How to Make Ends Meet – Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

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How to Make Ends Meet - Dealing With Unexpected Expenses

How to Make Ends Meet

How to make ends meet and get ahead financially when it seems like unexpected expenses continually break the budget.

From: Andrea

We have been struggling financially for over a year now. We make just enough money to pay the bills, but our biggest problem seems to be emergencies. Just when we think we are getting ahead, something always goes wrong (i.e. car breaks down, kids have to go to the doctor (no insurance and I make too much for medicaid) or something in the house breaks and it is always something big). We’ve cut down on all our expenses, but the more I cut back the more problems we seem to have. How can we get ahead if we are always getting knocked back?


Jill: Andrea, I know just what you are talking about. I have lived that way for a good portion of my life. To make matters worse, I am the type of person who loves to have a nest egg and be prepared for emergencies.

I was barely living on a minimum wage income, raising two teens and paying off thousands of dollars of my husband’s debts. It was not uncommon for me to have the washer break down, the car get wrecked, the sewer back up and the heat go out all with in the same week, without a penny of savings.

To add to my frustration, I would hear financial gurus say you must save X percent of your income each month. I simply didn’t have it.

I had no wiggle room at all, but here are a few things I learned.

First, when I thought I couldn’t cut back in one more place I would always find someplace where I could still cut. I frequently have people tell me, “We just can’t cut back any more,” but they still have very expensive smart phones with expensive plans, Internet, cable, kids in sports or other optional activities and they’re constantly spending a dollar here and there for little things like flowers for their yards, fertilizer and even water for watering these things. Though they might be nice to have, none of these are real needs. I’m not saying this is you, but a lot of our readers are in that situation.

Once I knew there was no place to cut back at all, I would make do the best I could. If my washer was out, I would wash things by hand until I could get a new one.

Once my car was wrecked so badly that I had no window on the driver side. (It was winter.) I couldn’t open the door and I could only turn left wherever I went. I drove it like this until I could get the money to fix it.

For years, my roof leaked so badly that I had to keep a child’s swimming pool under the leak to catch the water. I frequently had to stay up all night dumping out buckets of water.

One night, I was beside myself trying to figure out the exact same thing you asked me – How do I save for an emergency when there isn’t one penny left and things keep happening?

I finally prayed about it. (Why didn’t I do that first? I know better now.) I realized my finances were in God’s hands. I had been a good steward of my money but there was still no money available so, if God wanted me to save for emergencies, He would have to provide it for me.

I didn’t get any extra money right away but, with each and every emergency that came, He provided a way to take care of it. After a while, I didn’t even worry about savings because, as long as I continued to be a wise steward, He would take care of it.

When I fully relaxed about it, I started finding myself getting a little extra here and there. Now I have enough saved to cover life’s little emergencies and I can save on a regular basis.

The financial gurus are talking to the huge percentage of people who are squandering their money, living like there is no tomorrow, but there is another group of people who simply don’t have the money. At one point, I talked to a very good financial adviser. When he first started talking to me, he knew he could find money for me to save. By the end of the conversation, he just shook his head. He couldn’t find one penny that I was wasting and finally told me that my only problem was that I needed more money coming in. It does sometimes happen that way but it is usually very rare.

I do understand what you mean and can relate to how you feel about never quite getting caught up. I started baking gingerbread men to pay for our Christmas stuff years ago. The gingerbread men became popular and I started getting a nice little extra income. I always thought I would save it but, just like clockwork, a couple of weeks after Christmas I would need a major car repair, some dental work or something else like that and it always seemed to eat all of my extra money.

I knew I hadn’t quite arrived at the place where God wanted me – totally depending on Him. Eventually, instead of bemoaning the fact, asking, “Why do I always have to use my extra money on a car repair?” I learned to thank Him. At least I had the money to pay for it, even if I was left with nothing extra.

As “noble” as that sounds, when I was in the middle of it it wasn’t easy and I did become discouraged. Now, being older and looking back, I have come to realize that sometimes life just has its ups and downs. Some seasons we have more than we have in other seasons and that’s just life.

The main thing to do at all times is to be a wise steward of the money you are given.

Up to now, everything I’ve said has been on the assumption that your only option is to cut spending, however if you really can’t cut another penny or if you just don’t want to have to cut more, you can also do something to try to bring in more money, which is often easier. It could be asking for a raise, getting a part time job, providing a service like lawn mowing or sewing, selling items on Ebay or something else. It might be difficult to get a second job if it’s just you and the kids, but  some of the other options might still work and if you do get a part time job, it could be a temporary solution until you get enough for a reasonable emergency fund.

I know you may be tired and worn out, but if the stress from not having enough money to cover emergencies is getting to you, then another job might be needed. Just calculate how long it will take you save up the money and then you know you have an ending point.

To read more of Jill’s story about how she raised 2 teenagers on $500 per month, check out her book, Penny Pinching Mama!

