my husband’s basic pay. If you read my previous post here then you know that we don’t make enough to pay everything with his basic paycheck, and in addition we had some non-food needs this week.

In particular, my teenage son (who has incredible growth spurts–he once grew 3 inches in a month!) and oldest daughter needed some clothing and we had a few other items I needed to purchase.

We had $50 in the Freedom Account clothing category, but I knew it would probably take more money to get everything we needed. After transferring the Freedom Account money into the second checking account (read more here) and subtracting the gas money for the week, we only had $78 left for groceries this upcoming week and the non-food items we needed.

As a rule, we always take out the Freedom Account money first because not paying the rent, utilities and insurance results in serious consequences. We have found that if we are faithful to put the bill money aside, even if there isn’t money left over for groceries, God always provides somehow.

I am not giving professional financial advice here, only sharing what we have decided to do for our family. Dave Ramsey would tell you to take out food money first.


After talking to my husband, I planned to go ahead and purchase what we needed and trust God to provide the grocery money we would need this week. Thirty minutes before we left to go shopping, I received a $50 gift card from our bank in the mail.

We knew the card would be coming some time, but I know that God timed the arrival of that card so that we would have enough money to get everything we needed. Just another time that He has come through for us.


Have you had any “miraculous” provisions? Share in the comments. :) And tune in Monday when I’ll share some ideas for saving on utilities!


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  1. Courtney says

    A little over a year ago, my husbands father passed away. Because my in-laws lived out of the country my husband was gone for three weeks. I was at home, 8 months pregnant with our 5th child. I was terrified because my husband had already used up his vacation time, so this 3 weeks was going to be unpaid. My word…did God provide!! Not only did I have people bringing me and the kids meals every other day for the entire three weeks (which was also welcomed company for me), God stirred the hearts of our church and people gave in such a way that I was able to pay ALL of our bills and still have some left over to do some fun things with the kids while we were without daddy. If I ever doubted His faitfulness or desire to care for me, He proved me wrong over those weeks! :)

  2. Lyn says

    Oh yes, God has come through for us on many an occasion! Before when we had debt and were not able to consistently put much money into savings, we often would get a car repair and honestly, we would have exactly enough to pay the bill, or maybe $20 or so left over. It was pretty amazing, actually.

    I do believe that if we do our best for Him, He will bless us. It may not be in financial ways, but I always have found that God has provided for us somehow. We may have “just enough” and not a penny extra – more times than not, but it has built our faith nonetheless.

    It was a challenging week financially for us with our car breaking down 3 times and needing 3 repairs. Fortunately, one of the repairs had a warranty, which helped us a bit (and I’m quite thankful for!). We really need a new used car and can’t afford one, but God is helping us to keep the only one we have going for a little bit more.

    It may seem a small thing, but I just made gluten-free/dairy-free lasagna, and dropped one of the cooked noodles on the floor. I was able to use the little broken pieces to patch up my lasagna, and now I have 2 small dishes, instead of just one. I’m not perfect, but I try to be thankful even for the little things. :)

    I’m so happy for your gift card! So glad God gave you that provision this week. Thanks again for this series, Kimberlee.

    • Claire says

      That’s awesome Kimberlee! I’ve had a few financial surprises (happy ones) this week, too. We weren’t to the point where our food budget was in jeopardy, but there were issues that were pleasantly taken care of. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of my grandmother’s death, and I’m pretty sure that her intercessory prayers contributed to our good “fortune” this week.

  3. says

    I’ve found this to be true on many occasions too. One time in particular I forgot about a large bill we had scheduled to come out and we also paid the electric bill. I was so upset thinking we would be overdrawn by a few hundred dollars. That afternoon I received a bonus I had been waiting on that was enough to keep our bank account positive. I find if I pay attention I notice lots of times God provides and not just financially. I’m trying hard to look for those special people, messages, moments, etc. that God provides!

    • says

      In 2006 my husband left a steady, well paying job and we purchased part of the insurance company I had worked at for a couple of years. Within a few weeks it became clear that the paperwork we were provided showing the solvency of the business were completely bogus and both of us went without a paycheck for two months while we tried to get some financial things in order at the insurance company. While our savings was minimal and our house payment was $1600 a month, we never went without and all of our bills were paid on time. We prayed almost continuously and felt the prompting to put our house on the market….and it was on the market for about six weeks before we finally resigned. We ended up giving our notice as employees/owners without having another place to go and trusted God would see us through. The week after we left, we got a full price offer on our house but more importantly, we grew closer to each other and to God because of our dependence on Him.

      God is good!

      Many Blessings,

  4. Kim says

    Just like you we are a one income family that on paper does not make enough to pay all of the bills. The winter time gets especially difficult since the heating bill gets so expensive and car & sewer taxes show up. The past couple of months have been especially difficult and I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to get a job. I kept praying that God would show me His will and He certainly did! As soon as I started looking for a job, doors started to close. Our then 6 week old started refusing a bottle (I nurse her) and every place I started looking into said they weren’t hiring. THEN, my brother-in-law handed me a $100 gas gift card one Sunday afternoon. He said they had extra money that month and wanted to bless us. The following week, I was wondering how I was going to get groceries…my sister-in-law had already purchased 2 BIG bags of groceries for us. This week, a friend called and said someone was willing to pay her & me to make some desserts for a wedding. One thing is for sure, He remains faithful!

