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1 Jun 2009   ·   0
Money Saving Mom

Wow! I didn't mean to take a 3-day break from blogging but sometimes life happens and blogging just has to get put on the back burner.

Thank you to the many of you who wrote in with concern as to my unexplained silence. You all are very kind! Gratefully, nothing traumatic happened here, we just had a jam-packed weekend. We were at a homeschool conference Thursday evening through Saturday evening and then were gone all day Sunday and most of Monday due to various other events.

I had every intention of fitting in blogging time in the midst of our busy weekend, but it just didn't happen as I opted to get to bed early instead. I guess when it's your third time around with a newborn, you decide sleep is one of your most valuable commodities! 🙂

In addition to getting sleep, my husband and I were able to plan out our homeschooling year (which we're hoping to begin next week!), re-work our daily schedule to hopefully have a workable schedule, and just iron out a lot of details to enable our home life to run more smoothly in the next few weeks and months. It feels so good to have some semblance of organization planned and in place now.

Thanks for your patience with me in taking an impromptu breather from blogging. While it was great to take a break for a few days, I missed you all and am glad to be back. And I have a huge backlog of deals and posts to share so expect an avalanche of blog posts over the next few days so I can catch up!

29 May 2009   ·   20
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: Teaching Your Children About Money Management

Guest Post by Jill Savage from Hearts at Home

Every child has their own financial personality. Three of our children are savers. Two are spenders. Of course, they take after both my husband and me, who sit at opposite ends of the spending/saving spectrum ourselves.

Regardless of our default tendencies in money matters, it is vital that as parents we teach our children sound financial principles. Their ability to handle money as an adult will be influenced by the financial education we impart as well as the habits we model ourselves.

Because faith is an important part of our life, we base our financial education on the 10-10-80 principle: 10% to God, 10% to savings, and 80% for spending. This provides us a foundation for all of our money lessons.

If you are trying to teach your kids good money management skills, here are some practical financial strategies to consider:

1) Resist making loans. Invariably, the kids will ask for an advance on their allowance or a short-term loan until their allowance or next paycheck and it is tempting to front them the money. However, this can plant the seed that borrowing is an optional financial strategy for short-term pleasures.

2) Teach them to spend based upon a budget rather than a paycheck. Help your children to identify budget categories like entertainment, future events (concerts, ski trips, etc), gas and auto expenses (if they are driving), clothing, and Christmas to allow them to learn the value of truly "managing" their money. If they sock away a certain amount or percentage into each category each time they are paid, then they will most likely have money for the things they want to do. This also teaches delayed gratification where they learn to wait for the things they want through short-term sacrifice rather than getting short-term gratification with long-term consequences (debt).

3) Open a checking account with your teen. Ideally this would happen a year or two before they go to college so they can learn to manage the account with your guiding hand. Teach them how to keep good records and how to reconcile their account each month. Set aside a regular time each week to financially "check in" with your teen, going over their register, checking the account online, and overseeing their reconciliation.

4) Rather than starting your teen with a debit card, ask the bank for an ATM card. There is a common misunderstanding that a debit card purchase will be denied if the bank account is overdrawn. However, a debit purchase is only denied after the account is already overdrawn and fees have likely been incurred. This is because the bank doesn’t know what purchases haven’t yet posted to the account. Therefore, it won’t stop a new purchase because it isn’t aware of recent purchases until it’s too late.

An ATM card allows access to cash anytime, but keeps teens from over-drafting the account with unrecorded debit purchases. There is still a risk of overdraft with an ATM card if the teen is writing checks and not keeping good records, but the risk is definitely less than if they are using a debit card.   

5) Teach kids to shop wisely. Kids can use their fledgling math skills to divide the cost of a product by the ounces in the container to get a per-ounce price that allows them to make cost comparisons. Taking along a small calculator can come in handy.