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  1. barb~ says

    This is such wise and wonderful advice! To take a REALLY hard look at what you THINK you need, and be honest about every single item you pay for each and every month is tough. It’s true-many are often “wants.” Sometimes it can be very discouraging to let go of some of the “wants”-whether it’s a cell phone, Starbucks, movie rentals, etc. I have discovered that letting go of these “wants” can be temporary if you can discipline yourself in the short term. When you become more stable, treat yourself to one or two of the things you let go. Surprisingly, I found out I didn’t really want them back all that much. I had retrained my way of thinking, and was much happier because of it. I try to create a substitute when I let go of a “want.”…..generally, it’s a free thing, or very cheap. The trick is not feeling totally deprived so that you don’t begin to feel sorry for yourself. Your frame of mind will effect the entire family!! Every family need a HERO-someone who will lead and model positive behavior. There is victory in overcoming financial setbacks, and a huge boost to the ego and self-esteem. I pray regularly for God to show me where I can improve my spending habits and life style. There’s always some way to improve!!:)

    Blessings to all!

    • says

      Very good advice Barb. It is amazing how after doing without some things for awhile that burning desire that you have to have it seems to fade. There is a verse in the Bible which says God will give us the desires of our heart. Sometimes it seems as if He isn’t doing that but what happens is when we are in His will He often changes the desires of our heart for something even better for us and I don’t wonder if this isn’t what happens when we become wise stewards of our money.

  2. Bea says

    Sometimes I don’t think even the poorest of us realize how much we really have. When you read books like the “Little House” books and you see how precious just having ONE book was to them you realize how lucky you are if you have more than one. And there was one of the books that mentioned Laura and her father Charles going to a Fourth of July celebration and having a chance to drink a cup of lemonade. Laura thought having that opportunity was so wonderful because she only tasted lemonade once before in her life and that was at a birthday party for Nellie Olson. So if you are able to have a pitcher of lemonade and the opportunity to read ONE of your many books, you should thank the Good Lord, because you are rich.

  3. Linda says

    GREAT website! I love all of the helpful information. Today’s subject on being a good steward is a blessing, thank you!

  4. April says

    Bea, you are so right!! I often times remind myself of that very thing. I just look at what people in 3rd world countries live like and am so thankful for what I have and am amazed at how HAPPY they are!

    • says

      It just goes to show doesn’t it April that there really must be some truth to the old saying that money and things can’t buy happiness.

  5. Kathy says

    Great article! I can relate completely to where you’ve been. My husband and I have been there for most of our 28 years of marriage. When our oldest was a baby, every week was a struggle just to stretch the food we had. Neither of us made a big salary, so by week’s end, we literally had $30 to spend on groceries and gas. We worked opposite shifts so one of us was always home with the baby. I grew a small vegetable and herb garden and discovered the joys of using dried beans and buying rice in bulk. Meat was a luxury and stretched over several meals. I was able to feed my family gourmet meals on less than $30 every week and we ate better than most people I know.

    I learned how to sew baby clothes and use cloth diapers. I learned how to repair clothes (even darn socks). I seemed to have too many receiving blankets and unused blankets were transformed into small stuffed animals to give to my daughter for her birthday and Christmas. I’ve always been artistic and used those talents to create gifts for family and friends. There are a lot of simple and beautiful crafts that the “non-artistic” among us can make into works of art. I also baked goodies for gifts as well.

    Looking back, we’ve always just seemed to be able to keep our heads above water and those emergencies always seemed to hit when we thought we were getting ahead. Like you, we just never seemed to have the money to build an emergency fund. We lived in a little cottage (a little more than a shack), but it was affordable thanks to a loan from my husband’s uncle. We had a roof over our heads, a working vehicle (well, working most of the time), a wonderful garden that was a lifesaver more than once and a way to give gifts without spending more than a few dollars here and there. We had to learn to find the blessings in the smallest of things. I was blessed in that God gave me the ability to make the most out of very little. We’re in a much better place now and have been able to actually start saving money. I’ll always be greatful to the hardships that we went through, because it has made me truly appreciative of what we have now.

  6. undrHisgrc says

    It took some time, but once Malachai 3 was shared with me, the conviction that all I have is His and He only asks for ten percent and that I habitually was robbing God, I then changed the way I looked at money and began to give to the storehouse for others which changed my finances dramatically. We are not rich but very blessed in every way, not just financially. And we didn’t give so we could “get” but rather out of a desire to bless God and in that our rewards have been evident to everyone around us. He is faithful!!

  7. says

    Thanks for this post and the comments that follow. It was a good reminder to me today. I grew up this way in the home of a pastor of small country churches. My parents were always struggling to make ends meet and praying and having “small” miracles. :-) These comments here today brought this passage to mind, which is a good reminder for us all:

    1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
    7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is
    certain we can carry nothing out.
    8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith

  8. Michelle says

    Im in the same boat as you guys. I live in a tiny studio but every time theres a heavy rains or a winter with tons of snow Im so greatful I have a warm place to go to. I think of all those places where children are begging for food or people dying and Im just blessed I have what I have. Im made a new start for saving money where I dont think I have it. I need to lose weight so Ive been walking everywhere and in the process have been putting that money away. No Taxi when I can walk a half mile. Bought a shopping cart and do my laundry and shopping that way. I bought a bike and now commute(half the the time now)to work that way. When Im off on the weekends I also ride where I need to go. So far its been great!

