Honoring God With Our Money: Practical Money-Management Tips (Part 1)

This week’s lesson on honoring God with money focused on practical money-management tips.  These ideas have been culled from books, magazine articles, and internet sites, including Crown Financial Ministries and Christian Financial Concepts.

One of the most important tools in managing one’s money is to track monthly expenses.  In the past this was generally accomplished by either keeping a small notebook handy to write all expenses in, recording expenses on an Excel spreadsheet, or using the ‘envelope’ system.  The envelope system involves dividing one’s paycheck into envelopes, each for a designated purpose; when the envelope is empty no more money can be spent on the category of expenses until the following month.

In today’s digital world, tracking expenses can be accomplished more easily by downloading an app onto one’s phone, ipad, Kindle or other electronic device.  Since we tend to have our devices with us at all times, it is a handy, easy way to track expenses. Regardless of the method you use to track expenses, it is very important to consistently track expenses for at least several months so you can identify where your money is being spent.

Grocery sticker shock
Grocery bill sticker shock

Today I am providing lists of ways to save money on groceries and on eating out.  In other posts this week, I will provide lists of other ways to save money.  I hope that you will find at least a few new ideas for saving money in each post.  Please feel free to add your own money-saving tips in the comments.

Ways to Save on Groceries:

1)      Always use a written list and stick to it.  Plan meals for the week before shopping.
2)      Avoid taking your children grocery shopping.
3)      Never shop for groceries while hungry.
4)      Shop advertised specials, especially for nonperishables.
5)      Shop in bulk, if it makes sense for your family.
6)      Use a calculator, if possible, to total purchases.
7)      Reduce or eliminate paper products.
8)      Avoid processed and sugar-coated cereals. These are expensive and most of them have little nutritional value.
9)      Avoid prepared foods, such as frozen dinners, pot pies, cakes. You are paying for expensive labor that you can provide.
10)   Determine good meat cuts that are available from roasts or shoulders, and have the butcher cut these for you.
11)   Try store brand canned products. These are normally cheaper and the same products as name brands with a different label.
12)   Use manufacturer’s coupons and rebates only if you were going to buy the item anyway and it is cheaper than another brand would be without the coupon.
13)   Do not buy from convenience stores except in case of emergency.
14)   Avoid buying non-grocery items in a grocery supermarket except when on sale. These are normally “high mark-up” items.
15)   For baby foods, use normal foods processed in a blender.
16)   Check every item as it is being “rung up” at the store and again when you get home.
17)   Consider canning fresh vegetables whenever possible. Make bulk purchases with other families at farmers’ markets and such. (NOTE: Secure canning supplies during off seasons.)

Eating Out:

1)      Make eating out a special occasion.
2)      Know where kids eat free and take advantage when eating out.
3)      Order lunch size meals OR order dinner size meals and take leftovers home.
4)      Groupon or other restaurant special coupon deals–only buy if you eat at that restaurant.
5)      Avoid buying desserts at restaurants.
6)      Skip the ice cream shop and buy ice cream in the grocery store.
7)      Rather than eating out, throw a potluck party with family or friends.
8)      Make coffee at home; invest in inexpensive pot for the office.
9)      Bring your own snacks to work; take snacks in the car when running errands.
10)   Pack lunches for work.

What are your best tips for saving money on groceries and dining out?

Author: Susan Elizabeth Ball

Author of the Christian fiction series Restored Hearts. Book 1, Restorations, was published in October 2010 and Book 2, Reconciliations, in October 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s