6) Educate your kids about confusing marketing tactics, misleading credit card offers, and hidden costs in purchases. Television commercials provide many examples of misleading marketing tactics that our kids need to understand. The dozens of credit card offers we get in the mail can become an instant lesson in the dangers of borrowing money and how the minimum payment keeps a person in debt for years. Online purchases include shipping and handling costs that kids need to figure into the final price for an item they might want to purchase.

Certainly our spenders need to learn to be savers and our savers need to learn how to spend wisely. However, the most important lesson our children need to learn is money can manage us or we can manage our money!

Jill Savage is the founder and Executive Director of Hearts at Home. A mother of five, Jill is the author of seven books including My Heart's at Home.You can find Jill's website and blog at

27 May 2009   ·   33
Money Saving Mom

Freezer Jam

Guest Post by Hannah and Abby from Safely Gathered InEvery considered making your own freezer jam? It can be inexpensive, fast, and easy to do! Best of all, it’s delicious! 

The most economical way to make this jam is usually by buying strawberries when they are in season at Farmer’s Markets or U-Pick Farms. However, you can also make it with frozen berries.

The ingredients you’ll need:
Strawberries (you can also use other berries, if you prefer)

You’ll need enough strawberries to have four cups of crushed strawberries. We picked a gallon bucket, and then ate strawberries out of it all weekend, and then I made jam from the rest.

You can pick up pectin in your local grocery store in the canning section. It’s usually by the ketchup and salad dressing. The directions for making jam are on the back of the pectin, so it’s really simple. (There are also similar recipes here and here.)

First, mix the pectin and the sugar together in a bowl until combined.

Then, get to work on the strawberries. I let my faucet trickle so I can rinse the strawberries one at a time and remove the tops. If they are large strawberries I slice them, if they are wee ones then I just toss them into the blender. After all, they are just going to be pureed.

Once your strawberries are washed and hulled, put them into a blender and puree them. If you like chunky jam, don’t blend it quite as much. Make sure you have the right amount of crushed fruit it calls for. If, after I blend my berries, the mixture is under the four-cup line, I just add more strawberries and blend again.

Add the strawberries to pectin/sugar mixture and stir. My directions say to stir for three minutes. So set the timer and go.

An important component of jam making is the containers! The beauty of freezer jam is that since it’s going in your freezer, you can put it in anything and it doesn’t need to have a seal on it. I use yogurt, sour cream containers, old jars, and baby food jars for the jam I’m going to gift away.

Ladle the jam into your containers, label the contents and date, and set on your counter top for 30 minutes to set, or until the time indicated in your directions. The freezer jam will last for up to 3 weeks in your refrigerator and up to a year in your freezer.

Hannah and Abby share recipe ideas, food preservation tutorials, and more information regarding food storage at

23 May 2009   ·   89
Money Saving Mom

An exercise in juggling: Our first coupon-shopping trip with three little ones

Whew! Don't ask me what my hubby and I were thinking when we decided to take all three little ones (4 years old, 23 months old, and 16 days old) out to visit Great-Grandma and then to Dillons, Aldi, and Target for groceries. We're typically a little overly-ambitious and I think today was no different.

That said, we did make it through all four stops, plus a stop at Sonic for Happy Hour half-priced drinks. But I wouldn't say it was the smoothest outing ever. And I certainly don't think I'm quite ready to tackle three stores with three children all by myself–at least not until Silas gets a little better nursing schedule (he's currently nursing every two hours for 30-45 minutes–which adds up to a lot of time spent nursing!) and I'm a bit more back to my normal stamina and energy!

It's funny, though, how your perspective changes. I remember when taking one child out seemed like a big undertaking. Now that seems like a vacation! So, hopefully soon, juggling three little ones and coupon-shopping will be old hat. Maybe. 🙂

At any rate, it was a fun adventure and we scored some pretty good deals. Here's what we ended up with:


All totaled, at Dillons, Aldi, and Target, we spent right at $31 for all of this! Of course, I did have $9 in Target gift cards that I used (earned from previous deals), so our total would have been $40 had it not been for those.