  9. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    An idea: when I was in the USAF overseas the church ladies would sew on our stripes, mend our clothing and cook us a home cooked meal monthly. Could the men at your church be organized say on the first Saturday of each month to fix cars, repair roofs, fix washers, etc in exchange for a home cooked meal? I remember taking food baskets to the poor to Mrs Larry’s house. I asked “Dad, doesn’t she live in a big house in town with a fountain?” He said “Yes, but she is on a fixed income so we have to take care of her.” And we did. I still care for the poor 47 years later. Last year I raised $946,000!

  10. Bea says

    April you are so right. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Many of the Saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi loved “poverty” and were so happy. They wanted to be poor in material things, but rich in what matters, like goodness and love. And look how poor the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were, BUT how blessed to have God in their family.

  11. Rachel says

    Yes, it’s true that you have what you need when you need it, God does provide. But when children are grown finances do improve. We are now able to pay cash for vehicles and are working on paying down the mortgage. I am even looking at my husband and I moving from our 3 bedroom, 2 bath to a 2 bedroom cottage it we can find one. I do remember those days of living paycheck to paycheck, but I was always a saver, so a small portion always went to the savings, and of course, our tithes each paycheck. You will make it.

  12. Jan C says

    this is such a good site to bring back my memories of when my husband and I were struggling to raise 4 boys and we only had one income. We had no savings, only had one car and our hot water heater broke and flooded our basement. We had no money to purchase a new one, they wanted $700 for a gas one, which our old one was, and $250 for an electric one. We didn’t even have $10 at the time, so we went without hot water (except what I heated on the stove) for close to a year. When our youngest started school, he got yelled at by the teacher for lying because he said something about not having water and how he had to wash his hands. We had to meet with her and tell her he wasn’t lying. We had no hot water. I think of those days now,and remember how blessed I was that I had my family, God and lots of love.

  13. Marcia says

    I am not that badly off and I know that. But I remember a year or so ago I was discouraged because I didn’t have much in the way of clothing and I just said to the Lord, “I need clothes, Lord, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to afford them!” I can’t honestly say it was a prayer of faith, as much a prayer stemming from frustration. Well, my sister in law mentioned someone she knew gave her a lot of clothes and my dear SIL and I are about the same size but I am much taller than she. She said the woman was about the same height and size as I am and that’s what made her think of me so she asked if I could use some clothes! I got bag after bag of clothes and the majority of the clothes fit me to a T. I now have my closets stuffed with clothes and I even had to give some to charity, I had so many! I can just imagine the Lord up there chuckling at my astonishment at getting so many clothes for absolutely NOTHING. Oh me of little faith! I didn’t even expect an answer like that. Imagine what I would have gotten if I had REALLY prayed!

  14. jani says

    Thank you for this good reminder. We’ve never gone hungry or without a roof over our heads. We are truly blessed even though finances seem to NEVER get above we absolutely need. We are cared for by our heavenly Father.

  15. Michele Dingemans says

    I managed to keep us fed with two adult aged boys, and my husband, daughter and myself as well as keep my car payment paid and gas in it for running her to classes across town by feeding us nothing but rice and beans 6 nights a week and homemade tuna helper on the 7th. We didn’t splurge on snack food or desserts of any kind, but neither did we starve, we made it through. Having lived in 3 latin countries, I can cook those beans in three different syles and it’s not steak or luxury food, but nutrition-wise it’s healthy. I also sold some nicer clothes of mine at designer resale stores and only bought critically needed items for my daughter and made my boys work and pay for their own ‘extras.’

    • Anita says

      Is there any chance you could share your recipes for the beans? I’ve been trying to include more beans in our diet, and it would be a great help. Thanks.

  16. Janet says

    I try to use many of the tips to cut expenses, but I might be faced with a job loss and I am so worried about losing health insurance. I recently had surgery and know some big deductible and 20% portion bills are on their way to me. What did you do about doctor visits for you and your family? How does one handle the crushing medical bills in the thousands?

    • says

      Medical is a hard one and at times I had to just have faith that God would take care of it. Any debts which happen because of things out of your control I believe God steps in and honors them for you if you have been and are being a wise steward. On the practical side though there is much we can do.

      First I was without medical bills for many years. When we needed to go to the doctor I would pay cash for any xrays or the appointments at the time in the same way I go to the grocery store to buy groceries and pay for them. I made sure my doctor knew I had no medical and he never had me do unnecessary test and often gave me free samples for medicines. Even though I didn’t have full medical coverage I did always carry what was called catastrophe insurance which if I had a medical problem that would go into the thousands of dollars I would be covered. It didn’t cost very much and if it meant me giving up something else in order to have it I did.

      I also made sure we always went to a hospital run by a church or established by a church. For example one of our major hospitals here in town is Catholic and I would make sure we went there in an emergency because they are so much better about working with you on paying the bills and do have some programs for the extremely needy to pay most or all.

      There are many things out there to help those who are truly in need for example many pharmacy companies will give medicines at a reduced amount or free if you can’t afford your medicine.

      Also don’t be embarrassed to talk, talk to your doctor and explain your situation to him. They can be very helpful if they aren’t you might want to change doctors.