  5. Amber says

    More than 10 years ago we were led to make a financial decision that on paper looked like a very unwise decision. We were listening to what God was telling our hearts rather than the wisdom of our bank account. We were able to keep a family from becoming homeless. We later found out that our financial decision was going to result in a $15,000 tax bill. We did not have that money. It may as well have been a million. I knew we were going to be paying for our financial decision for several years to come. It broke my heart to see the stress my husband was under as we tried to figure out what to do. My prayers for him were long. My husband is a very private person and no one outside our family knew what was going on. Finally, just before the bill was due, my husband’s boss called him in for his annual bonus. The bonus was the same every year for the previous 11 years; a $50 gift card. The store might be different but the amount was always the same; $50. This year the boss seemed unusually excited to be giving out the bonuses. My husband didn’t even open the envelope. He thanked his boss and took the envelope back to his desk. Before he left for home his boss told him to open the envelope. Inside was a check for $15,053. I got to spend the extra $53! We felt so blessed! If we will be obedient to the promptings we receive (no matter how foolish they can seem to us) we will be blessed.

  6. Renee says

    My husband and I both lost our jobs in January (we worked for the same company). My husband was able to find a sales job quickly, however it was a $12k cut in pay. I found a temporary job which was a $10k cut in pay. At almost $2000/month loss in income, I was very fearful of how we would meet our financial expenses AND put food on the table. Thankful that we both had jobs that provided an income, we began to make changes as outlined in your blog. I had started couponing back in August as a hobby just to see what I could save and found that I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to beat “the system”. Our church has recently done a four week series on tithing and we began to really tithe. We gave 10% of what we had been earning, not what we were currently earning. The first week of tithing, God provided a $50 gift card from a survey that I had done online with a local grocery store. The second week, He sent us a check for over $360 where we had over paid our escrow account via our mortgage AND reduced our monthly mortgage payment by $31/month. The third week my daughter-in-law sent us a check for $150 for a car payment we made on her behalf almost two years ago. The last two weeks I have had two job interviews and am waiting to hear back. Due to the job loss and loss of income, we decided to give up eating out for Lent. I created a spreadsheet where I have been logging my weekly grocery expenditures and my meals. I have spent $150 in groceries since February 26th. We have not eaten one meal out and I am finding that I enjoy the challenge of creating meals out of the ingredients I have on hand.
    God is good all the time! Malachi 3:10 says Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in My house and prove Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
    Thank you for this particular blog. I feel as if it is God’s verification to me that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

  7. says

    Last year was a difficult year for us (as it was for many) and one where I felt quite hopeless that the situation would get any better. On a trip to the grocery store, I went $30 over budget. Not a big deal to many, but it may as well have been $300 to us. I felt terrible for spending more than we really had to spend. What was I gonna do?

    I arrived home to find a Survey from I think the Nelson group (?) and when I opened it up, there was EXACTLY $30 in cold hard cash. I was so surprised. Shocked. I had filled out one survey before. Since that day, we have never again received a survey to fill out.

    God does work in wondrous ways….and he’s always faithful. We just have to remember that!

  8. Lyndsay says

    I have been reading your blog thanks for the tips my husband and I are trying to cut back our monthly bills so we can each spend more time at home and less at work. What are you doing for retirement we are playing catch up now (secondary to too many years of not contributing). This seems to be a large chunk of our checks any suggestions?


    • says

      At this point we only have money that we had previously saved when I was working and my husband had a 401k with his employer. We hope to improve our situation and start the retirement savings soon. For now, we just have to do what we can do. Again, I’m not giving financial advice, just saying where we are in the process.

  9. says

    I love this story! I have another question for you- how do you handle your budget of gifts? This is another category that I tend to go overboard on. I’m pretty sure that I can do my boys’ Easter baskets on the cheap, but I have two 2 year old birthday parties coming up that we will miss (they are both on the same day). I want to send gifts even though we can’t be there and I want the gifts to be extra nice since we won’t be there. I know, how much extra money is spent due to people’s guilt?!

    • says

      Nikki, I have an upcoming post about gifts. The biggest way that I save is buy purchasing items on clearance and saving them in the closet for upcoming events. It might be too late for that, but you never know. Keep your eyes open at Walmart and Target especially, although I have even found clearance items at Toys R Us.

      As far as the guilt, I understand. We actually had to attend a party once without a gift. Thankfully the mom was understanding and chose to open the gifts after the guests left. Another time, we brought a gift that the girls had made and the hostess was not as gracious. For myself, I had to decide which consequences I wanted to deal with: disappointing others or spending more money than we had available at the time and causing financial problems for my family. You may not be at that point. Good luck!

  10. Jess Toews says

    2 years ago I began having horrible headaches. An MRI of my brain revealed a brain tumor the size of a small orange. After seeing multiple doctors in the state of Kentucky, each letting me know that the tumor needed removed quickly, but none willing to tackle it, I was referred to a surgeon in Los Angeles. I would need to fly there for surgery and plan on staying at least 6 weeks for recovery. My husband and I were no where near financially prepared for such a huge costly deal. We prayed and cried a bunch. I flew to California had my surgery and thanks to a loving God, didn’t pay a penny out of my pocket. God had heard our cries and placed it in other peoples hearts to bless us. I received cards of encouragement and financial donations from people all over the US, many of which I will never meet. My husband was able to stay with me for 3 months without working to aide in my recovery. God has a plan. We never worry about finances. We know God will supply all our needs and even some wants.

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