I was especially excited with the deals we snagged at Target:

All that pictured above was only $3.06 after the coupons and $9 in gift cards. Sweet!

After not grocery shopping myself for quite some time, I was happy to have a successful shopping trip–even if I haven't quite mastered the art of juggling three little ones, nursing every two hours, and my coupon box. I'm hoping I'll eventually get that all figured out… maybe?

What are your tricks and tips for shopping with multiple little ones? I'd love to hear!

23 May 2009   ·   13
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday

I just finished planning our shopping trip to Target, Dillons, and Aldi. Now we're off to navigate the stores and deals with three littles in tow for the first time. It should be an adventure!

I'll post an update when we get home… stay tuned!


Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below.

Note: Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

22 May 2009   ·   4
Money Saving Mom

A hodge-podge of links

I've been collecting some note-worthy links over the past few days which I wanted to share here for those interested:

::See this beautiful cookie platter here? My sister made those yummy-looking brownies yesterday at our house and, let me tell you, the recipe is quite a winner!

::Amy posted an excellent piece on Seven Tips For Leading a Balanced Blogger Life which every blogger out there should take the time to read. Excellent food for thought!

::Have you ever stopped to think about how much trash your family produces each year? This family committed to go a whole year without sending any garbage to the landfill. They ended up with a single bag of trash for the whole year. Quite inspiring!

::My friend, Amy, has a great post up on Grocery Stewardship
which I highly recommend that everyone go read. It's so important to
not get caught up in the comparison game. We are all in different
situations in life with different needs.

I hope that our $40-$60 grocery trips/menus are an inspiration to you all,
but I never want it to come across like this is the "gold standard" of
grocery budgets. I know many people who have smaller budgets and much
larger budgets and the budget number is not what matters; the fact that
they are seeking to be a wise steward of the resources they have is
what matters most. So be free to do what works for your family and
don't feel the need to apologize!

::And finally, for the many of you who have asked, I wrote a post here on how our family is adjusting to life with three littles.

21 May 2009   ·   33
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: My Journey Towards Cutting Our Grocery Budget


photo by roadside pictures

Guest Post by Jessie from

Not too many months ago, I was spending $80 to $100 a week on groceries. For two people. I knew that wasn't quite right, that I didn’t need to spend so much; yet, how would I get to cook the things I wanted if I tried to pinch pennies? Wouldn’t we end up eating macaroni and cheese and cereal for every meal?

I read many blogs on saving money and using coupons, but I could not get it to click in my head very well. I thrived on trying new recipes, exciting and exotic meals from the pages of Cooking Light and Southern Living. I planned my meals, made out a list of ingredients I needed, and zipped off to the store each week.

Then, in October, I had my first child. Suddenly the cost of daycare, pediatrician visits, diapers, wipes, and other baby paraphernalia was eating at our loosely planned budget. In January, once I was back at work and more in the swing of things, I decided it was time to tackle my grocery spending. I thought surely the two of us could eat for $40 a week if I were more careful.

It’s not been nearly as difficult as I imagined. Mostly I just flipped around my way of doing things: instead of choosing meals and then making my list, I make the list and then choose meals. First, I cut out the coupons from that week’s circular that I might use at some point. I flip back through my coupon box to remind myself what I have. Then, I scour the ads of my two local grocery stores to find the great deals for the week, and match up items for which I have coupons.

After that, I use my list of items I can get for a steal to plan my menu. I’ve found that doing it this way, I can still make many meals from those magazines I love. Some of my recent favorites have been Gnocchi with Italian Sausage and Swiss Chard, Pork Tenderloin with Shallot-Cider Sauce, and Grilled Chicken Burritos with Jalapeno Sauce. I use healthy, whole ingredients to make our dinners—with an occasional side of frozen veggies or Rice-a-Roni.

