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Happy Spring, y’all!

While going through the Experiencing God Bible study several years ago, I heard Henry Blackaby say that every time God moved them to a different church, they took a pay cut and had a baby. I remember that comment whenever we start a new ministry job and think, “Well, at least we’re not having another baby!” 

Obviously, none of us went into ministry expecting to get rich!

Pastor incomes can vary greatly depending on location and context. It’s hard to embrace delight in ministry life when prices are climbing but our income is not, when our kids are old enough to realize our family has a more limited lifestyle than their friends do, when we’re getting older but there’s not very much in our retirement accounts. These are very real concerns, especially when we can’t control all the factors that impact our money. But we can choose to be good stewards of the financial blessings the Lord does give us. 

I also want to remind you about Love Worth Finding’s resources on Finances. There are free articles and sermon series full of Biblical wisdom about managing money, as well as booklets and other materials available for purchase.

Here are some money-saving hacks that I’ve learned while being married to the ministry. If you want to hear everything I discussed, click below to listen.

Episode Description:  As inflation continues to grow much faster than our paychecks, many people these days are concerned about the economy and money strain. In this episode, Janet shares several lessons she has learned about being a good steward of their ministry income. Check out Married to the Ministry for money-saving hacks that could help ease some financial strain for your family. 
 Links and Product Info: 
LWF Resources on Finances     MTTM Ep 6: How to Stretch Your Finances with Melanie Redd 

 

1. Budget your money. 

Budgeting IS the best hack! Last episode Rachel Cruze talked about the importance of a budget. We started using the Ramsey envelope system right after I quit working and started having babies. Greg and I went from two incomes to one, then when he left his law career to go into ministry, that one income got cut by 40%. The cash envelope system was powerful for us in the leanest years we’ve ever experienced. It helped us recapture dollars that were mysteriously disappearing and helped us develop discipline with finances that still benefits us in this stage of life. You’ll never win with money unless you have a budget! Budgeting helps you…

      • know how much is coming in and how much is going out. YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS— even if your husband manages all the family’s finances. YOU will have the most control over making sure the budget works because you are probably the primary manager of the family’s daily expenses. 
      • control your money. I recommend NOT using auto-pay.
      • know how much stuff costs—don’t turn your brain off when you’re shopping!
      • avoid debt
      • give more

2. Plan your meals

Organized, thoughtful menu planning helps you take advantage of sales, plan meatless dinners and use leftovers. We’ll be talking more about this in an upcoming episode. 

      • Eat what you already have before buying more
      • Consider grocery pickup & delivery—can be cost-saving because you’re not impulse buying in the stores but be careful about ordering too often. Menu plan and shop wisely, even online.
      • Carry a cooler in the car with cold drinks when running errands and for groceries. Freeze water bottles for ice packs. On trips pack a cooler and eat at rest areas instead of driving through for fast food.
      • Share meals at restaurants if you must eat out. We’ve found a good dinner at nicer restaurants can be healthier and cheaper than two sandwich combos at Chick-Fil-A.
      • Learn which restaurants offer kids-eat-free nights. 
      • Go out for treats instead of meals: get ice cream, candy bars, ride bikes to Sonic for half-price shakes.

3. Do it yourself

      • Learn to cut your kids’ hair; find a hair color buddy (or let hubby do it for you) and apply each other’s color.
      • DIY at home. Watch YouTube or Instagram for lessons on home improvement projects. If someone else does come into your home to fix something, watch and learn from them.
      • Trade skills with a friend (painting, cooking, yard work)

4. Look for cheap fun

      • Use the park to have free picnics or play games together. Remember in our last episode Rachel Cruze said what our kids want most is to spend time with you, and that doesn’t have to cost anything!
      • Use the library—rent fishing poles, games, books on tape for trips, movies instead of streaming, buy a gateway card into larger library systems. Some libraries even offer access to paid streaming services like Libby, Hoopla, Acorn TV.
      • Date nights/Meet friends for dessert or coffee instead of a meal.
      • Limit the number of sports your kids participate in.
      • Take advantage of plays and concerts at local colleges.
      • Join community theatre–this was a great experience for our family several summers. It kept the kids busy for free!
      • Swap babysitting with another family.
      • Tent camp for vacay, even in your own city! Melanie Redd mentioned this on episode 6 when we talked about ways to stretch our dollars. Click here for MTTM Ep 6: How to Stretch Your Finances with Melanie Redd. 
      • Take kids out of school for vacations to take advantage of off-season rates and less crowds.

Philippians 4:19 says “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Most of what we truly need, friend, cannot be obtained with money, but by spending time with Jesus in His Word and walking with Him. 

Next month…

We’ll be looking at how to know if it’s time to leave your current ministry situation. Many pastor wives have asked this question, so my husband Greg and I will be talking about how we’ve prayed through this several times over the years. You’ll also want to tune in to the other episode in May when a young staff wife shares her family’s experience about moving far away from home and how she helped her kids through that transition.

Until then, I hope today’s hack topic helps you embrace more of God’s truth and delight in your ministry life, especially when it comes to saving money!

*If you would like to help Married to the Ministry to grow and flourish, we’d like to invite you to get involved. Click here to learn more.