      • says

        for run of the mill things that many go to drs. for start your own little pharmacy at home.
        In the summer when colds are not as common look for cough syrups, and cold and flu remedies. Buy a couple bottles when they are on sale. This way you have them handy and don’t have to make a special trip when the cost of them will be higher.
        Have vit. C and zinc ready so you can cut the time of colds by half.
        Learn to make hot lemonade, and chicken soup to help the cold sufferer feel better. A little love goes a long way and what shows love better than a bowl of homemade chicken soup.
        In Canada drs. visits are covered but I do not like going to the dr. when everyone in town is sick so I find things that work to keep us away from them.
        Jill your advice about talking to the dr. about payments worked when they had a private practice. But with the family practices and clinic they probably know as much about the fee schedules as your 10 year old knows about cleaning under the bed.
        It is better to talk to the person in charge of running the clinic. They could answer your questions or send you to the person who is in charge of billing.
        This also keeps the drs. time shorter for a visit and that is good for the next patient.
        But plan for minor things so that you can help yourself instead of running to the dr. for every little sniffle.
        Broken arms, bad cuts, major breathing problems are not fixable at home but colds (which run their course with or without drs. advice) you can cure at home.
        Learn to assess the situation and decide rationally so that you are not spending money unnecessarily.

        • says

          One thing too prevention is the best policy. I know we can’t prevent everything but we have so many things now which can help us stay healthier. I use to get a cold every other month and it would be a bad on often leading to pneumonia, a pharmacists I knew real well told me to take Lysine which is an amino acid sold with the vitamins and I have had about 2 colds in the past 3 years and they were very short ones.
          Get on friendly good terms with your pharmacists. They are great at helping like this.

  17. says

    This email came at the perfect time. I needed a reminder to show me how blessed I am. I purchased your books years ago and I need to pull them back out and re-read them. Thanks for you wonderful words of wisdom!

  18. Alicia Webster says

    This was the best post ever in the history of posts. I needed to hear (read) this, and I needed to know that my idea of occasionally “doing without” wasn’t crazy or unique. If you (Jill) survived some economic tough times, then I can too. It feels good to know that I am also setting an example for my kids that you can “weather the storm”, and that you don’t compound the problem by acquiring more and more debt. Remember how much flack Carter got during the energy crisis when he suggested that people save on heating/fuel costs by putting on a sweater? Well, you can hate the man’s politics or love them, but he was right about that sweater, wasn’t he ? My grandmother and grandfather (when they were alive) saved money from their regular paychecks to go on a yearly vacation (usually a camping road trip)…if they didn’t save enough, they didn’t go–they did NOT, however, charge it on a card with the hope of paying it off later…Most of my grandmother’s kitchen stuff were items that she had received for her wedding (in 1940!!) and when I asked her in the 70’s and 80’s why she didn’t buy new stuff, she said, “Why would I buy new stuff when my old stuff works perfectly fine ?” Her winter coat (purchased in the 50’s) was used every winter and dry cleaned once a year at the end of the season. Another tip from my grandmother–she, like my mother and I, loved books more than anything in the world. But she only owned four: a dictionary, an atlas, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, and a thesaurus. I offered to buy her some books by her favorite author, and she told me that buying books is a waste of money, because she could get most any book that she wanted from the library. She was good friends with the head librarian, who kept her eyes open for books that would appeal to my grandmother, and I never saw her wanting for new reading material. With the exception of cookbooks or reference books (like manuals for household hints or cleaning tips, etc), I try to adhere to the same principle. Anyway, thanks for the EXCELLENT post and for the renewed fire in my belly :)

  19. Deb Vaughn says

    My husband and I were in the same boat years ago. We listened to a radio financal expert who of course recommended an emergency fund. We took his advice and we had multiple garage sales. We sold anything and everything that wasn’t tied down. What we found was that when we had that emergency fund financed bad stuff just didn’t happen as much. It was weird. It was like “bad stuff insurance”. I is amazing what you can find in your home to get rid of that other people want. We also bartered, car repairs from a neighbor in exchange for mowing. Lordy, we learned to get creative. It’s that old sayig, Necessity is the mother of invention! Invent a way to get out of debt!

  20. Diane says

    This post is a good reminder to me of when my husband and I got married nearly 48 years ago. We were both very young and determined that all you need is love…boy do you ever get a rude awakening when you’ve been married only a month and learn that in nine months, there’ll be another mouth to feed. We had plenty of love for each other and that sweet new baby boy. Money was so very tight. We drove a 15 year old car that didn’t have reverse gear, so we had to be careful where we parked it so we could always drive forward. No money to repair the gears. I used my husband’s old underwear elastic to repair my bras. Once in a rainstorm, the worn out wiper on the driver’s side ripped off and I had to take one of my shoelaces to tie it back on long enough to get home…no money to stop and buy wiper blades. I could do wonders with Jello, Spam, and potatoes. As time passed, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl to go along with our son. Money continued to be tight, but we always had more than enough love to go around, thanks be to God. Our parents knew we were too proud to beg, so they were very creative in seeing to it that just when we could use it, they provided help. It took years for me to realize that Mom’s telling me that the roast she had cooked was just too much for her and my dad to eat and she didn’t want it to go to waste weren’t exactly the truth. My husband’s father came to the hospital every day (five days’ worth) whenever our son was born, emptied out his pockets of change and told me I might want something the hospital didn’t provide. I saved the money and used it for groceries whenever we left the hospital.

