Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's the most expensive time of the year

I love spring and summer. The fresh air and warm sunshine are so welcoming after a cold, bitter winter. The one thing I don't particularly enjoy about this time of year is the expense. Seriously. This is the most expensive time of the year for us. It's gift buying galore for the next few months. Look at the holidays we have:
- Between May and September every single person in our families (parents, siblings, nephews, and niece) celebrates their birthday
-Mother's Day
-Father's Day
-Everyone in our family has an anniversary during these months
-Graduation parties - and being high school teachers we get invited to a lot!
-Wedding season so there are all kinds of ceremonies and showers to buy for
-Summer is when we try to go on vacation
-Missions trips - we haven't been on one since 2002, but because we are in the ministry and are surrounded by so many Christians, we get asked to support a lot of missions trips.

Notice this list doesn't include some of the other items of expensive that pop up for people who own homes. Thankfully I no longer have to worry about buying plants for my yard and gas for the lawn mower.
Don't get me wrong. We love supporting people in the ministry and giving gifts to those we love. The fact that I have only one more paycheck coming is starting to put things into perspective for me. If you have any money saving tips, please feel free to share. Keep in mind, however, that I am not crafty and making homemade gifts would probably not be something others would appreciate.
I am looking forward to being a full time mom. Whatever sacrifices I have to make will be well worth it! We have already seen the Lord provide in so many ways. Just in the last few weeks the Lord has given us these blessings:
1. A professional hair stylist offered to give me all her services at cost on an ongoing basis.
2. My medications, which used to cost me close to $150 a month are now costing me $4.
3. We are moving into a new apartment in July which is almost half the cost of the one we are renting now (and we thought our current residence was a good deal!)
4. A young seminary couple who receives monthly support from their home church felt led by the Lord to share with us out of their abundance!
5. A doctor at our church gave us a free ultrasound
6. We were able to go on a free vacation to Florida for spring break

I know there have been many other blessings that have come our way over the last few weeks. I need to start keeping a journal of them. God is certainly good - all the time. Though the future may be unknown and somewhat scary, I know it will be a tremendous season of growth for us.


TwoMuths said...

my tip - check to see if you might be eligible for WIC. the income qualifications are quite generous to my eyes - and as a pregnant or nursing woman, free stuff is abundant. it does take a big gulp for me to swallow my pride and use the coupons, but it is definitely a blessing as God has provided for us in this way.

TwoMuths said...

Oh and I have one more tip. I have started giving gift cards to Starbucks or Coldstone for wedding gifts - and package it as a "Free Date Night" with a little note about how sometimes it's nice to just get out and do something. The increments can be smaller than a "normal" gift card, but it still comes across as a thoughtful gift. And it requires very little creativity. :-)

Alicia said...

Great tips, Jenny. I'm stealing that gift card one. ;)

I also recommend buying up gifts on clearance tables or yard sales throughout the year and then storing them until you need them. We have a "gift closet" in which we keep such treasures. I love snatching up cheap stuff after holidays pass and then keeping them for a year until they're appropriate presents! And it's fun to go through the gift closet to see what's accumulated through the year.

Alicia said...

Oh yes, and I used to re-gift books from my library as graduation gifts. Books are very appropriate gifts for graduations and you can write a nice note in the front cover (if it's a new book, that is!). If you're like us, you ALWAYS have more books than you need in your library anyhow.

Jenny LaBo said...

Oh and some bookstores will buy your used books and give you store credit or cash. That way if Ben needs a book he can get it at store credit or it can be given as a gift.
Hastings is the one we go to. We should talk girl. I can stretch a penny like you would not believe.

Korey said...

Ebay!!! As someone mentioned earlier everyone has books that they don't really need. I KNOW yall have a ton of books. But, I know its nice to still have them but I'm sure that there are some that you won't ever touch again. Also,if you or Ben still have your old cell phones you can make a little cash by going to and selling them. I sold mine a few weeks ago for $20.

Jenny LaBo said...
I just heard about this you can sell stuff and get things too. It's like an online garage sale.

WILD GHESE said...

I guess my family is weird, but my mom NEVER bought a plane ticket for me in college, to go to a wedding, except one time, and that was my best friend. I had to miss the opportunity to be the bridesmaid of two weddings. If it's not in the vicinity and it's not in the family, don't go. It's one day. You could still send a gift!
In hind sight, I wish I had just told them I couldn't go up front. instead of being hopeful and disappointing them.
We like gift certificates, and I like making cards, even if it means cutting out a picture in a magazine and gluing it on paper.

Pam said...

We too have seen the Lord provide in incredible ways since I made the decision to quit my job and stay home with the kids. Sure, we make many sacrifices, especially with two house payments.
I find I cut about 30-40 dollars off my grocery bill with coupons. We are lucky to have stores that double coupons and it REALLY adds up!
Also, this may sound cheesy, but on Walmarts website you can get a wide variety of free samples (under the "in stores now" tab). I don't think I've bought deodarant in 8 months! Just some simple ways we save. :)

Kelly Glupker said...

Jen LaBo,
Maybe you should post your top ten tips to stretch a dollar.

Trust me - There's no way I go to all of these weddings. If I am in the area, I go. We only travel if it's for somebody very close - like family. I just feel compelled to send a gift, and that adds up.

partyofsix said...

what an interesting post kelly.

i especially liked jenny's ideas about the starbucks gift card... and a night out.

jason is in seminary. (only one year left!!!) our monthly seminary bill is bigger than our mortgage payment. right now our only income is jason's part time youth pastor job. when our finances are tight we just go on a "spending freeze" no clothes, tight food budget, home-made coffee drinks instead of coffee shops, having friends over for dessert instead of a whole meal. - summer months are cheaper for us because we don't have the high winter utility bills to pay, no school bill, and for the most part our teens never graduate from high school. (actually pretty sad.) - But God will ALWAYS provide. Do your part to use what he loves you wisely! Honor Him, always tithe; He will take care of you. :)