Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saving $ from our "Hometown Holiday"

Today I am thankful for the women who serve with me on our Women's Ministry team. Together, we hosted our holiday event today and our theme was "Hometown Holiday."

We were privileged to have Sharon Hoffman from nearby Maryville as our speaker and 2orMore from neighboring Farragut to share music and lead in worship. A very traditional lunch was served by a UT favorite, Vaughn's Catering. All of the table centerpieces represented special people, places, or ministries from our own hometown of Knoxville. In addition, we offered 5 workshops ranging from ... food ideas to a penny saving panel to info on holiday happenings to a session to help us understand what it is to be homeless for the holidays. It was a beautiful day. I'll share some pictures soon, once I put away the wreaths and the ribbons, make eye contact with my kids :), and put my feet up.

Our Penny Saving Panel showcased three of our own women who all have experience in getting sucked into money woes, have learned much while there, and are now living as women who are more effective stewards of what God gives them. They shared personal and practical ideas of how to make your money work for you, instead of working for your money. Since I can't take you to their workshop today, I asked one of our gals if I could share some of her money saving tips.

Shannon is a CPA married to a CPA, and they are expecting their 3rd child this spring. She shares that... "Our priorities are giving to our church and saving for retirement, which sometimes doesn’t leave much, but forces us to budget and stay lean with our personal spending."

Shannon has witnessed how spending just a few dollars here and there can really add up, but saving a few here and there can really add up, too. Here are her great Penny Saving Ideas for 2010:

1. Have an overall financial budget. For me, this is key to knowing how much and where you need to pinch pennies. Every family has different priorities – some want a nice car, others like to eat out. With a budget, you know where you need to cut to make room for the bigger “wants” in your family. I use Quicken, but for years I just used a self-made excel spreadsheet.

2. Have a specific “gift” budget. This is an area where I can lose control, so I have a specific, person by person budget (especially for Christmas) where I know how much I can afford to spend on each friend, family member, teacher, etc. (I have a practical spreadsheet.)

3. Set up a Christmas savings account through employer. Christmas doesn’t hurt as much, now that we have a set amount taken from each paycheck to help pay for Christmas. We get “reimbursed” sometime in November, right when Christmas spending starts to gear up.

4. Start Christmas shopping early. If you are like me, I make unwise decisions when I have limited time to shop. I try to start shopping early (September) so that I can look for sales & creative (but less expensive) gifts.

5. Occasionally shop prices on the following: car and home insurance, phone service, trash service, etc.

6. Occasionally reevaluate the following: Cable (you may not need all 500 channels), Phone extras (call waiting, caller ID), Subscriptions(are you receiving magazines, etc. that you don’t really enjoy or use anymore?), Gym memberships(If you use it, great! If not, reconsider. We recently dropped our children from our membership because we never took them.

7. Cut coupons from the Sunday paper! There are many other resources for coupons. I once tried “Grocery Game” but ultimately spent more and bought things that I wouldn’t have bough otherwise. It might work for you though!

8. Shop generic brands. I buy Kroger brand on many items and find it to be just as good, if not better than name brands.

9. Shop consignment sales/shops. Most of my boys clothing comes from consignment sales.

I'm guessing that these practical tips will work as well in your hometown as they do in ours. May God be glorified by the way we use the gifts He entrusts to us. Thanks for sharing, Shannon!

2 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Cindy Bultema said...

Sounds like your holiday event was fabulous!! Look forward to seeing the pictures!

P.S. What helpful Penny Saving Ideas ~ especially right before the Holidays. :)

Joanna said...

Sorry I missed this one, David came home friday evening. But would love to see pictures and hear more about it.! Glad everyone had a great time.
You did a great job from the people I spoke to about it.