    Now do you want to hear something profound? In all the days that we were barely getting by, we had so much love among ourselves and from God and from family, that we truly didn’t realize how financially poor we were!! If there is love and prayer, somehow folks can make it through…I don’t mean it’s easy or quick, but leaning on one another and trusting in God will make it happen. My husband and our family are living proof of that.

    Thanks for the memories you brought to my mind.

    Diane in North Carolina

  21. Anne says


    You are such an encouragement. The Lord is teaching me how to totally depend on Him for everything. Just when I feel like I have accomplished that, he tells me to surrender, so evidently I am not totally dependent on Him. This has been a very hard learning experience, but every day I am turning loose of something else. Guess I am just hard headed, though I am really trying to “let go”! Most of all, I am learning to praise Him in every situation and for everything for as he says “my times are in his hands”.

    Thank you Jill for you constant testimony.

    • says

      Join the crowd Anne. We all at times find ourselves “backsliding” and forgetting to depend on Him but it is one of those things the more you do it the easier it gets and becomes a habit. It is like a wife who insists upon being independent. She tries to do something that takes more strength then she has. Her husband lovingly says let me help and she says no I can do it myself. She struggles and struggles even hurting herself doing it. He husband looks on, his heart breaking at watching her work so hard but she won’t let go or allow him to share that burden. After years of doing this the husband stops asking if he can help. He would be there in a heart beat if she would ask but she won’t.

      We do that with God. He would be there in a heart beat to fix things for us if we would just ask and step back and let Him work for us but we don’t want to let go.

  22. Lee says

    What do you do about guilt? We used to have a lot of money. We went on big trips, had a huge house, and had our 4 kids in private school. Husband was in construction and lost the company he owned. We went from 250,000 to 40,000 a year salary-I’m a teacher. Our savings was lost in the stock market. Well, I feel so bad for the kids. I know we are teaching them important lessons but when they can’t do sports or clubs, my heart breaks. We know God holds us in his hands-1Timothy 6 is an all time favorite in my family but having to tell the kids no so often breaks my heart.
    I’ve been a big fan of your site for a long time and I’m so grateful for all your books-I’ve loved them!

    • says

      Lee I have listed below 3 articles that address your question in more detail then I have room to write here and they might help you answer that question also watch for next week’s newsletter because in it I will be addressing discouragement including how to deal with false guilt. I also want to give you a couple of things to think about.

      First let me ask you why are you guilty? Did you purposely make your husband loose his company, did you make the stock market mess up your savings, are you keeping your kids from doing the things they want because you want to hurt them? Of course not. Your answer is no to all of these questions I’m sure so why do you hold yourself personally responsible for it all and feel guilty. It is false guilt you are feeling and you have to be so careful as a Christian not to give into it. Satan gets frustrated because he can’t make you sin by committing adultery, murder or stealing so he comes in the back door and tries to destroy our families and our lives with false guilt. I have seen it do more damage then almost anything in Christian’s lives and until you let go of it will eat you alive and spill over to your husband and kids in so many ways.

      Even though we will “bravely” say with our lips I know God is in control what we are really saying with our actions is “I know you are in control but you aren’t doing what I think is best so I am going to try to fix things in order that I can give to my kids what I think they really need and what is best for them.” I don’t want to sound harsh here and I have felt what you are feeling too but I also know how deadly false guilt can be to a family so will risk sounding harsh if it helps for someone to see what is happening.

      You have got to get the right attitude towards your circumstances because your children are watching you and following you. As long as you think they are being deprived they will think it too and that will hurt them even more then the doing without things. You need to have the attitude God has us exactly where He wants us. Get excited about this time. God is opening up new doors and things to learn. Stop thinking money and the things it can get your kids is all that they need in life. Maybe God has allowed this to happen because He wants your kids to learn to be stronger in so many ways. They will learn self control that they can’t always have everything they want and they will survive it. They can learn to make the the best of bad circumstances by maybe getting jobs and learning to pay for the things they want causing them to have more confidence, courage and not being afraid when life hits them between the eyes.

      This is a time you should rejoice and get excited because they may not be receiving as many blessings in the material way but in the way of building their character, emotional and spiritual life. God wants His children to be well rounded in all areas so don’t panic or get upset when He allows things to happen to us or them that can teach us so many things. But you as a parent have to grab a hold of and grasp this idea or you children will never understand it or see it.

      Life happens. The best thing a parent can do for their child (even better then taking them on vacation or have them in sports) is to teach the how to grateful, wisely and with courage and wisdom deal with life the way God wants us too. I am forever thanking God I didn’t have the money to give my children all the things they wanted to do even though I had a hard time at the time it was happening because now I look back and my kids turned out to be very responsible, brave, faith filled and confident adults. I don’t have to worry about them. They know everything they need to to deal with the hard knocks of life and are handling it so much better then most adults their same age who had all the things you are upset that your kids aren’t getting.

