Post #2 in a series…

So, you’ve said to yourself, “I have got to get our family on a grocery budget!”

What? What’s that again? Say it again to my face….You have never had a grocery budget?

I am going to tell you why everyone SHOULD. EVERYONE. That’s right. I said it. Everyone.

I don’t care if you make $98,203,984.09 a year, you need a grocery budget. It doesn’t matter if you make $12,000.00 a year, either.  Here’s why:

You need to know how much you are going to have each pay period/month (approximately), so you know how much you can give away.

Read it again.

I believe this is not an option. I believe with all my heart it’s something we are required to do – to give away what we have. No, not all of it (unless that’s what you are specifically called to do, Mother Teresa!) You might be saying, “But Janna, there is no way on this Earth that I can give money away after we have paid our bills, bought groceries, out gas in the cars, etc.” What I am proposing to you is that you think outside that box. What if you planned it so that you “gave away” a meal when you invited someone over for dinner? What if you brought a friend or neighbor a freshly baked cake or breakfast muffins? What if you purposefully planted an extra row of tomatoes or canned an extra batch of your super-secret recipe of Superberry Jam? What if?

Have you ever been the recipient of such a blessing? I have. I could fill hundreds of pages of a book with times someone has blessed me in a tangible way like that. One friend brought me a Supersized Starbucks when my hubby was out of work. One had our family over for dinner during that same time. I had a friend that not only shared her talent of breadmaking with me, but also her wheat several times before I could afford it all. I have never forgotten that. One friend knows of my great love for M&M’s and has not only brought them to my house when we lived near each other, but sent them in the mail when we didn’t. When I had mono several years ago, we had meals brought to us by beautiful people. A special friend sent me silver salt and pepper shakers before our first-ever Thanksgiving without family. Another dear friend sent me a set of children’s ABC magnets that spelled out “FAITHFUL” during a trying time. I still have those on my fridge. I could go on and on…

So, I ask you…are you planning ahead to give away?

One of the easiest ways is to make a grocery budget. For some of us, that is pretty easy. It’s the leftover money after the mortgage and utilities are paid. For others of us, this can be a thoughtful exercise as we review our purchases over a months’ time and see what is necessity and what isn’t.  Now I am going to mess with your mind a smidgen more:

Everybody’s grocery budget can be reduced.

I am serious. Even if by $5.00. That giant Starbucks coffee was (gasp) about that same amount. The giant bag of M&M’s as well. You can buy a package of meat for $5.00.

After you have the budget, it’s time to make a menu. I propose to you (if you have never planned your menu before, and even if you have) that you plan every meal and snacks (if you do those). Breakfast, lunch and dinner, baby.  And don’t forget dessert. You will never make it if you feel as though you have been dropped into the Great Depression and you already ran out of sugar rations.

There are multiple online sources for printing up blank menu plans, or you can make your own if you are cool like that. I happen to be pretty cool, so I made my own. I am not a fan of clip art, so mine are very plain. You could be super crafty  and make a supercool dry erase menu using an old picture frame with the glass in it and some scrapbook paper. Chalkboard works as well. You will probably find that your family really digs walking over to the posted menu and giving it a lookie loo.  You might involve them in the planning. I don’t. I take requests, but not when I am planning.The great thing about a menu is you’ll find you are eating better, more balanced meals when you have planned them ahead of time. You will also, I’ll bet, have less stress around mealtimes.

If you are having trouble thinking up meal ideas – that’s next in the series. Yes, I am here to help.

Are you still thinking about it? The part where you could give something away each and every payday/month? Don’t be overwhelmed. Think baby steps. For example, yesterday, I made bread and a batch of cinnamon rolls. While those delicious rolls were still gooey and hot, I placed 4 of them on a giveaway plate (these can be plates you buy at the thrift store just for this purpose or at garage sales or (gasp, shudder) even paper plates) and I took them across the street to our sweet neighbors from Italy. I don’t know if they loved them or not, but the point was that I showed them that they were important enough to me to bring them freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Whether or not they loved them is unimportant. Whether or not they ever tell me they loved them is even more unimportant.

YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE AWAY TO OTHERS.  A card, food, coffee, an encouraging word, a jar of homemade peach preserves, a cd, a gift card to the movies or a restaurant – that part is up to you. Just start looking outside of yourself and find someone to bless with what you have been given.




14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaine
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 14:30:45

    Loved this post!!! I have been the receipent of blessings and love to bless others. I love the children’s ABC magnets someone sent you spelling out FAITHFUL!!! How creative!!!!!


    • Janna
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:15:20

      Elaine –

      Thanks! Those magnets were the coolest and most creative thing! It also arrived with a $5.00 Sonic card so I could get Happy Hour drinks the entire week of VBS!!!



  2. Ashley Christian
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 15:12:51

    Jana I loved this! I posted a quote from it on facebook. I love the heart of it, it’s not ours, it’s all HIS anyway.


    • Janna
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:16:30

      Ashley –

      Thank you! And thanks for reposting it on facebook! How were we not FB friends before!!



  3. lynn
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 15:54:12

    You do amaze me, how you can stretch a dollar around the corner, and back! I do believe you need to share and give,blessings overtake you.


    • Janna
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:17:23


      Thanks! I love how you and Dad always encourage me and tell me I am so cool. You two have always set a good example of giving.



  4. Kristy
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 17:27:20

    Thank you for the reminder that the little things do matter and to keep doing them. You never know what will bless someone.


  5. Christina
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 19:17:06

    This was excellent. Educational and Inspiring. This is what blogs are made of that have like hundreds of readers and dozens of comments.


    • Claudia
      Jan 18, 2011 @ 22:18:45

      Wow Janna great advice! Thoroughly enjoyed your post.


    • Janna
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:12:36

      Christina –

      You are so kind. Thank you. I am glad you liked it. Hope you like the others to come. I am changing the direction of the blog a bit…I would take hundreds of readers!!! 🙂



  6. Bryan
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 22:35:41

    Jana, it is not called “Starbucks” it is called “FIVE BUCKS!”


    • Janna
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:09:48

      Bryan –
      You are right, but it is also deliciousbucks to me. (and conveniently right on the only way out of my neighborhood….)

      Thanks for visiting!



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