Colorful Guatemalan money with ledger

Every little bit counts when you're on a budget. (Photo by Esther Martinez/FH)

It happened again today — FREEDOM!

Believe it or not, an Excel spreadsheet made my day.  Each Saturday morning I enter the figures from the receipts I’ve gathered in my wallet all week, into a sheet that keeps my household budget. My spread sheet divides my spending into about twelve categories and each receipt finds its category.  There’s no “other” or “miscellaneous.”  I do this before I head out for my household shopping errands so I know exactly how much I have left in each category.

You might think it makes me feel imprisoned to the spread sheet. But in reality, I nearly always think I’ve done worse than I really have. So hitting the final “enter” on the final receipt often shows me I have money left, usually more than I thought.  And I can think, hey, maybe I can afford to see a movie with a friend this week, or I can get my manicure after all, or most important, pick up a luxury dark chocolate bar at the grocery store. Or, I can put a bit more in savings. Or, I can help out a friend in need.

Rabbit bank

Bunny bank

Every penny counts. I have a piggy bank on my dresser drawer (well, it’s really a bunny bank) where my change goes, when my wallet gets too full.  A couple weeks ago I gave myself a gift when the bunny bank got full. Last year I funded a good portion of my Christmas gifts with the bunny money.

There are a lot of ways that FH frees people from things that hold them back, but one of my favorites is showing people how to save and budget. Stories are starting to come in of all the ways that individuals and groups have changed their communities and helped their kids, because of money they’ve saved.  Each Saturday, when I look at my totals and feel the relief, I know there are people all over the world feeling the same freedom and confidence. The truth sets us free. Even when we think we don’t have much, we have enough.

(A shout out to Crown Financial Ministries for providing the budgeting tools I use, and to Hope International University for adding household budget training into my MBA. Even if it was part of my accounting class, which was challenging enough for someone whose undergrad degree was English Lit. Thanks Prof. Stevens for pushing/pulling us through it.)



About Beth Allen

I'm a self-professed sustainable development geek who would have a very hard time picking a favorite country. That means, I love every tribe and nation and take great joy in seeing how God is working in the world. I've been with FH for nearly two decades, and started out by serving with them in the Bolivian Andes. I can't live without Jesus and coffee, but the coffee is mostly decaf so the power is from Jesus.

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