I never thought I would be the kind of person to go through the grocery store with a calculator, but I do now, every week. I get everything on my list, then use any extra money I have for the week for unadvertised deals, manager’s specials, or treats for my husband.

Some weeks I still groan at the idea of laboring through the coupons and ads; but truly, it is just an hour of my time each Sunday while the baby naps, and it saves a great deal of money. Some day I would like to stay home with my daughter, and having these habits now is great practice for the future, when I might be on an ever tighter budget!

Right now my $40 budget is just for the week’s groceries, but I hope as I get more and more used to it I’ll be able to squeeze my household items in there as well. And I desperately want to get over my fear of CVSing…anyone know where I could get some tips on that? 😉

Jessie is wife to Adam and mom to baby Libbie. She lives in Nashville, TN, where she works as an editor for a Christian publishing house. She blogs about trying to keep up her household while being a full-time working mom at

20 May 2009   ·   21
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: Making Your Own Homemade Cleaners


photo by Brittney Bush

Guest Post by Heidi from Frugal Girls

One way I've found to save our family a lot of money is to make our own cleaners. It took me awhile before I was willing to try this, but after I did a quick analysis of how much money I could save, I knew it was time to start making up some frugal cleaning solutions of my own! 

These solutions literally cost approximately $0.40 to make, as opposed to the $3 or $4 price tag you’ll often see on cleaners at the store. Here are two of my favorite tried and true “recipes” for homemade cleaning solutions:

Homemade 409
2 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Borax
1/8 cup Dawn dish soap
1 cup hot water

Pour vinegar, borax, and hot water into spray bottle. Then continue filling spray bottle with cool water.
Add dish soap last. There is no need to shake. 

Homemade Laundry Stain Remover
1/3 cup Dawn dish soap
1/3 cup ammonia
3 Tablespoon baking soda
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together and store in an empty spray bottle. I was skeptical of this one at first, but since I have two boys
who are dirt and grass-stain magnets I gave it a try and I've found
that it has never let me down!

If you haven’t tried making your own cleaning solutions, I’d highly encourage you to try! You just need a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to some effective and thrifty solutions. It’s easy to do, and you might be amazed at how much money you’ll save!

Frugal Girls is a positive and fun site dedicated to helping you save money and stretch your dollars by finding the best bargains, hottest coupons, thrifty meals, and outrageous deals!

19 May 2009   ·   0
Money Saving Mom

A great way to recycle your cut-up credit cards

If you're a Dave Ramsey fan like me, you probably have become quite adept at cutting up credit cards. Up until now, I'd never considered a way to recycle them, but this mosaic idea is brilliant. Not only is it a way to show your disdain for credit cards, but you can do it in a beautiful way!

photo from

Check out the detailed instructions for making your own mosaic here (thanks to Rachael for passing along the link!)

Oh and if you are still sold on using plastic, you can go here to read why you should cut up those cards forever and find freedom in using real money.

15 May 2009   ·   23
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday

Well, we skipped grocery shopping entirely this week except for a quick run my husband made for bananas and chocolate milk. Our church friends have generously been providing food for us all week long so I haven't had to cook anything and we've been eating exceptionally well. What a blessing!

And we haven't even touched our After-The-Baby Freezer Stash of 25 meals I made up before Silas was born so it looks like it's going to be quite a while before I'm going to have to do much cooking or baking around here–which is wonderful since I'm pretty busy right now just keeping up with three little ones!

I have to say, though, I'm really missing cooking, baking, and bargain
shopping–even if my time is a bit limited right now!–and I am looking
forward to jumping back into it soon. But in the mean time, I've been
spending my free time snuggling with and loving on my adorable little children.

003 006 

Thanks for your patience with me as I've been blogging less here this past week. My husband went back to work on Monday so I've been on my own most of this week. Gratefully, it's going really well and we're making good headway in getting into a routine around here but it will likely be at least a few more weeks before things are back into order and we have a good schedule going.

