Monday, August 1, 2011

Money Monday!

I wanted to give you an update on the house savings.  We were able to put 100% of our monthly goal aside in July.  I am very pleased about that.  I am not pleased with the savings options for this money.  The experts would say to put the money in very low risk investments, but those offer minimal return.  We're still considering different higher-risk options in the hopes of greater return.  Our goal isn't to live in the biggest house in the city, but we definitely want a house large enough for our family and a house that is suited for whatever ministry God has for us, and it.  I appreciate your prayers in all of this.

With August comes a new budget cycle.  Tony gets paid once a month.  I love this because it allows us to sit down and write out all the bills in one sitting, and I'm able to create the entire budget without having to factor money coming in all throughout the month.    As I was sitting down with August's budget, I was reflecting on our grocery budget.  The first few weeks of Panamanian living saw me spending between $300-$400 a week on groceries.  Umm.  That's absurd.    For August, I decided $550 for the grocery budget.  That number is still high compared to our Georgia numbers, but it is a significant cut here.

In an attempt to stay under budget, I'm trying a new strategy: minimal grocery trips.  This meant that I had to plan out all of my meals for the month in advance.  With the plan in mind, the kids and I loaded up and hit the warehouse store.  (Yes.  Panama has warehouse stores.  Look just like the ones in the States.  Hot dog combo and all.)  I determined we were going to buy everything we needed for the month except fresh fruit and milk.  (I know milk can be frozen, but I have terrible luck thawing it.)  We ended up taking two days to complete the task.  (I came home and slept in between trips.)  When all was said and done, we had spent $458.60 or 83% of our monthly budget.   Also included in all of that was the stuff for the kids' sack lunches, a new expenditure for me. I did forget 2 items, but I can definitely make it for some time without them. 

My initial thoughts about this process:
~ It is really hard to get $400 worth of warehouse products in a cart with Coralynn sitting in it.
~The $2.00 I tipped the young man at the grocery store who unloaded the cart, loaded the cart, and unloaded the groceries into my van was the best money I've spent in years.
~It is so overwhelming to purchase that much in one trip that buying "extras" was impossible- a good thing!
~I am very concerned with so little money left for the month. 

Stay tuned for our success (or failure) as the month continues...

Update concerning the Church's Missions Giving
I told you last week about the church raising money to send a family to the mission field in West Africa.  The mission board had determined that the family needed $4500 a month to live, operate, and minister for 2 years.  (I have no idea how that number was figured, and the point of this blog isn't to evaluate it.  I choose to take them at their word that the amount is accurate.)  Yesterday at church we heard an update about their financial progress.

The very short version?  Pastor asked us to not give any more money to this family because they already had more than they needed.  How many times have you heard that one?  I'm going with never.  I won't bother with the exact numbers, but understand that the church raised more than they needed in monthly support, plus an additional 5-digits in one-time gifts.

My take home from this is twofold.  First of all, I am in awe that a church of roughly 1000 people (that includes babies) raised that amount in 1 day.  God is moving in their hearts, and I'm thrilled that I got to be a part of it.  Secondly, the amount we gave was nothing compared to the total.  And ultimately, the family didn't need it.  God didn't need our money.  He never needs our His money from us, BUT He led us to give it.  Why?  Because He always wants our obedience. 

Canto con gozo al mirar tu poder,
por siempre yo te amare y dire
Incomparables promesas me das

(the end of Shout to the Lord in Spanish- our closing hymn from Sunday)

i sing for joy at the work
of your hands
forever i'll love you
forever i'll stand
nothing compares
to the promise i have
in you

2 comments:

Brett and Meghan said...

WOW!! Awesome for your church. We are coming to visit your church when it's time for us to raise support, haha.
Sounds like fun times, your grocery bill is still probably lower than mine. :o)

panaMOM said...

Meghan- You had better be calling on us when y'all are raising support!!! When do you hope to have deputation begin? Still thinking Bangladesh?? Can you tell I'm totally jealous!!