      Don’t take this opportunity away from your children but show them how to wisely and bravely deal with it starting first of all with it happening in your heart. Replace that guilt with confidence and bravery.

      Don’t Worry so Much About Your Children
      Are We Really Depriving our Kids
      Entertaining Kids

      • Anita says

        What a great response to the question. This is what is so wonderful about blogs, you get different people’s viewpoints on situations. We had a very large family, and didn’t give the kids everything they asked for. They have grown up to be responsible adults and wonderful parents. When I look at other people with adult, unemployed children living at home long term, I shudder and thank the Lord that our children have grown up so well.

        False guilt was something I hadn’t thought about and you made a very good point on how it can damage a family. Thank you.

        • says

          Years ago I heard my pastor’s wife say that false guilt was Satan’s greatest weapon against women and that is so true. False quilt comes from him and him alone. The Bible says Satan is the accuser of the brethren and that is exactly what false guilt is and where it comes from. His main goal is to tear families apart. If he can get moms and some dads to feel guilty over things they haven’t done or have no control over then it can really do a number on a family in so many ways. Children too can be made to have false guilt and that is really bad.

  23. rose says

    just reading the posts .. and wanted to add my advice, esp for the one about the medical bills … when my hubby was in the hospital (emergency surgery), we had no ins … we were told we made too much to qualify for medicaid and state help but yet we couldnt even afford to get ins on our own .. we told the hospital this and they said if we bought in our records of our income and if it was low enuff they would take care of it (charity case) .. they do this for many people who were like us .. made too much for state help but not enuff to pay for our own ins …
    also.. yes GOD is great! .. i know this sounds weird but i have been wanting to see that disney movie “brave” for the longest time .. but i didnt feel the need to go to the theaters to see it and well i cant afford the prices of the tix for a movie at a theater .. they are well above in price for my budget… so i kept saying all week long to my daughter how i cant wait for the movie to come out on dvd but wouldnt it be great if we could see it for free? .. hehee … and yes .. i did get to see it for free … i went on you tube n typed in “brave full movie” .. and yes it was there .. the whole thing! .. granted it wasnt the best in clearness but it was watchable … and yes i did enjoy it! .. funny how GOD works in mysterious ways .. hehee .. just thinking of the lady who needed new clothes and said something to GOD without really praying for it! .. GOD is awesome! …
    finances are tough now too .. but we are holding our heads above water .. hubby gets all stressed out .. and says i dont seem like i am worried .. well i am worried but i also told hubby that we will be taken care of .. we always have and we always will.. we just need to trust in the LORD above and HE will take care of us .. hubby still gets worried but i tell him and everyone else i know that its a true piece of mind that i know in my heart GOD will handle it .. yes i do ask for guidance in all things in my life and well it seems when i started depending on GOD more in my life (just like the one poster said in this blog), it seems all is taken care of … i might not have all i want but we are surviving and we have a roof over our head and food in the fridge and pantry .. and .. heheee .. my car is still here even tho i need a tranny so badly .. but its hanging on .. thankfully to GOD .. i did pray for a newer car but only when we can afford to get one but that wont be for a while ..

  24. rose says

    deb vaughn: speaking of yard sales .. my daughter has started to sell things on ebay … well .. i thought that was a great idea! .. i know several people who do that already and it never occurred to me to do this for me too .. so .. bc i want to go on vacation this yr (only 3 days 2 nights … just me and my daughter.. to the beach .. hehee .. i live close to daytona and can drive back and forth but i havent been on “vacation” in forever!) .. she has agreed to help me sell some of my things on ebay ..
    hubby is sad to see some of my dolls go but i told him i cant enjoy them while they are in a box .. they have been in the boxes since i got them in the mail .. and that was a long time ago .. and decluttering again (we did this many times b4 i moved from the house to the apt, remember i told u jill?) .. and yes, surprisingly enuff, i found many things i can sell on ebay …not alot of stuff but maybe enuff for a small vacation and the rest to put in an emergency fund! .. hubby and i agreed to 75% emergency fund and 25% for my little getaway ..

    • says

      That is a good % to use Rose. I believing in saving but at the same time you need to give yourself a little money to use when you can.

  25. Dee says

    This month, the vacume cleaner broke twice, the washing machine also broke down twice, but I had that on a Sears extended warranty, so there was no repair charge. The dishwasher broke down twice, & the 2nd time it was more economical to buy a new one, as the cheap one that came with the house wasn’t worth fixing. It was cheaper to buy new than to have it fixed again.
    I bought a much better brand, a Kenmore on a closeout sale. With a few reward points, a $20 ecard, & an additional 15% discount from the sales associate, I paid $260.00 for a machine that sells for over $500.00!
    I saved big! And yes, a dishwasher is a necessity. This household is too busy to wasting time standing around doing dishes by hand. I was late for work twice trying to catch up on all the dirty dishes!