Until then, I'm just blogging in the little spare moments of time that avail themselves throughout the day–and some days, those spare moments are pretty sparse! At any rate, I appreciate your understanding as we make this transition here and thank the many of you who have gone out of your way to pass along deals and links to help me out.


Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save
money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and
leave your link below.

Note: Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share
deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week.
In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring
others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no
content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted.
Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the
links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday

15 May 2009   ·   6
Money Saving Mom

Italian Roast Wraps


Guest Post by Laura from

I’ve learned four simple things about healthful eating:

  1. It is not as difficult as you might think.
  2. It is not as expensive as you might think.
  3. It is not as time-consuming as you might think.
  4. It is more delicious than you might think.

Really. I have a husband and four kids–four boys to be exact. We are a single income family and we eat a very healthful diet on a very tight budget. So I know from first-hand experience that it can be done and it can taste really yummy, too!

Recently on my blog I’ve been writing a series called High Five Recipes, featuring high quality recipes all using five ingredients or less. You would be amazed at the great dishes you can make using only five ingredients or even three ingredients. Of the recipes I’ve come up with to share so far not only are they healthy and simple, but many of them only take five minutes to prepare.

Here’s one of our favorite High Five Recipes: Italian Roast Wraps. These are so flavorful and juicy. However, if you were looking forward to seeing a five-ingredient recipe which only takes five minutes to prepare you may be disappointed with this one. You see, this one only takes two minutes to prepare. Sorry about that.  🙂

Italian Roast Wraps

  • 2 to 3 pounds of frozen roast (beef, deer, or lamb)
  • 1/2 pouch Italian dressing mix (I use the Simply Organic brand.)
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes

Place frozen roast in a crock pot. Sprinkle 1/2 pouch Italian dressing mix onto roast. Cook on low for 5 hours.

Shred meat or slice thinly. Spoon meat onto a warm tortilla and top with tomatoes and sour cream.  Wrap and eat! Served with a fresh fruit salad these Italian Roast Wraps are a great lunch or dinner.

Want to see more High Five Recipes? I have a whole category on my blog featuring these five-ingredient or less recipes including main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and desserts all using healthful ingredients here. Stop by and learn how simple healthful eating can be!

Laura blogs at Heavenly Homemakers, a site dedicated to encouraging women as they make their homes heavenly and strive toward their Heavenly Home. She shares about how she and her husband work to live simply, eat healthfully, spend wisely, and raise four boys (ages 4, 7, 9 and 11). The raising four boys part of her life is usually loud, busy, and full of lots of soccer balls and light sabers.

15 May 2009   ·   142
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: Printing coupons inexpensively?

With all the great printable coupons which have been available recently, I thought it would be great to post this question that Andrea recently emailed and asked:

I am new to printing internet coupons and it has taken a toll on
my printer cartridges. Where have you found/heard to be the cheapest
place to buy/refill them? -Andrea

I'd love to hear your best money-saving suggestions and ideas for printing coupons (and everything else!) inexpensively.

14 May 2009   ·   12
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: Finding Joy in the Journey


photo by stukinha

Guest Post by Amanda from Trent Tribe Refreshment Company

I once heard a story about two brothers who set out to dig a deep hole in their backyard. “What are you doing?” some older boys asked. 

“We are digging a hole through the earth!” the brothers replied.

The older boys laughed. Digging a hole all the way through the earth was impossible.

After a few moments, one of the diggers picked up a jar full of spiders, worms, and other treasures. “Even if we don’t dig all the way through the earth, look what we found along the way!”

The moral of the story: It is in the digging that life is lived.

In our journey towards debt-free living, how many times do we say, “I’ll be happy when I’m debt-free?”   “I’ll be happy when the emergency fund is fully-funded.” or “I’ll be happy when the mortgage is paid off.”

