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31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Turn a Ladies’ Night Out into an Opportunity to Give Back

Welcome to Decembers series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.

If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story and a picture to go along with it, if possible. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

The following is a testimony from Michelle of  The Willing Cook

I have a dear friend who has 6 children (ages 3-13) and 2 foster children (10 months and age 2). Four of the children are at home with her all day while her husband is a teacher at our Classical Christian School. They are very tight on money, time, and energy. Their days are tough, but they see their lives as a ministry to all their children.

Since I am generally seen as the social coordinator of our little group of friends, I try to plan Ladies’ Nights Out once a month. And as I was thinking through what we should do for our upcoming Ladies’ Night, the possibility of going out to dinner or doing anything that cost money was not sitting well with me. (Most of us are frugal because we have to be or because we choose to be.) It has also been weighing on me how we should come together to serve one another in times of need. Why don’t we do this more often?

So, we organized our Ladies Night to be a Freezer Meal Cooking Night and then we gave all the meals we made to our dear friend in need.This was a complete surprise for her and she was overwhelmed with thankfulness!

Oh, I cannot tell you how much of a blessing last night was. We all came together to fellowship with one another and minister to a sister in need.

Here’s it worked:

I came up with the meals to fix using mainly recipes from I did the grocery shopping the day before and was able to get everything for about $35 total (we used some ingredients I already had on hand).

The day before we got together, I did some of the cooking — like making the burrito meat and diced chicken.

I set up stations in my kitchen with the recipes printed out and put everyone to work, even the recipient! It took about 1.5 hours to get it all done, but it fun work!

The meals we made & the quantities:

And of course we couldn’t have a proper Ladies’ Night without a treat for ourselves. We completely indulged ourselves in Brigette’s Upside Down Praline Apple Pie. Amazing!

Everyone left with a full tummy of delicious pie and many laughs, as well as a full heart able to minister to a friend! And, one last thing, everyone wanted the recipes and agreed we should have more Freezer Cooking Ladies’ Nights Out.

Thank you, Crystal, for your part in such a great night!

Michelle is blessed to stay home with her three children (ages 10, 7, and 4), while her husband works to provide. When she’s not experimenting with allergy-friendly meals, she’s blogging about it at The Willing Cook. Through the Willing Cook, her hope is that you gain peace of mind in your kitchen (and your pocket book) and are able to serve those you love who suffer with food allergies.

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  • J says:

    This is a wonderful idea. Plus the big bonus of being able to be with friends while working.

  • Carrie says:

    What a great idea! You are a wonderful friend.

  • Meagan says:

    Simply brilliant! Having fun with friends + spending very little money + helping someone in need = something I can do to make a difference. Thanks for this great post!

  • Jennifer says:

    What a sweet, thoughful idea!

  • Kayla P says:

    What a great idea! Now you have me thinking of who I could do this with and for…. 🙂

  • JenMarie says:

    Love it! It’s so easy to forget how simple it is to bless others and how we always end up being even more blessed in the process. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • I just love this idea! What a wonderful way to help someone in need while getting to hang out with all your friends 🙂

  • This is a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenny says:

    What a great idea! I got together with girlfriends last month and we made meals for the homeless together. With a few drinks and snacks it was easy for the 2 girls that hosted to entertain us and for all of us to give back during the holiday season. I hope others will get together and do similar projects for friends or community groups in need this winter!

  • Tiffany says:

    Great post! This sounds like a great addition to regular freezer cooking for my little family. Thank you for the wonderful story & inspiring idea! P.S. What is your recipe for breakfast muffins?

  • Hannah says:

    Love this! I have been looking for ways to spend time with friends differently, great idea. And beautiful ladies!

  • Katherine says:

    That is awesome! Thanks for sharing such a heartwarming story. I love the way you were able to plan a fun time for friends to get together for a much needed girls night as well as help a friend in need and nobody had to be stressed about money or unable to have fun because of money. The food looks great too, good job!

  • Kristen says:

    Wow…imagine my surprise to pop over to Money Saving Mom and see all of my buddies smiling back at me! Way to go, Michelle, for publishing this great idea and a picture for me to see 🙂 I only regret that I wasn’t there! Missing you all from NH….

  • K Quinn says:

    That’s just a beautiful get together. Thank you for sharing.

  • Em says:

    My sister in law and I have bought groceries and made freezer meals (about 15 dinners) together for my in-laws for the past three Christmas’. They really don’t need anything but they were both working full time and they loved to come to meal aready cooked (crock pot) or ready to go in the oven.

    I love this idea more!

  • Patty says:

    What a wonderful story! I’ve come back and re-read it a few times today. Such an amazing group of friends is a rare treasure.

  • Sissy Sweet says:

    Love this idea…it’s just brilliant!

  • Wow! This story continues to bless me over and over again and I was part of making it happen! It just goes to show you that blessing others always seems to bless the giver in return.

    I’m loving the buzz on my personal facebook from sharing this story. The ladies had no idea that I shared our story with you and they are shocked by the response.

    Thank you, Crystal, for sharing our story. My hope is that many others are served in a similar way through our story.

    Thanks again!

  • Kay says:

    I’m so glad you used my idea for a series on giving back! (Or had the same brilliant idea independently.) And it’s perfect timing too.

  • jodi says:

    Crystal – I was the blessed recipient of this ladies night out. My friend Michelle certainly surprised me when I went to her house to ‘hang out’… only to find out that these sweet friends were planning to bless our family with all these meals. To this day, my heart swells with gratitude and thanksgiving. Raising 8 kids, 2 of which come with a lot of baggage is nothing short of overwhelming many days. What these ladies did for my family was such a gift. Thank you for the great recipes and for posting the story… I’m certain other ladies will be blessed b/c of it. I know I was. (on a separate note, my husband did coupons for a couple years and was a big fan of yours!) Thanks for what you do to help families!

  • Claire says:

    Crystal, this is probably the best series you have come up with yet. So many people (myself included) do want to give back, but when we look at our budgets, we really don’t see how to financially. I have looked at volunteer match websites, but those opportunities seem to have very specific time commitments that are hard to fill when you work full time or don’t have a very flexible schedule. Hopefully this series will give all of us more ideas!

  • Tara C says:

    This is a fantastic idea! My best friend has been the recipient of several freezer meals that were prepared by two friends who get together to do this once a twice a month for their own families and they decided to start preparing extra for my friend. It has been a tremendous blessing to her as she is recovering from a major surgery.

  • Sarah says:

    This is a really great idea! I hope my friends and I can do this soon!

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