  26. Liz says

    Three and a half years ago, my husband lost his job. Two days later, we found out that his employer (who was his brother’s girlfriend) had been embezzelling our health insurance money being taken out of my husband’s paycheck each week. We thought she was paying the insurance payment with it, but she was paying for her personal things. Had she laid him off the day before, we would have still be within eligibility status to pay those funds and kept our insurance. She laid him off the day after we lost eligibility status (over 90 days of insurance not being paid). We called our state insurance commissioner and learned that with Obama’s first healthcare reforms, we were eligible to have 2/3rd’s of his insurance paid for up to 18 months of unemployment, since he had insurance prior to being laid off, providing we were able to come up with the other 1/3. God worked in so many ways with us, even though it was devastating at the time and we are still having financial problems catching up from all those bills we were unable to pay for the 10 months he was unemployed. One of my former day care parents was an attorney, who happened to work at a firm where all they do is employee benefits cases. After quite a few months, they were able to get our insurance back for us, since it was through a felony crime committed against us that we lost it. Times were very rough, but we cut our cell phones and were able to get on a relative’s plan where we pay him each month. We cut out cable and one of my brothers-in-law gave us a converter box, so we could get basic t.v.. My husband is still upset at times that we don’t have cable so he can watch his sports shows, but he knows we are saving $100 per month just on a basic cable plan. (I handle the finances, so he just wasn’t aware of how much went out to each bill. When he gets frustrated, I just tell him if he wants to take over the bills, I’ll let him. That usually makes him back off. Ha!) Anything else that wasn’t essential for life or my day care was cut.

    I also was on a lot. For one year, we fully clothed our son from Freecycle. Most larger cities or counties across the U.S. have them, so check them out! I’ve given away quite a bit that didn’t sell in garage sales. You’d be surprised how many people are in need! Others gave when we were in need, and I now give to help others.

    We’re still living a fairly frugal lifestyle, as we have many bills to still catch up on, but both of us are finally fully employed after about 4 years. On a note about how God plays an important role in our finances, at one point in year two of our terrible nightmare, we owed $67 on our gas bill. We had a few days to pay it and it was due on a Tuesday. I didn’t want to ask family to help us as they had already done so much for us. I prayed and prayed that somehow we would get the money to keep from having our gas turned off. At church that Sunday before the bill was due, I could hardly do anything but think of our desparate situation…and I prayed more. That Tuesday morning in the mail, came an envelope from our church. Someone had sent $70 cash to us. Only God and my husband knew we needed $67 dollars. We were sent just enough to pay that bill. Talk about getting hit in the head with a two-by-four! That showed us that God is always with us. Even though we knew it, it was hard to realize He REALLY was with us always. Hope these words encourage you some.

  27. Rachel H says

    Liz, praise God! He moved and you now have such a wonderful testimony! I wish that my daughter could learn to just let it go and rely on Him. She pushes herself so hard. She is about to start nursing school, and will be cutting from working 5 nights a week to only 2 nights. They are thinking of moving to an apartment with higher rent and a separate power bill. So it will be interesting to see if she can put all her faith and trust in Him. Satan will surely try to trip us up, anything he can do to get out eyes off God.

    • Liz says

      It’s been 1 1/2 years since I posted my comment. I hope your daughter stayed in the cheaper apartment, Rachel! We did look for cheaper housing when my husband was laid off, but we purchased our house 20 years prior to the layoff, so the house payments were much lower than even the cheapest apts. in the area. We’re still on a tight budget, although we have added a few cheaper items, like Hulu and Netflix. For $16 per month, we get both and don’t feel like we’re totally in the dark ages with basic t.v. (no cable). My husband has become use to going to my parents’ (who have cable t.v.) to watch his ballgames we don’t get on t.v. because we don’t have cable. Our house will be paid off at this time next year. Then, we can start really taking chunks out of other very old bills. When some family and friends were going bankrupt, with every imaginable gadget under the sun, we were the responsible ones doing without and not filing bankruptcy. When my husband brings up cable, I tell him it’s not worth $100 per month to pay for it, when we can get so much on free t.v., Hulu and Netflix. Even though it’s sometimes difficult for him to deal with no cable, he realizes we ARE so much better financially without it. That’s $1200 per year! He also helps with our church food pantry. Our Caring Minister often gives him food and other goods, since he’s so good to help the minister. That saves us lots of money each month! If your daughter works at a restaurant, she might ask what is done with leftovers. Often times, they get pitched when they are still good to eat. My sister use to work at Tippins Pie Pantry and Restaurant. At the end of every evening, they would toss any unserved pies, since their reputation was “baked fresh every day.” She often came home with pies and gave one to us. Often managers/owners would rather give to employees than toss the food. Yes, Satan often challenges us so we will follow him, but we can’t cave in to his wishes.

  28. Kim says

    I am smiling as I finish reading all the replies to today’s posting. My heart that was so discouraged is MUCH encouraged! Thank you for the reminders that turned my thoughts back to my Heavenly Father Who truly does provide our daily bread!
    Your idea of a second job is a good one. I am a teacher and didn’t think that there were any more hours in the day for me to work, but I started cleaning houses with my daughter. I found that the hours I spend cleaning are actually quite peaceful. I love the extra time with my teen, and I enjoy doing something that helps others.
    Oh, thank you again for ALL of the wonderful comments!
    God bless!!

  29. Lynn Simard-Mcmurray says

    Thank you.. So been my married life upto now. Its fully relying on God and trusting Him in the hard times. Thank for the extra advice, I am going to be tweaking my budget again.