We’re distracted by crisis. We all face frustration, boredom, pain. But joy is a choice

By recognizing the positives in my life, I feel joy. Celebrating the everyday blessings is a deliberate action. It’s a purposeful mindset which transforms my life.

Blessings are all around us; they are just waiting to be noticed. We can choose to dwell on the difficulties or we can look for the joy.

I still have problems. I still have inconveniences and discomforts. However, I am allowing them to be less important, less significant by choosing to acknowledge the wonderful things in my life. I am practicing praise and attempting to do away with complaining.

There is joy in the journey.  

Amanda Trent blogs at Trent Tribe Refreshment Company. There she posts about loving her husband, mothering/homeschooling her four children, clipping coupons, seeking God, and finding encouragement along the way.

13 May 2009   ·   11
Money Saving Mom

Guest Post: Summer Family Fun for Free

Guest Post by Christi Bovee from Blessings From Our Home to Yours

In our house, we are all getting antsy to get out and feel some sun on our faces and get our bodies moving in the summer breezes. Here are just a few of our family's favorite ideas for enjoying the Summer months without spending a lot of money. In fact, most of these ideas are free!


1) Try letterboxing. Our family discovered this fun activity a few years ago and our children have loved the thrill of this "treasure hunt". If you've never heard of this before, this article on "Start Finding Letterboxes" explains:

Letterboxing is an intriguing “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity.
Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible
places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of
several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most
highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about
20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual
letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber
stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the
letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of
their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook .

To read more about letterboxing and the supplies you will need to get started, visit

2) Visit your local library. The summer reading program at our library is always a big hit with our children during the Summer. Our library gives great prizes like Frosty coupons, Little Caesar Pizzas, Donuts, and Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookies from the local coffee shop. Those prizes are definitely great motivators for our children to read! Most libraries offer similar Summer Reading Programs and I'd encourage you to check yours out.

3) Participate in nature programs.
Many local parks offer nature free programs. If you check out the website(s) for the parks department in your area, you might be surprised at what things you can learn and do for free!

We often visit Maple Wood Nature Center in LaGrange, Indiana one Wednesday a month for an educational program. Their programs range from learning about maple syrup to patterns in nature to learning about instruments. Last summer we attended a park in Elkhart, Indiana which had a program on old fashioned sodas. We learned the history, tried samples of various old fashioned drinks, and then made root beer and bottled our own to take home.

4) Go to museums. Some of the best educational places are museums, but it seems–especially for families with even a few children–it is nearly impossible to visit these without spending at least the amount that would be spent on groceries for the week. However, don't let the admissions costs deter you because we've found many museums have free or discounted days a few times each Summer.

For instance, in the Chicago area, the Chicago Children's Museum offers free family nights on Thursday evenings and free admission on some Sundays and Mondays. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has six free days in June and The Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission on Thursday evenings. 

Bank of America has their Museums on Us promotion which provides free admission to over 100 museums nationwide on the first Saturday of every month. More details here.

I'd recommend contacting the museums in your city to see if they have any free admission days or times during the Summer. You might be pleasantly surprised!

There are so many options for parents who can’t afford to take an elaborate or expensive vacation but still want to create special memories with their children. It doesn’t have to cost you a months worth of wages, either. Time spent together as a family will likely be some of the best memories your children have all Summer!

Christi Bovee is a homeschooling mom who looks for every opportunity to build and create special memories with her husband and children every day and season of the year. She loves reading, singing along with her children and husband while he plays guitar, hiking, and enjoying the fellowship of her church family. She and her husband have three children with another one due in May. You can read about the blessings in her family at her blog.

12 May 2009   ·   48
Money Saving Mom

Simple Ideas for Generosity–Even on a Tight Budget

When you are living on a tight budget, it is easy to feel like there's not much you can do to give to others–especially if you are barely making ends meet yourself. However, just because you are not independently wealthy doesn't mean you can't be a generous giver, it just means you have to be more creative!

