I Corinthians 4:2 says, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” While this verse is specifically talking about the mysteries of God that have been entrusted to us who are saved, everything that we have has been given to us by God. We can only give Him what is already His own. (See I Chronicles 29:14)
The things we do not give back to God specifically as an offering are also His own. They are His blessings to us; and He wants us to be faithful stewards in our care of these things. The money He provides and the food He gives are two of those special blessings that God has given into our care.
For a while it was difficult to figure out how to design a weekly grocery budget. However, I prayed for the Lord’s wisdom and did some research to see what was the best way to save money and use our income wisely. The Lord brought me to a website that had a sample grocery budget for free download. I took this idea and modified it to meet our own needs. Here is a link to the free downloads page on that site in case you would like to download a copy of their grocery budget list for yourself - http://faithfulprovisions.com/resources/downloads/
Perhaps the schedule on which you receive money or the number of days you shop in a week or in a month is different from those in our household. But I thought I would share how the Lord has helped us in our budgeting needs, and maybe it will be of help to someone in being able to set up a budget for themselves.
We receive income for groceries once a month and it is a fairly consistent amount of money. First the tithe and a designated amount of offering are taken out. The rest of the money is then budgeted for groceries and household needs according to the number of Saturdays that are in a given month. For example, January had 5 Saturdays this year; but February and March have only four. Since we go shopping once a week, the amount of money set aside for groceries must be divided among the 4 or 5 weeks.
Some weeks have bigger expenses than others. For example, we may need to buy a phone card or some other relatively expensive item. When this occurs we recalculate by taking the amount of money that is left after this purchase and dividing that money among the remaining weeks of the month.
The amount of money budgeted for each week is further broken down into other categories. At the beginning of the week, we check to see how much money is left in the account. It will not due to overdraw the account. Then it must be decided how much money will be set aside for each category. Categories include the following:
Special offerings, gifts, minstry
Miscellaneous gifts (such as for birthdays or secret sister, etc.)
Office and Business supplies
Groceries (food and household needs)
You may have more ideas or other categories.
At the beginning of the week, we look through all the ads and check all the coupon sites. Sometimes we buy a newspaper for extra coupons. Then we make a list of everything we need, how many we need of each of these things, and how much each of these things cost. When we calculate the cost, we calculate the tax as well. That is important. Even if a coupon is used, the tax on an item is charged on the original amount of the item. Tax is not charged on how much the item costs after the coupon is deducted. Taxes also add up. In North Carolina, tax is 7.75% on non food items and 2% on food items.
Here is a sample short list -
Grocery Budget List for This Week
Amount available: $60.00
Estimated Grand Total: $20.47
Estimated Grocery Total: $20.47
Estimated Personal Total:
Estimated Ministry Total:
Store and number of items - cost of item plus tax
WM (for Wal Mart)
1 Frozen cherries - $2.68 $2.73
1 Frozen strawberries $2.68 $2.73
1 Toilet paper $6.00 - $.50 coupon $5.97(add tax to $6.00 first then subtract coupon - 7.75% tax in this case)
1 WM brand shredded cheese $3.65 (for 16 oz.) $3.72
2 Frozen broccoli $.96 (each) $1.96
1 Frozen spinach $1.12 $1.14
1 Lindt dark chocolate bar $2.18 $2.22
No special categories for this store
Total expenditures: $20.47
Amount remaining: $39.57 for all other stores and items this week.
When we get done shopping it is nice to take a look at the receipts and ad up what we spent. It is always exciting when we spend less than we budget. Then we thank God for His kindness in providing for us and helping us find what we need at good prices.
I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. Isaiah 63:7