  30. Sunflower Mom says

    Jill, I read this article with much interest. After my husband going through a 5 month period of unemployment and then having his salary reduced to half of what it was we learned a lot about ourselves. Although our situation has improved we are still tight. We are in the last years of homeschooling and as of yet I have not been able to find employment that works with that. I have trusted God to provide and He has time and time again. However, I also know that God still has work for us to do. I’m not sure if it’s a male thing but hubby is completely convinced that it is up to him to provide for our family and if God was going to provide he wouldn’t have lost his job. (I don’t think he ‘really’ believes that but uses it when he freaks out over life’s events) I am also convinced God is convincing us we don’t need some of the things we have. We don’t have a lot but there are still things that could go. Although I continue to pray for my husband, it literally makes him physically sick to talk about our money and if there is lack of it for anything. Any suggestions?

    • says

      That is a good question Sunflower Mom. What your husband is doing sounds pretty normal. Even though it is the 21st century mens egos are very much affected by whether or not they have a job and providing for their family. Women react in different areas in the same way but this is a guys bugga boo.Many can even sink into a bad depression. This is one of those areas in marriage where the one spouse needs to come along side them and help them out. Maybe I need to say too patiently help because it will try the best woman’s patience. : )
      The problem is we want to help so bad but often we do it in the wrong way. Men and women do not think a like at all which after a couple of years of marriage everyone finds out. Wives try to give suggestions, ideas, hints all of which have the opposite effect. Here are a couple of things that I have learned to do over the years.

      First, one of the hardest things I had to do was to give up control and let him deal with it the way he thinks best. This is a biggy because you have to be willing to do this even it he fails. In the same way I want my husband to support me in the things I do even if I don’t do them perfect, right or the way he thinks they should be done, I need to do the same for him. If he is wise he will ask for my advice and my opinion but in the end it will have to be his choice.

      Next you can have some control and that is over the money things you are responsible for like being careful on what you spend on groceries, clothing, household and personal expenses. Quietly going about being a wise steward of the money when you can and do it without resentment, anger or fear.

      Last but to me the main thing is best explained if I tell you a personal story of mine. We were in the same situation. My husband and I had just had a royal fight because I wanted him to sell some of our antique furniture so I could buy groceries because we were out of food and I mean out. I had a can of sauerkraut (it was only left because no one would eat it), and some oatmeal – no milk, sugar or butter to put in it. It was bad. He said no he had to find work because selling the furniture would not solve the long term problem. So round and round we went. We went to bed and he fell asleep (guys always do – it made me even more angry of course the least he could do is stay awake and be mad and suffer with me. : ) ). I started praying telling God to make him see my way and sell the furniture and make him see how wrong he was. On and on I went. When I finally ran out of steam God quietly said “You are wrong and you are praying for the wrong thing. Stop praying that I will show him you are right and start praying for him.” That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was so proudly praying that I knew what was right and I couldn’t wait for God to show my husband that I was and that I knew the answers. Instead of praying for my husband that God would give him the answers, give him wisdom and show him what to do. So I did. All night. The next morning my husband woke up and before he even got out of bed he turned to me and told me 3 things he had thought of in the night and they were really good solutions and they worked. By the end of the day I was able to get groceries. He never knew the battle I had fought and won that night.
      See I thought God was trying to show my husband how to be a wiser steward with his money but instead it was a lesson for me on pride and letting go and letting my husband have control. Best lesson I ever learned.

      Now this may not be your lesson at all but what I am saying is be careful in how you pray and do some real soul searching. Sometimes we need to step out of the way and let God help and deal with our husbands (children,parents etc.). I couldn’t tell if your husband believed in God or not but the advice is the same. God can still work through them to work things out. Patience, patience, patience. So hard but so important.

    • Liz says

      Sunflower Mom, my husband was having the same feelings when he was laid off for 10 months. Most days I was sympathetic, but a few times, I had to tell him if he really wanted to improve things, he would quit complaining, get up off his duff and put the pedal to the metal on filling out applications! Many days he was so depressed, he would lay on the couch and watch t.v. all day long. Since I had a home day care, this would drive me crazy. I finally told him, I don’t care if you have to take a janitor’s job, just get one! Guess what?!! The ONLY job offer he got was a janitor’s job. I told him it wasn’t the job that was the issue, it was what he made of the job. There is a lot he doesn’t like about his job, but he provides the health insurance (via the school dist.) and gets overtime every week to increase his pay. He actually loves most of the people he works with, which is saying a lot. Don’t know if the shove out the door will help your husband, but it helped mine. :)

  31. Anita says

    This was a good article. I’ve been there, in fact I still am, but I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel now. When the economy went south, it pulled our little business down with it. I went back to outside employment while trying to maintain the work I did for the business. I thought at the time I would just need to work for a while, maybe a year. The business continued to slide and that year has turned into seven years. We have had many costly emergencies during this time, including my house being flooded. The things we had to fix, got fixed. Other things we just did without or limped along until we could take care of it.

    You are right. Ultimately we need to trust the Lord. I get great comfort from that.

  32. says

    I put 25 dollars into my savings account each week, then when a large bill comes in like car insurance or fire insurance or life insurance I have the money in the bank.

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