Here are some simple ideas of things we have done or are doing which anyone–even those on a very tight budget–could likely consider doing. In fact, most of these were things we did when we were living on less than $1000 a month during my husband's tenure in law school.

1) Share from Your Stockpile. Many of you probably already do this, but it is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to bless those in need–especially if you are a coupon shopper!

When you find a good bargain that you're able to stock up on while still staying within your grocery budget, stock up! In addition, take advantage of coupons and play The Drugstore Game to purchase items for free or almost-free.

Over time, you'll likely develop a nice stockpile of extra groceries and household products. Having these extra groceries and household products will not only save you a lot of money since you'll be paying pennies on the dollar for most products you use, but you'll also be able to bless others from your abundance. 

Maybe you can't give a $50 check to a needy family or individual, but you could likely put together a box of canned goods and household products worth $50 to share with them. Or you could use items in your stockpile to make up a loaf of bread and a pot of soup to bring to a family who is going through a difficult time.

Really, the possibilities for blessing others with your stockpile are practically endless. Start looking for ways to bless others with what you have on hand and you'll likely have more than ample ideas!

2) Give of Your Time. If money is tight and your stockpile is slim, that doesn't mean you don't have anything to give. What about volunteering your time to help mow an elderly neighbor's yard, or clean a new mom's house, or watch a weary friend's child for an afternoon?

Again, the possibilities for giving of your time are practically limitless. Think of what your strengths and gifts are and how you could use those to help and reach out to others.

3) Pass It On! Do you have items in your home you no longer need or use? Why don't you pass them on to someone else who can use them? Of course, I'm not saying to pass along junk to people! But if you have items which still have plenty of life left in them and are in good condition but you are not using them, find a more appropriate home for them!

From clothes to books to coupons, I love to share extras with others. One thing I always do is to tell people they are free to pass the item on themselves or get rid of it if it's not something they can use. I certainly don't want others to feel obligated to hang onto something just because I shared it with them.

4) Sponsor a Compassion Child. One of our very favorite ministries is Compassion International. Dedicated to helping poverty-stricken children, this organization lets you choose a needy child to share love, support, and prayers with.

We have so much here in America and it is very easy for our children to take the wealth and abundance of stuff for granted. One way we are seeking to help our children understand the poverty and difficulties children around the world face is through sponsoring "our" Compassion children.

It has been so eye-opening to read the letters and see the pictures that our sponsored children send. And 4-year-old Kathrynne has especially begun to grasp just how little they have in comparison to her. She often talks about these children and writes notes to them because she wants to brighten their day.

Sponsoring a child costs $32 per month. This money goes directly to provide food and clean water, medical care, educational opportunities, and life-training skills for these impoverished children. While that amount might seem impossible for you to make room for in your budget, consider how little these children have.

Perhaps you could give up eating out once a month, or have a meatless dinner once a week, or cut your grocery bill by $8 per week in order to come up with the extra money to sponsor a child? You could even consider splitting the sponsorship costs with a few other families, if your budget is especially tight.

If you're anything like us, you will find that the blessings you reap from sponsoring a child are well worth the small monetary investment.

Go here for more information Compassion International.

5) Support Widows and Orphans. Gleaning the Harvest is an organization dedicated to providing for the needs of widows and orphans. I love the concept of this and would love to see many more people begin committing to support these needy families every month.

The best thing of all is that it is set up so you can donate money in whatever amount you are able to. Surely all of us could spare a dollar or two every month? And if a few thousand of us gave a dollar every month, the results would really make an impact!

Go here for more information on Gleaning the Harvest.

Those are just a few simple ideas of things we've done and things just about anyone could do on any budget. But I know this list barely even scratches the surface of ideas on how to practice generosity on a limited budget, so I'd love to hear from you. How is your family giving to others, even while on a budget? What simple and inexpensive ideas do you have for reaching out to those in need? What creative ways have you used your bargain-shopping finds to bless others?